Cross Country Heads to Terre Haute, IN for Prestigious Pre-NCAA Invitational

Oct. 11, 2006

Eric Peterson's UCLA men and women's cross country teams will travel to Terre Haute, IN this weekend as they compete in the prestigious Pre-NCAA Invitational on Saturday. The course for this weekend's meet is the same course in which the NCAA Championships will be held in November.

This year's race features 87 men's teams with 892 athletes, while the women's races will be comprised of 901 athletes and 90 teams.

The Pre-NCAA Invitational always garners many of the top teams in the country and sets the tone for the national championships. On Saturday, 23 of the top-30 ranked teams in the country will compete in the men's races, while 24 of the top-30 ranked women's teams will compete.

There will be six races at the Pre-NCAA Invitational - Women's 6k Blue Race (9:00 am, PST); Women's 6k White Race (9:35 am, PST); Men's 8k Blue Race (10:10 am, PST); Men's 8k White Race (10:50 am, PST); Women's 6k Open Race (11:30 am, PST); and Men's 8k Open Race (12:05 pm, PST).

Unfortunately, the Bruins will not know which races they will be running in until 10:00 am (PST) on Friday, October 13. An announcement was posted on the Indiana State website stating the following:

Due to circumstances beyond the control of the NCAA Track and Field Committee and Indiana State University, the announcement of the race assignments for the Pre-Nationals Meet, Saturday, October 14, will be delayed until Noon Friday, October 13. The race assignments will be posted on the Indiana State and NCAA Web sites when available.

Seven athletes from both the men's and women's teams will compete in the team race, while three additional runners from each squad will compete individually to gain race experience and exposure with the possibility of factoring into the top-7 runners who could compete at the NCAA Championships if the Bruins qualify as a team.

Seniors Ashley Caldwell, Jenna Timinsky and Allison Hall, junior Claire Rethmeier, sophomores Allie Bohannon and Olga Aulet-Leon, and freshman Nicole Pennes will comprise the seven person team for the women. Junior Monika Rothenburger and freshmen Bailey Schutte and Hannah Roeder will run individually.

'Our team has recently been hit by the illness bug, but we are recovering nicely from that and are looking forward to our best team effort of the season,' said Cross Country Coach Eric Peterson. 'We are getting closer to building a strong team with each week of racing.

'Our leadership at the front of our team has been strong and we expect it to continue with Ashley and Allie leading the way. They key to our success this weekend is getting our number three, four and five runners packing as closely as possibly to Allie.'

Comprising the men's seven team participants are - juniors Mike Haddan and Kyle Shackleton, sophomores Laef Barnes and Drew Shackleton, and freshmen Alex Crabill, Jake Matthews and Marlon Patterson. Senior Henry Hagenbuch and freshmen Marco Anzures and Kevin Sullivan will compete in the open race.

'We are coming off of our best team race of the season (at the Bill Dellinger Invite),' noted Peterson. 'The guys have trained very well since then and are very eager and enthusiastic about challenging the team again in a field like the one we will face this weekend.

'Our front four guys (Kyle, Drew, Mike and Laef) have been outstanding day in and day out, but we need to strengthen the back of our team to have a strong showing this weekend. Our fifth, sixth and seventh runners need to close the gap that exists between our No. 1 guy and where we are now. Last race, it was around a minute, and this weekend we are hoping to close the gap to about 30 seconds.

'This is a heck of a team, and with Kyle leading the way we feel we will have a very strong finish at Pre-NCAA's.'

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