Cross Country Ready To Battle For NCAA Championship Berth This Weekend

Nov. 12, 2008

The UCLA cross country teams will travel to Northern California this Saturday to compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships in Palo Alto where spots are on the line for the NCAA Championships.

The first race will be the women's 6,000-meter race at 11:00 am and will be followed by the men's 10,000-meter race at 12:00 pm. Both races are contested on the Stanford Golf Course.

The top two teams in each race qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships, along with the top four individuals not on qualifying teams. In addition, teams around the country are competing for 13 at-large berths, which will be awarded based on a season-long points system developed by the NCAA, with priority toward top regional placers. Historically, the West Region has received several at-large bids.

Last season, the Bruin men missed out on a spot at Nationals by one point. This year, UCLA is ranked 26th heading into the meet and will face stiff competition from No. 1 Oregon, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 Portland, No. 19 Cal Poly, No. 20 California and No. 23 Washington. California and Washington tied for third at the Pac-10 meet two weeks ago, just two points ahead of the Bruins. UCLA is ranked fourth in the region behind Oregon, Stanford and Portland, and will be racing for a top four finish on Saturday.

Leading the way are seniors Drew Shackleton and Laef Barnes. Shackleton earned All-Conference honors at Pac-10s two weeks ago and Barnes has recovered from back spasms that hindered his racing at conference.

The women's team will look to progress from their Pac-10 finish two weeks ago, a disappointing 10th-place. However, the team is full of youngsters who are getting important race experience for their future seasons. Freshmen Katja Goldring and Shelby Buckley will again look to battle for the No. 1 spot for the Bruins on Saturday. Goldring had been the Bruins' No. 1 runner up until Pac-10s when Buckley took over the top spot.

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