USC Set To Run At NCAA West Regional Cross Country Meet

Nov. 12, 2009

The USC women's cross country team will compete at the 2009 NCAA West Cross Country Regional hosted by Oregon at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ore. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10:45 a.m. The 6K course is the same one the Trojans ran on at the 2008 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships.

'I think that the Pac-10 has a chance to get six teams qualified for the NCAA Championships this year, which means it is more likely that Zsofia (Erdelyi) could get an at-large berth if she runs well,' said USC cross country coach Tom Walsh. 'This is another opportunity for us to get better as a team and prepare for the future. This is a young team and it provides us a great chance to gain some valuable experience. It is so beneficial to run in a meet like this.'

USC will be bringing the following eight runners to the competition: Zsofia Erdelyi, Christine Cortez, Bridget Helgerson, Katherine Ellis, Kathleen Moloney, Zara Lukens, Dina Kitayama and Christy Ambrosini. Teams can only enter seven runners, but Ambrosini is making the trip and may get the nod as Cortez continues to be plagued by a shin injury and may be held out of the meet by Walsh. For Ellis (Vancouver, Wash.), Lukens (Vancouver, Wash.), Helgerson (Portland, Ore.) and Moloney (Spokane, Wash) it will be a homecoming of sorts as they all grew up in the Northwest and are used to the rainy conditions that may be awaiting the team.

The race favorites once again figure to be Pac-10 champion Washington and runner-up Oregon. The Trojans are coming off a ninth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships which is the top conference for cross country, but the competition figures to only get better as you add in other West Region powers like UC Davis and Portland.

Virtually all of the Trojan runners are coming off a season-best 6K time at the Pac-10s, so a good goal for the team would be to try and catch one of the schools that edged them at the conference championships. Also, Erdelyi will be attempting to finish in the top four runners whose team does not qualify to earn an at-large berth for the NCAA Championships to be held in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 23. Erdelyi hopes for a repeat performance from a year ago when she bounced back at the Regional to place eighth and earn her way to the NCAA Championships. USC has had an individual runner qualify for the NCAAs in six of the last eight seasons, more than any other school in the country.

'Zsofia has looked really good in practice since the Pac-10s,' said Walsh. 'She's stronger than she was a few weeks ago and I think she has a good chance to qualify for the NCAAs. This is big meet time and Zsofia rises to the occasion in meets like these.'

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