USC Readies For Pac-10 Cross Country Championships
Oct. 28, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's cross country team will host the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships this Friday (Oct. 30) at Sky Links Golf Course in Long Beach, Calif. This is the first time the Trojans have hosted the conference championships in exactly a decade, when they ran the meet at El Dorado Regional Park in Long Beach. The women's 6K race will start at 4 p.m. and features all 10 conference schools, while the men's 8K race will take place at 3 p.m. with eight school represented (USC and OSU do not have a men's team).
Trojan junior Zsofia Erdelyi is expected to lead the way for the Trojans and battle with some of the Pac-10s toughest runners. She placed 17th at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships and went on to place eighth at the West Regional. The other eight runners competing for the Trojans on Friday are senior captain Bridget Helgerson, junior Christine Cortez, senior Katherine Ellis, junior Zara Lukens, junior Dina Kitayama, sophomore Leah Gaeta, freshman Kathleen Moloney and freshman Kelly Owen.
'The last three weeks we've had our best workouts,' said USC cross country coach Tom Walsh. 'It reminds me of last year before our big breakout race at Bakersfield and I hope it carries into Friday's race.'
The Trojans placed 9th at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, but there was just a 10 second differential per runner with teams 5-9.
'Our goal is to finish in the middle of the pack and defeat our rival UCLA for the third year in a row,' said Walsh. 'The goal for Zsofia (Erdelyi) would be to finish in the top 12. We are the healthiest we have been all year. It is the first time since the end of August that nobody on the team is sick.'
The women's course consists of three 2K laps around the golf course (4 laps for the men's race) and the path is mostly on fairways and relatively flat so times are expected to be good.
The Pac-10 Conference is the toughest in the country for cross country with the men's and women's teams combining to win 19 NCAA titles in the last half century. The Washington women's team and the Oregon men's team both won Pac-10 titles last season and then went on to capture the NCAA titles. The current women's rankings list Washington at No. 1, Oregon at No. 8, Stanford at No. 12 and Arizona at No. 17. On the men's side, Stanford is currently ranked No. 1, Oregon No. 2, Washington No. 13, Arizona State No. 16 and Washington State tied for No. 26.
For more information about the race log in to the Pac-10 website at: http://www.pac-10.org/championships/2009-xc.html.
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