UCLA Women Place Seventh at NCAA Championships
Nov. 24, 2003
Waterloo, IA - The UCLA women's cross country team ended the season with a bang today, placing seventh with 293 points at the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships. In addition to the Top-10 finish, two Bruins received All-America honors, senior Valerie Flores and redshirt freshman Ashley Caldwell. Today's seventh-place finish is the highest under Head Coach Eric Peterson, and one of only five Top-10 finishes in Bruin women's cross country history.
North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan defended her 2002 title, finishing in 19:30.4 for the victory. Stanford won the women's title with 120 points.
Flores, who has been the Bruins' No. 1 runner all season, led the Bruins again. She finished 20th overall in 20:28.9. The Bruins' No. 2 runner was Caldwell, who placed 36th overall in 20:45.6. Both Flores and Caldwell received All-America honors for today's performances. It is the first All-America honor for each.
Senior Melissa McBain finished 50th in 20:53.6 and junior Carmen Winant placed 121st in 21:21.9. Sophomore Jenna Timinsky rounded out the group of Bruin scorers, placing 140th in 21:30.4. Freshman Alison Costello placed 153rd in 21:34.1 and sophomore Allison Hall finished 190th in 21:56.6.
'The story, from my perspective, is that this is a day about the improvement of UCLA cross country,' said Peterson. 'I've known that we've had the personnel and training to finish in the Top-10 in the nation. Today is validation that, on a day with adverse weather and running conditions, we were able to finish as one of the Top-10 teams in the nation.'
'I am so proud of Valerie Flores,' said Peterson. 'She came to UCLA as a high school All-American, who struggled for a few years to find herself as a collegiate runner. She finishes on as high a note as she ever dreamed of, by ending her collegiate career as an All-American.'
'The All-American performance from Ashley Caldwell speaks volumes for our program's future,' said Peterson. 'To have an All-American return for next season is tremendous.'
'It is not to say that today went without a hitch,' said Peterson. 'Alison Costello fell down during the first 400m and was dead last at the mile mark. She came back and put herself in the halfway point, which shows her toughness. She has been one of our leaders all year. She didn't give up on herself or the team.'
'We were fortunate to have Melissa McBain and Carmen Winant step in on an occasion when they were needed,' said Peterson. 'Their performances contributed to our high finish. Jenna Timinsky, who has been nursing an injury since Regionals, was still able to help contribute to our low team score.'
'This was the highest finish we've had, and it was in a very competitive field,' said Peterson. 'We were able to run so well because of team effort and they did it as a unit. I am extremely proud of these women.'
Team (Top-10 of 31): 1. Stanford 120, 2. BYU 128, 3. Providence 222, 4. Michigan 232, 5. Colorado 269, 6. N.C. State 290, 7. UCLA 293, 8. North Carolina 294, 9. Princeton 348, 10. Notre Dame 352
Individual (Top-10 of 252): 1. Shalane Flanagan (UNC) 19:30.4, 2. Kim Smith (Providence) 19:42.7, 3. Sara Bei (Stanford) 19:49.1, 4. Michaela Mannova (BYU) 19:52.2, 5. Mary Cullen (Providence) 19:53.0, 6. Alicia Craig (Stanford) 19:55.0, 7. Carol Henry (UNC) 19:59.3, 8. Emily Kroshus (Princeton) 20:03.9, 9. Ida Nilsson (Northern Arizona) 20:05.5, 10. Johanna Nilsson (Northern Arizona) 20:07.0.
UCLA Individual: 20. Valerie Flores 20:28.9, 36. Ashley Caldwell 20:45.6, 50. Melissa McBain 20:53.6, 121. Carmen Winant 21:21.9, 140. Jenna Timinsky 21:30.4, 153. Alison Costello 21:34.1, 190. Allison Hall 21:56.6