Freshmen Cross Country Runners Win at Pepperdine Invitational

Sept. 22, 2007

Evan Watchempino finished second overall at the Pepperdine Invitational on Saturday morning to lead the Bruin men's cross country team to its second consecutive team victory this season. The Bruins, currently ranked No. 22 in the country, finished first with a score of 39 points to end the pre-season.

Watchempino, who has been the top freshman runner for the Bruins this season, led UCLA with his second-place finish overall in a time of 24:26. Twin brothers Dylan and Spencer Knight joined Watchempino in the top-10 with their fourth (24:51) and sixth-place (24:53) finishes. Kent Morikawa just missed a spot in the top-10 with his 11th-place run (25:18).

'I'm so excited for this men's team,' said head coach Eric Peterson. 'Today, running all freshmen, including a redshirt, for these guys to step into a competitive situation like this and win as a team and execute good front running strength is very impressive. Evan has worked very hard over the summer to prepare for this season and it's been showing in his consistent level of excellence both in pracitce and now in his first two meets. He's recovering from an illness he got towards the tail end of our training camp, but he came back to lead the team to victory and I'm very proud of him for that.

'We got a great effort from the three guys behind him in Dylan, Spencer and Kent. The three of them ran together throughout the entire race and didn't break up until the final kilometer. That effort was instrumental in the team win.'

Rounding out the Bruins in the top-20 were Jun Reichl (16th, 25:30), Danny Benson (25:36) and Marc Hausmaninger (17th, 25:36).

'We also has three guys competing hard for that fifth spot in Jun, Danny and Marc. Today it was Jun's turn. The team ran very well. We ran with a lot of confidence and it was a very strong showing from this young group of athletes.

'Now we are looking forward to putting a team of 10 athletes together who will be traveling to the Bill Dellinger Invite next week in Oregon and one or possibly more of these men will be added to this team.'

UCLA will travel to Eugene next Saturday for the first counting meet of the season, the Bill Dellinger Invite. It will be the first true test for this deep and talented men's team.

Team Scores (top 5 of 10)
1. UCLA, 39 points; 2. CSUF, 56 points; 3. Xavier, 76 points; 4. Fresno State, 120 points; 5. Notre Dame de Namur, 146 points.

UCLA Individual Results
2. Evan Watchempino (24:26); 4. Dylan Knight (24:51); 6. Spencer Knight (24:53); 11. Kent Morikawa (25:18); 16. Jun Reichl (25:30); 17. Danny Benson (25:36); 18. Marc Hausmaninger (25:36); 30. Fawad Khan (26:09); 61. Scott Crawford (27:20); 72. Blake Ramos (27:49).

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