UCLA to Host 2002 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships Saturday at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena

Oct. 28, 2002

UCLA will serve as the host institution for the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Cross Country Championships, held on Saturday (Nov. 2) at the Brookside Country Club (1133 North Rosemont/626-577-4497) in Pasadena, located adjacent to the Rose Bowl.

On Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m., the Pac-10 Women's 6000m event will begin and at 10:30 a.m., the Pac-10 Men's 8000m race will start. The first race (8:30 a.m.) is a nonscoring gender-combined open 6000m event (for conference runners not competing in the league championships).The races will feature some of the nation's top women and men's collegiate cross country teams and runners. In the women's division, according to last week's National Top 30 (the latest polls were released Oct. 22 and the newest polls will be released Nov. 5), there were four Pac-10 teams rated - No. 2 Stanford, No. 17 Arizona State, No. 19 UCLA and No. 25 Washington. In the men's division, there are three conference teams in the nation's Top 30 - No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 Oregon, No. 25 Arizona State and Washington receiving votes.

Stanford won both the women's and men's team titles at the 2001 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships (hosted by Arizona State) and the Cardinal returns both individual winners - women's champion Lauren Fleshman and men's winner Grant Robinson.

Bruin WomenRated No. 19 in the U. S., the Bruin women, coached by Eric Peterson in his ninth season, on Saturday will run 10 athletes (the Top Five finishers are the team scorers) - juniors, Lena Nilsson (Vallentuna, Sweden), Valerie Flores (San Pedro HS) and Melissa McBain (Thousand Oaks HS); sophomores, Alejandra Barrientos (Felton/San Lorenzo Valley), Lori Mann (Coto de Caza/Santa Margarita Catholic) and Carmen Winant (Philadelphia, PA/Germantown Friends) and freshmen, Jenna Timinsky (Encinitas/San Dieguito Academy), Allison Hall (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS), Sarah West (Davis HS) and Laura Muller (Woodland HS).

At the 2001 Pac-10 Championships, the Bruin women placed fourth and were led by - Flores (19th, 21:52.7), Barrientos (23rd, 22:03.9), Nilsson (29th, 22:31.6) and Mann (30th, 22:39.9).The Bruins are paced by Nilsson, who at the NCAA Preview Meet held on Oct. 19 at Indiana State in Terre Haute (the same course will host the 2002 NCAA Championships on Nov. 25), placed eighth in her seeded 6000m race in a school-record time of 20:28.2. Last summer/spring in track, Nilsson won the 800m/1500m at the Swedish National Championships, set the UCLA records in the 800m (2:06.22)/1500m (4:09.89), won the 1500m at the NCAA Outdoor and was named the Pac-10 Women's T & F Athlete of the Year for winning the 800m/1500m at the conference championship meet.

Last Friday (Oct. 25), the Bruin women won the team title at the CS Fullerton Titan Invite at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea. Flores won the individual 5000m race in a time of 18:12.9.

Bruin MenThe Bruin men, also coached by Peterson, in his third season coaching both the Bruin men and women's teams, will run 10 athletes (the Top Five finishers are the team scorers) - senior Phil Young (La Canada HS); sophomores, Ben Aragon (Santee/West Hills HS), Jon Rankin (Spring Valley/Monte Vista), Erik Emilsson (Bjarred, Sweden), Puneet Mahan (Norwalk HS), Reggie Oronoz (Pasadena/Loyola HS) and Bryan Bauerle (Lakeside/West Hills HS) and freshmen, Martell Mungia (Sacramento/Woodcreek HS), Nick De Felice (Sacramento/Jesuit HS), and Mohammed Qazi (West Torrance HS).

At the 2001 Pac-10 Championships, the Bruin men placed sixth and were led by - Aragon (19th, 25:12.3), Young (39th, 26:16.5), Mahan (43rd, 26:33.2) and Oronoz (53rd, 27:49.8).UCLA has been led this year by its sophomore trio of Aragon, Rankin and Emilsson. Aragon has been UCLA's highest finisher at the CS Fullerton Invite on Aug. 31 (9th, 25:23.70, 8000m), UC San Diego Classic on Oct. 12 (2nd, 24:58.1, 8000m) and the Cal-Poly SLO Invite on Oct. 19 (3rd, 26:22.3, 8000m). Rankin won the 5000m event (16:03.5) at the Aloha Invite on Sept. 21 at Oahu and Emilsson has placed among UCLA's top three finishers in four meets this season.

Last Friday at the CS Fullerton Titan Invite, Qazi led the Bruin men to a second-place team finish (he was third over the 8000m course in a time of 25:54.5). The Titan Invite was Qazi's first meet of the season after joining the team as a walkon just two weeks ago.

Looking Ahead

After Saturday's Pac-10 Championships, the Bruins will run in the 2002 NCAA West Region Qualifying meet, hosted by Stanford on Nov. 16. Those results will help determine the automatic and at-large teams and individuals that will qualify for the 2002 NCAA Championships (Nov. 25/Indiana State/Terre Haute). The UCLA women are looking to qualify (as a team) for the upcoming 2002 NCAA Championships for the fourth time in the last five years.

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