UCLA Begins 2001 Cross Country Campaign At CS Fullerton Invite

Aug. 27, 2001

Eric Peterson's UCLA women's and men's cross country teams open the 2001 season on Saturday (Sept. 1) at the CS Fullerton /Jammin' Invitational. Held at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, CA, the men's 8K race will start at 8:30 a.m. and the women's 5K event will begin at 9:15 a.m.

Peterson, entering his eighth season as the UCLA women's cross country head coach, will not have a senior on the 2001 Bruin women's roster. But he will have two cross country CA State Champions and three National Footlocker participants, three significant contributors from last season's squad, three impressive 800m performers from the 2001 outdoor track squad and an incoming freshman class that has the potential to immediately contribute.

The championship level cross country experience will come from junior Elaine Canchola, sophomore Valerie Flores and incoming freshman Alejandra Barrientos. During their prep careers, Canchola, from Nordhoff HS in Ojai, and Barrientos, were both CA State cross country champions and National Footlocker participants. In track last spring, Canchola set the school record in the 3000m steeplechase (10:39.62) by placing seventh at the Pac-10. Barrientos, during her prep career at San Lorenzo Valley HS in Felton, was a multiple Track & Field News high school All-American in the distances. She won two (1999/2001) CA State 1600m crowns. Her prep bests were 4:43.24 (1600m) and 10:11.19 (3200m, led the nation in 2000). Flores, from San Pedro HS, was a National Footlocker participant in 1999.

'Canchola, Barrientos and Flores were all experienced national-level cross country competitors while in high school,' Peterson said. ' Their knowledge not only enables them to be more successful at the collegiate level, it also acts as a leadership base for our younger runners.

'Although we are young, we also have a lot of experience,' Peterson said. 'I think our blend of cross country and track talent will help enable us to overcome the loss of our top runner from last season (Christina Bowen).'

As Peterson begins his second season as the UCLA men's cross country head coach, the Bruin men in 2001 will offer a talented mix of experience and youth. UCLA will be led by four seniors, including 2001 NCAA participant Bryan Green, along with sophomore Jon Rankin, from Monte Vista HS in Spring Valley, who won the U. S. Junior 1500m in June, and a talented freshman class that includes seven newcomers. The Bruins also return four runners who redshirted last season as true freshmen. (MORE)

Green, from Littlerock HS in Palmdale, as a junior last fall in cross country, finished in the Top 10 in every meet, including the Pac-10 (8th) and NCAA West Region (10th), and qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual. In track last spring, he placed third (29:45.30) in the 10,000m at the Pac-10. His NCAA provisional mark of 29:25.20 is No. 9 in school history.

'Bryan is coming off a successful cross country and track season,' Peterson said. 'His steady progress will continue through his senior season. Bryan will be the leader of this men's team.

'I like our mix of experience and youth,' Peterson said. 'Our older runners will lead our young athletes through the beginning of the season. But before this cross country campaign is concluded, some of our younger runners will help dictate just how successful our team can be.'

At the conclusion of the CS Fullerton Invite, the Bruins will travel to Mammoth Lakes for training camp. Looking ahead, UCLA's next meet will be on Sept. 8 at the UC Irvine Invitational.

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