Cross Country Heads North for Pac-10 Championships
Oct. 27, 2006
Eric Peterson's UCLA cross country teams will head to Palo Alto, CA for the Pac-10 Championships on Saturday, October 28. The women's 6,000 meter race will begin at 10:00 am, followed by the men's 8,000 meter race at 11:00 am.
Last season, the Bruin women placed sixth overall, while the men were seventh.
In the men's Pac-10 race, three teams appear to be the frontrunners this weekend - No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 Oregon and No. 25 Arizona. Stanford has been strong all season, but both Arizona and Oregon have won major invitationals this season.
'I'm aware of the fact that those three teams are not only highly ranked, but also very strong,' noted Peterson. 'Behind that group of teams, I see a lot of parity between us, Washington, Arizona State and Cal. Washington State also has a capable team so it will be quite a race for that No. 4 spot.
'We are excited and ready to go into the meet and finish among the top half of the conference. Our goal is a top-four finish. Our front four guys have remained healthy and been training very well and we are excited about this weekend.'
Four Bruin runners hail from Northern California and will be cheered on by numerous friends and family throughout the race - junior Kyle Shackleton, sophomore Drew Shackleton and freshemn Marlon Patterson and Jake Matthews.
'We're expecting to have a lot of support from friends and family and the guys are looking forward to running in front of them. It should definitely give them a lift throughout the race.'
Kyle Shackleton has led the Bruins all season and is on the verge of earning his first All-Pac-10 honor this weekend. Behind him is a solid group of runners who will help carry this team to a top-four finish. Also running this weekend in addition to both Shackletons, Patterson and Matthews are - senior Henry Hagenbuch, junior Mike Haddan, sophomore Laef Barnes and freshmen Marco Anzures, Alex Crabill and Kevin Sullivan.
The No. 1-ranked Stanford Cardinal and No. 8 Arizona State will be battling for the top spot this weekend. UCLA and Washington will figure to battle for the third spot as they look for a strong performance to help take the team back to the national championships.
'Stanford and ASU have pretty much shown all season that they are the top two teams in the conference, but that third spot is wide open,' said Peterson. 'We match up well with the Huskies and feel that it will be between them and us for that third-place spot.
'We also plan on being in a position to step up if the opportunity arises to vie for a top-2 finish. Our goal is to be in the top-3 and hopeflly improve our position nationally to try to get back to NCAA's.'
Senior Ashley Caldwell, UCLA's No. 1 runner all season will lead the Bruins as she runs in her final Pac-10 cross country race. Last year, Caldwell finished fourth at the Pac-10 meet, earning all-conference honors, and will again look to earn more accolades this weekend.
Junior Allie Bohannon will also be looking for her first all-conference honor after a successful sophomore campaign in which she has been the No. 2 runner behind Caldwell all season.
A strong group of runners will back up Caldwell and Bohannon as the team will work for a top-three finish in Palo Alto. Also heading to the meet are - seniors Allison Hall and Jenna Timinsky, juniors Claire Rethmeier and Monika Rothenburger, sophomore Olga Aulet-Leon and freshmen Nicole Pennes, Hannah Roeder and Bailey Schutte.
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