Trojans To Run At Aztec Invitational On Saturday

Sept. 12, 2007

LOS ANGELES - The USC women's cross country team will travel to San Diego this weekend to compete at the 63rd Annual Aztec Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 15) at 9 a.m. at Balboa Park. The race is expected to feature the Trojan debuts of heralded freshmen Zsofia Erdelyi and Sarah Cocco and senior transfer and team captain Laura Meyers.

'This is the first race as a Trojan and of the year for our top three runners (Erdelyi, Meyers and Cocco),' said USC cross country coach Tom Walsh. 'I've been able to see their abilities in practice, but this is a better test to see how they compete in a meet.'

The Aztec Invitational features a strong 14-team field including No. 4 Arkansas and four teams that are ranked in the top 15 in their region: UCSB (5th in the West), Loyola Marymount (15th in the West), Northern Arizona (8th in the Mountain) and Southern Utah (12th in the Mountain). The remaining teams in the competition are CS Los Angeles, St. Mary's, UC San Diego, Air Force, UNLV, San Diego St. and Long Beach St.

'This has turned into a very good meet with so many talented teams competing,' said Walsh. 'I'm very interested to see how we respond to the tough competition.'

Erdelyi, from Godollo, Hungary, has a best 5000m time of 16:25.25 and won the Hungarian National Under-20 2000m steeplechase.

'A lot is expected of Zsofia,' said Walsh. 'I'm really high on her and her attitude has been great.'

Meyers, who had one year of eligibility left after graduating from Columbia, will run this season for USC while beginning her Master's in Public Health in the Keck School of Medicine. Meyers is a two-time NCAA Cross Country Championships qualifier and helped lead Columbia to Ivy League titles all three seasons she ran.

Cocco placed third at the 2006 Colorado 5A State Cross Country Championship and this summer placed third in the 800m at the USA Junior Track and Field Championship to qualify for the Pan American Junior Championships.

Sophomore Bridget Helgerson led USC in its first meet of the season on Sept. 1 at Fullerton, placing seventh with a new PR of 18:37.50. The other Trojan runners making the trip to San Diego are juniors Taylor Carroll and Christine Greer, sophomores Chanel Fischetti and Jennifer Wells and freshmen Brianna Bentley and Zara Lukens.

'The key four us is who emerges as our No. 5 runner and they will have to have a solid race in order for us to do well at this meet,' said Walsh. 'We will need someone to step up for us to be successful.'

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