Cross Country Travels to NCAA Pacific Regional

Nov. 6, 2000

The California cross-country teams compete at the Pacific Regional Saturday, Nov. 11, in Fresno, Calif. This is Cal's second competition at Fresno State's Woodward Course this year. The women's course will cover 6,000 meters, while the men will run a distance of 10,000 meters. The race begins at 10 a.m.

The NCAA West Regional is one of nine regional meets held throughout the country. The top two teams and four individuals from each region automatically qualify for the NCAA national meet to be held Nov. 20, in Ames, IA.

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 and Camille Stanley.

California junior Bolota Asmerom placed 10th in 30:54 and senior Peter Gilmore placed 13th in 30:58 at the NCAA Pacific Regional. In 1998, Asmerom led Cal with a 29th-place finish and made his first appearance at NCAAs and became the first member of the Cal men's team to compete in that event since Richie Boulet qualified in 1994 but did not finish the race. As a team, the Cal men finished seventh last year with a total of 165 points after finishing 10th the year before. The Bear men narrowly missed qualifying for NCAAs as a team for the first time in school history. Stanford claimed top honors with 40 points, while Arizona finished second with 74. Steve Fein of Oregon won the individual race, covering the 10K course in 30:30.The Cal women did not compete as a team as it only sent three runners due to injuries. Sophomore Mary Moore led the Bears for the first time last season, taking 70th place with a 5K time of 18:44. Freshman Linden Bader placed 78th in 18:54 and sophomore Erin Belger was fractions of a second behind in 18:54. Stanford also won the women's competition with 29 points and took the top three places, led by Julia Stamps (16:50). Washington was second with 63 points.

The California men's and women's cross-country teams both placed last at the Pac-10 Championship in Seattle. The Bear men placed eighth with 195 points, while the Bear women placed ninth with 254 points. Stanford swept top honors in the team competition with 21 points on the men's side and 51 points on the women's side. On a brighter note, Cal freshman Girmay Guangul had a strong showing in his first Pac-10 meet. The native of Santa Clara placed 20th by covering the 8000-meter course in 24:25.53. Guangul finished less than a minute behind first-place (23:39.59) Jonathon Riley of Stanford and continued his streak of leading the Bears in every race he has competed in this season. Sophomore Martin Conrad provided Cal's next best score, placing 37th in 24:54.90.Junior Erin Belger of Albuquerque, N.M. led the Cal women for the second-consecutive year at the conference meet. She placed 41st in 22:34.96 over the 6000-meter course. Senior Marielle Schlueter was the Bears next best runner, placing 50th (23:01.85). Arizona's Tara Chaplan led the field with a time of 20:10.67.

Although Pac-10s was a bump in the road for the men's and women's cross-country teams, Coach Sandoval is optomistic about the Pacific Regional. Most of the season has been focused on the longer 10,000-meter and 6,000-meter races. He believes that his runners will put out a surprisingly strong effort, especially running on the familiar Fresno State course. Guangal is expected to perform better in the 10,000-meter regional race than in the 8,000-meter Pac-10 race. If he steps up his time from Pac-10s, he should be a contender for the NCAA Championship.

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