UCLA Women Place Ninth In Their 6000m Seeded Race At NCAA Preview

Oct. 19, 2002

Eric Peterson's UCLA women's cross country team, ranked No. 17 in the nation, on Saturday (Oct. 19) placed ninth in their seeded 6000m race at the NCAA Preview Meet, hosted by Indiana State, on the LaVern Gibson Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, IN. Temperatures were in the low 50s with a slight wind.

The meet attracted the top women and men's teams from around the nation because this same course will host the upcoming NCAA Championships on Nov. 25. The NCAA Preview meet consisted of two women's 6000m seeded races (UCLA ran in the second race), two men's 8000m seeded race (the Bruin men did not compete, the UCLA men on Saturday are running at the Cal Poly-SLO Invite) and a women's 6000m and men's 8000m open races.

In their second seeded women's 6000m race, the Bruins placed ninth (out of 37 teams), with a point total of 296 points. The winner of the second seeded race was No. 2 Stanford, with 57 points.

UCLA was led by junior Lena Nilsson, who placed eighth over the 6000m course in a time of 20:28.2, the fastest 6000m cross country time in school history (beating sophomore Alejandra Barrientos' mark of 21:09 set at the Stanford Invite on Sept. 28). This was Nilsson's first cross country race of the season, following an outstanding spring/summer track campaign. In track in 2002, Nilsson won both the 800m/1500m races at Sweden's National Championships; set the school 800m (2:02.26)/1500m (4:09.89) records, won the 1500m title at the NCAA Outdoor and was named the Pac-10 Female T & F Athlete of the Year from winning the 800m/1500m races at the conference championship meet.

'I'm very happy to have run this well in my first cross country race of the season,' said Nilsson, who is from Vallentuna, Sweden. 'It's not an easy transition from track to cross country. In cross country, the race is 20 minutes, not two or four, like in track. Concentrating for that long is a big challenge. I'm working on just relaxing through the entire race and it worked better than I thought it would today.'Under Peterson, the Bruin women have qualified for the NCAA Championships three of the last four years and a Top 10 performance in one of the seeded races at the NCAA Preview meet should help UCLA's chances of qualifying for the 2002 NCAA Championships as an at-large entry.

Other factors for an automatic berth include the upcoming 2002 Pac-10 meet, hosted by UCLA on Nov. 2 at the Brookside Country Club in Pasadena, and the NCAA Regional Qualifying meet on Nov. 16 at Stanford.'From a national team standpoint, we didn't hurt ourselves today,' said Peterson, in his ninth season coaching the Bruin women. 'Michigan State entered this meet ranked No. 3 in the nation and it placed 11th in our race. 'It's great to have the leadership of Lena back in the mix. Today she ran the fastest 6000m cross country time in school history. She started the race conservatively, then continued to move up through the pack, sprinted through the finish and got a Top 10 position. She's what we need - consistency to really anchor the team at a high level.'

2002 NCAA Preview Meet at Indiana State
Oct. 19, 2002
LaVern Gibson Course at Wabash Valley Family Sports Center
Terre Haute, IN

Women's Team Standings-Second Race/Seeded 6000m (Top 11 of 37 teams)
1. No. 2 Stanford 57
2. No. 26 Wake Forest 165
3. No. 6 North Carolina State 199
4. No. 13 Notre Dame/No. 21 Northern Arizona 214
6. No. 12 Columbia 231
7. No. 16 Virginia 233
8. No. 8 Arizona State 254
9. No. 17 UCLA 296
10. No. 23 Marquette 299
11. No. 3 Michigan State 367.

Women's Individuals (Top 5)-Second Race/Seeded 6000m
1. Vicky Gill, Fla. St., 19:54.8 (course record); 2. Alicia Craig, Stanford, 20:02.8; 3. Sara Bei, Stanford, 20:12.4; 4. Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:12.5; 5. Megan Metcalfe, West Virginia, 20:22.3.

UCLA Individually-Second Race/Seeded 6000m
8. Lena Nilsson, 20:28.2 (fastest 6000m cross country time in school history); 59. Alejandra Barrientos, 21:38.3; 65. Jenna Timinsky, 21:42.0; 68. Lori Mann, 21:43.8; 96. Carmen Winant, 22:00.3; 130. Allison Hall, 22:17.9; 193. Sarah West, 23:02.8.

UCLA Individually-Open 6000m
Late results-for UCLA, juniors, Valerie Flores, Melissa McBain and sophomore Carolyn Shea.

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