UCLA Ranked No. 7 In The U. S. This Week
Sept. 30, 2003
In the latest FinishLynx/Div. I Women's Cross Country National Weekly Poll (released Tuesday, Sept. 30), Eric Peterson's UCLA women's squad moved into the nation's Top 10. This week, the Bruins are ranked No. 7 (up from last week's No. 18 ranking/UCLA's men's team also received Top 30 votes this week). The No. 7 national ranking is the highest ranking ever by a Peterson-coached Bruin women's squad.
This week, there are three Pac-10 teams ranked in the Top 10 - No. 4 Arizona State, No. 7 UCLA and No. 9 Stanford. Washington is No. 25 and California also received votes. Rounding out the nation's Top 10 schools this week are - No. 1 BYU, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Colorado, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 North Carolina State, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 9 Stanford and No. 10 Georgetown.
The Bruins have had two highly successful meets the last two weekends. On Sept. 20 at the Big Wave Invitational in Honolulu, UCLA, preseason ranked No. 24 at the time, won the 4K title, defeating current No. 1 Brigham Young (placing second). In that race, UCLA had six runners in the Top 11, led by redshirt freshman Ashley Caldwell, who placed third (13:54).
Last Saturday (Sept. 27) at the Stanford Invite, UCLA, ranked No. 18, won the 6K team title, ahead of then No. 2 Stanford (placing second). The Bruins had four runners in the Top 10, led by senior Valerie Flores, who placed third (21:13).
This early in the season, the nation's top teams are juggling lineups and not yet running at full strength (and that also includes UCLA). In the last two weeks, the Bruins have defeated the nation's No. 1 (BYU) and No. 2 (Stanford) teams without UCLA's two top runners - senior Lena Nilsson and junior Alejandra Barrientos.
The Bruins will train through the weekend. UCLA 'B' teams will then compete at the Triton Classic, hosted by UC San Diego, on Oct. 11. The Bruin women's varsity on Saturday, Oct. 18 will travel to Cedar Falls, IA to compete in the Pre-National Invitational, hosted by Northern Iowa. The Pre-National meet attracts the nation's top teams and is a preview of the NCAA Championship course, held at Cedar Falls on Monday, Nov. 24. Prior to the NCAA meet, the Pac-10 Championship is Saturday, Nov. 1 at Pullman, WA (Washington State) and the NCAA Region VIII Championship is at Portland, OR.
In four of the last five seasons, including the last two years, the UCLA women's squad has qualified as a team to the NCAA Championship. Their highest placement was 21st in 2001. In UCLA women's cross country history, the Bruin women have placed in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championship on four occasions (1985, 6th/1980, 7th/1977, 5th/1976, 6th).