Cross Country Competes at Pac-10 Championship in Seattle

Oct. 23, 2000

The California cross country teams compete at the Pac-10 Championship Saturday, Oct. 28, in Seattle, Wash. Washington hosts this year's competition at Lincoln Park. The women's course will cover 6,000 meters, while the men will run a course of 8,000 meters. The course starts and finishes on a grass playing field. The running surfaces are a mixture of grass, dirt, light gravel, a little pavement and bark chips. The women's race begins at 11 a.m., followed by the men's at 12:15 p.m.

Cal coach Tony Sandoval used the results of the Cal Poly Invitational as the basis for his selection of Cal's Pac-10 Championship team. In order of their finish at the Cal Poly meet, the Bears men's lineup is expected to feature Girmay Guangal, Martin Conrad, Corey Creasey, Chris Coffee, John Collins, Jonathan Balzer and Nick Martin. The women's lineup will like showcase Marielle Schlueter, Erin Belger, Kim Ramirez, Tiffany Hansen, Lina Biber-Ferro, Dawn Beahm and Martina Patella.

The California men made their presence known at 1999's Pac-10 Championship with a solid fifth-place finish, the Bears best finish since they also finished fifth in 1989. Last season, junior Bolota Asmerom led the way for the Bears, placing seventh in 24:21. Not far behind was senior Peter Gilmore who captured 12th in 24:38 and sophomore Brian Cooke who placed 25th in 25:20. Last year, the women's squad raced without one of their top runners, Christy Villa, but were able to tie USC for eighth-place. They were led by Erin Belger, who took 37th in 18:56.50, Linden Bader who took 39th in 19:00, and Mary Moore who placed 43rd in 19:18.

With a full line-up on both the men and women's squads, Cal ran a top-notch race. The Bears finished second with 50 points, while Cal Poly finished first with a total of 25 points. With an increase in depth, the Bear women showed tremendous improvement with a fourth-place finish, scoring 117 points. Fila Track West took first with 31 points.Once again, Guangul led the Bears with a second-place finish (26:07). Also contributing to Cal's score was Martin Conrad (10th, 27:16), Corey Creasey (11th, 27:17), Chris Coffee (16th, 27:29), and John Collins (17th, 27:36. On the women's side, Marielle Schlueter and Erin Belger led the Bears with 17th (19:05) and 18th-place finishes (19:13), respectively. Other key runners for the Bears were Kim Ramirez (30th, 19:49), Tiffany Hansen (32nd, 19:50), and Lina Biber-Ferro (58th, 20:59).

'Although Bolota did not return to lead the young men's team, Girmay has been spectacular and is the heir apparent for the future. His front running will help us at Pac-10s and in larger fields such as regionals. Also, Girmay has a good chance to qualify for NCAA's individually as a true freshmen. He'll have to run his first 10,000-meter race at regionals, but I believe he's up to the challenge. Martin Conrad has emerged as 'Mr. Consistency,' while the veterans (Collin, Coffee, Creasey) and one or both of the other freshmen (Carballo or Balzer) have emerged as consistent team-score contributors.''Erin Belger is beginning to assert herself after recovering from foot surgery this summer. In her haste to get back into shape, she strained her arch. Luckily, she is now beginning to run on a daily basis. She will help speed up the tempo for Marielle and the rest of her teammates. A competitive showing at Pac-10s can hopefully springboard a full team showing at regionals. At this time, there is a good possibility that Belger, Schlueter, and Ramirez will make an appearance at regionals.'

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