UCLA Travels To Griak Invitational

Sept. 24, 2001

Eric Peterson's UCLA women's and men's cross country teams on Saturday (Sept. 29) will compete in the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, MN, hosted by the University of Minnesota. Held on the Lee Bolstad Golf Course, the men's 8000m race will start at 9 a.m. PDT and the women's 6000m event will begin at 10 a.m. PDT.

In all categories, the Griak Invite will feature 147 university and colleges squads and 96 high school teams. In the women's (33 teams) Gold (University Div. 1) competition, there are 11 nationally ranked teams (Sept. 24), including No. 8 Arizona and No. 9 Providence. The UCLA women this week received votes for the National Top 25. In the men's (36 teams) Gold (University Div. 1) field, there are 13 nationally rated (preseason) squads, including No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 9 (tie) Arizona and Georgetown. Last season at this event, the Bruin women placed 18th (the UCLA men did not compete).

'This is the most important meet of the season up to this point,' Peterson said. 'This is the first meet of the season that will have a bearing on at-large team selections for the NCAA Championships in November.'

Last Saturday (Sept. 22) in Seattle, WA, UCLA senior Bryan Green won the 8000m men's race and Bruin freshman Alejandra Barrientos placed third in the women's 5000m event at the Sundodger Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington and held at West Seattle's Lincoln Park. In team standings, the Bruin women placed second, with 53 points and the UCLA men were third, with 86.

Green, from Littlerock HS in Palmdale, placed first in the men's 8,000m racewith a time of 24:11 to capture the first major win of his career. Dating back to last season, Green has placed in the Top 10 of every regular season Bruin competition. His victory helped the Bruins to a third-place showing with 86 points. Washington State (32 points) edged Washington (33 points) for first place, followed by UCLA, Auburn (118) and Idaho (149), rounding out the Top 5 (of eight teams). Bruin sophomore standout Jon Rankin did not run because of ankle tendinitis.

'Normally, our game plan is to develop a pack running concept with the team,' said Peterson, in his second season coaching both the Bruin men and women's teams. 'Ever the team player, Bryan is always willing to help out the younger guys by taking the responsibility for the pace, assisting our younger athletes through the early stages of a race.

'But in Seattle, with Jon (Rankin) not running, we changed our team race plan and told Bryan to run at the front of the pack, right from the very start. We let him go andit was great to see him run with so much confidence and win. The goal was go and win, not just run for a high placement. I was happy to see him really dominate the field.'

Freshman Robert Kubler was UCLA's No. 2 runner, finishing in 20th place with a time of 25:06. Other Bruin finishers were Ben Aragon (25th place, 25:13), SethNeumuller (30th, 25:22), Bryan Bauerle (38th, 25:41), Justin Patananan (42nd, 25:50), Reggie Oronoz (57th, 26:22) and Nick Thornton (59th, 26:25).

Barrientos Finishes Third in Seattle, Bruin Women Place Second
In women's competition, Barrientos, from San Lorenzo Valley HS in Felton, placed third to lead the Bruins to a second-place team finish. Barrientoscompleted the 5,000m race in 17:16. Washington's Sabrina Monro shattered the course record by 48 seconds, clocking in a time of 16:06. Husky teammate Lisa Gibbs was second with a time of 16:58. The No. 19 Huskies placed first as a team with 35 points, ahead of the Bruins' 53, Auburn's 95, Washington State's 107 and Oregon's 121, rounding out the Top 5 (of nine teams).

'Alejandra ran according to our team race plan,' said Peterson, in his eighth season coaching the Bruin women. 'She ran off the early pace, which was very fast, and was able to run at an even pace throughout the race. She has such tremendous finishing speed, she caught the lead group of athletes in the last 600-800m of the race. Alejandra has executed our team plan very well the first two races and it has led to two very high individual placements for her.'

Four other Bruin women placed in the Top 20 - Carmen Winant (11th place, 17:46), Valerie Flores (12th, 17:50), Jessica Marr (14th, 17:52) and Lori Mann (18th, 17:58). Rounding out the Bruin finishes were Tiffany Burgess (24th, 18:07), Carolyn Shea (26th, 18:08), Kelly Grimes (38th, 18:30), Julia Barbour (43rd, 18:38) and Christine Atkins (50th, 18:50).

Looking ahead, following the Griak Invite, the Bruins will run at the Arizona State Invitational on Friday, Oct. 5 in Tempe. Arizona State is also hosting the Pac-10 Championships on Oct. 27.

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