USC Races To Victory At The Roadrunner Invitational

Oct. 17, 2008

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Zsofia Erdelyi set a school 5K record and was one of three Trojans to finish in the top four to lead USC to victory at the Roadrunner Invitational hosted by CS Bakersfield in Bakersfield, Calif. tonight (Oct. 17). Erdelyi finished first, Bridget Helgerson third and Sarah Cocco fourth to lead USC to dual meet wins over CS Fullerton (25-32), CS Northridge (17-46) and Fresno State (15-50). It was the second consecutive win for the Women of Troy after not having captured a team title since the 2001 season. In fact, it is believed to be the first time USC has won consecutive meets since the 1997 season when they won four straight, the Riverside Invitational on Sept. 27, the Biola Invitational on Oct. 4, the Pepperdine Invitational on Oct. 11 and the UCSD Invitational on Oct. 18.

The Trojans proved to be the real roadrunners at the five-team meet as they won all three of their match-ups and if it was scored like a traditional cross country meet, USC's runners would have finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 22nd in the 47-runner field.

'I was impressed that our top seven runners were within 1:07 of each other which is something that hasn't happened here in awhile,' said USC cross country coach Tom Walsh. 'The sixth and seventh runners are starting to close the gap and that is exciting to see because that is going to really help us as team.'

The course was very flat and fast and nine out of 10 Trojan runners set a new 5K PR in the race. The only runner not establishing a new personal standard was Gill who ran about 25 seconds better at the Ivy League Championships a few years ago.

Erdelyi's amazing time of 16:51.90 was nearly 15 seconds faster than CS Fullerton's Grace Gonzales who took second with a time of 17:06.10. The sophomore Erdelyi broke Emebet Shiferaw's USC record 5K time of 17:03 set at Fresno in 1996.

'Zsofia did a very good job of being patient for the first half of the race and then made a move to take the lead and really won it easily,' said Walsh. 'Her confidence is really high right now an that is going to help her going into the Pac-10s.'

Following the top pair were two more Trojans. Helgerson, a junior, continues to improve with every meet and she placed third with a time of 17:25.30. Right behind her was the sophomore Cocco with a time of 17:33.60.

'I really thought Bridget stepped up today and showed her race at Pepperdine was no fluke and that she is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future,' added Walsh.

After them was one runner from CS Northridge followed by three more Titans, before junior Katherine Ellis (18:03.30), junior Chanel Fischetti (18:04.10), freshman Leah Gaeta (18:04.40), sophomore Zara Lukens (18:05.10) and junior Christine Greer (18:12.70) took places 9-13.

Freshman Jessica Lundin placed 16th with a time of 18:25.20 and senior Liz Gill took 22nd with a time of 18:55.70.

'I just hope we can keep the momentum going for the Pac-10s,' said Walsh. 'This is another confidence boost for our team and this should really help us.'

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