UCLA Cross Country Travels To Honolulu Saturday To Run In The Big Wave Invitational

Sept. 15, 2003

Eric Peterson's UCLA women's cross country team, preseason ranked No. 24 in the U. S., will travel to Hawai'i this weekend to compete in Saturday's (Sept. 20) third annual Big Wave Invitational. The women (4K/10:50 a.m.PT) and men's (5K/10:30 a.m.PT, the Bruin men's varsity will run) courses will be held on the Klipper Golf Course, located in the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base in Honolulu.

Along with the Bruin women and men, also competing will be - Brigham Young (women, the defending NCAA team champion and preseason rated No. 1), Hawaii (women), Hawaii-Hilo (women/men), Hawaii Pacific (women/men), Chaminade (women/men), BYU-Hawaii (women/men), UC Santa Cruz (women), U. S. Naval Academy (women), Houston (women/men) and San Diego State (women).

Bruin Women Competing for the Bruins will be - seniors, Valerie Flores (San Pedro) and Melissa McBain (Thousand Oaks); juniors, Alejandra Barrientos (Felton/San Lorenzo Valley) and Carmen Winant (Philadelphia, PA/Germantown Friends); sophomores, Jenna Timinsky (Encinitas/San Dieguito Academy), Sarah West (Davis) and Allison Hall (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo); redshirt freshman Ashley Caldwell (Los Gatos) and true freshman Alison Costello (Yorba Linda/Esperanza). All-American senior Lena Nilsson (Vallentuna, Sweden) will join the Bruin varsity when school begins in late September.

Barrientos, Flores, Timinsky, and Hall were all major contributors to the Bruins last season, helping UCLA qualify as a team to the 2002 NCAA Championships. The Bruin women have competed as a team at the NCAA Championships the last two seasons (UCLA's women have qualified for the national meet four of the last five years).

In cross country last fall, Barrientos was UCLA's second-highest placement at both the NCAA (86th, 21:10.1) and Pac-10 (9th, 21:11), earning second-team All-Pac-10 honors. Flores was the Bruins' third highest finisher at the NCAA (180th, 21:55.7) and also placed 27th (21:43) at the Pac-10 and 29th (22:26) at the West Regional. Timinsky, last fall as a true freshman, was UCLA's second-highest finisher (9th, 21:46) at the Regional meet, third-highest at the Pac-10 (22nd, 21:30) and No. 4 UCLA finisher at the NCAA. Hall, another true freshman in 2002, ran in all three major cross country meets, with a top placement of 29th (21:49) at the Pac-10.

Last Saturday (Sept. 13), the Bruins' 'B' team placed second at the Aztec Invitational, hosted by San Diego State at Balboa Park. In the women's team competition, UCLA placed second with 81 points, behind winner No. 10 Northern Arizona (55). The Top Five teams were NAU (55), UCLA 'B' (81), Southern Utah (106), UC Irvine (131) and USC (148).

Costello paced the Bruins by placing second, covering the 5K course in 18:10. Caldwell also placed among the Top 10 runners, finishing eighth (18:34). The race was won by NAU's Johanna Nilsson (17:58), the 2003 NCAA Indoor mile champion (Nilsson is not related to Bruin standout runner Lena Nilsson, but both runners are from Sweden).

'I'm extremely pleased with the performance of Alison Costello,' said Peterson, in his 10th year coaching the Bruin women. 'She's just a true freshman, and for her to place second to an accomplished runner like Nilsson, is as strong of a performance from a newcomer as we have had in years. She led our team to a very respectable second-place finish. I'm pleased with the way the season has begun.'

On Saturday, Sept. 27, the Bruins will travel to Palo Alto to run in the prestigious Stanford Invitational, featuring the nation's top women and men's collegiate cross country teams.

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