UCLA Opens 2004 Cross Country Season Saturday at USF Invite

Aug. 30, 2004

Eric Peterson's UCLA men and women's cross country teams open the 2004 collegiate season on Saturday (Sept. 4), running in the USF Invitational. The University of San Francisco will host the event, starting at 9:15 a.m. at Golden Gate Park.

Bruin Men
In a quest to improve on last season's seventh-place finishes at both the NCAA West Region and Pac-10 Championships, the Bruin men's team returns five of its top six runners from last season and will be led by three seniors - Erik Emilsson, Jon Rankin and Ben Aragon.

Emilsson last fall automatically qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, placing 98th. Rankin in 2003 cross country was UCLA's No. 2 runner at both the West Region and Pac-10 meets and last spring in the 1500m qualified to the NCAA Outdoor. Aragon last fall was one of UCLA's top cross country performers who in outdoor track last spring won the Pac-10 800m championship.

'These three athletes have been the core of our men's distance team for the last two to three years,' said Peterson, in his fifth season as the Bruin men's head coach. They know what it takes to succeed. Our team is going to rally around Erik, Jon and Ben and look to this trio for leadership and inspiration.'

Also returning from last year are top runners, sophomore Austin Ramos and junior Mohammed Qazi. Last fall as a true freshman, Ramos led the Bruins in four regular season meets, including the Pac-10 Championships and Qazi was UCLA's No. 6 runner at both the Pac-10 and West Region meets.

Looking Ahead
Following the USF Invitational, the Bruins will train at Mammoth Lakes, preparing for the Sept. 25 Stanford Invitational.