The Beavers Head To L.A. To Compete In The Pacific-10 Championships

May 10, 2005

Los Angeles, Calif. -

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Oregon State women's track will be heading down to Los Angeles this weekend to compete in the Pacific-10 Championships Saturday and Sunday. The Beavers are taking seven ladies and will be competing in the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

'I sat down with each of the ladies and found out if this was something they wanted to do,' OSU head coach Kelly Sullivan said. 'I made sure they understood how big of a meet this is, and they all wanted to do it. They are going to be nervous because it is such a great conference and meet, but I think they are also going into it with the right frame of mind, to run hard.'

Taylor Bryant, Jean-Marie Peterson, and Kaitlin Poggie will be competing in the 1,500, Ashley Francis will be competing in the 5,000, Nicole Crawford and Ashley Younce will be competing in the 10,000, and Lauren Denfeld will be competing in the steeplechase for the second time this season. Denfeld competed in the steeplechase last weekend at the Oregon Twilight, marking the first time in history that a lady has competed in the event for OSU.

'Outside of Bryant who is a fifth year senior, the rest of the ladies are either true freshman, redshirt freshman, and we have one redshirt sophomore,' Sullivan said. 'The most important thing for this group is experience. If we get some great times down there, then that will be phenomenal.

'Really the main thing down there is for them to see and get a feel for what this meet is all about, then they can take what they have learned and hopefully apply it to next year when they are back in the hunt and competing.'

'The goal is to beat some people,' Sullivan said. 'I suspect they will do just that.'

OREGON STATE'S LATEST MEET: Oregon State women's track ran strong Saturday evening at the Oregon Twilight, accumulating five personal records.

Lauren Denfeld finished third in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:28.38, becoming the first female athlete to compete in the event in OSU history.

Jean-Marie Peterson led the Beavers with a third place finish in the 1,500 meters, with a time of 4:38.80. The time marked a personal record for Peterson, and moved her to fifth on the OSU all-time personal record list in the event.

Also of note was the consecutive finishes of Ashley Francis, Ashley Younce, and Nicole Crawford. Francis finished ninth with a time of 10:18.23, Younce finished 10th with a time of 10:20.97, and Crawford finished 11th with a time of 10:32.14.

'The girls stepped up really well tonight, it was a great meet and we had some great races tonight,' OSU head coach Kelly Sullivan said. 'It was a great atmosphere, the crowd and the meet definitely contributed to our results.'

Lauren Denfeld & Jean-Marie Peterson : LaurenDenfeld and Jean-Marie Peterson have both made OSU history thisweek, with one runner breaking an OSU All-Time Top 10 List in the1,500 meters, and the other marking the first time a lady has competedin the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

Denfeld became the first lady to compete in the steeplechase forOSU, finishing third overall and first in history with a time of 11:28.38.

'She ran very well in the steeple, much faster than I expected,' OSUhead coach Kelly Sullivan said.

Likewise, Peterson finished third in the 1,500 and placed fifth on theOSU All-Time Top 10 List for the event with a time of 4:38.80.Peterson's time was six seconds faster than her last finish in the event,which was on April 23rd at the Oregon Invitational.

'I am overall very pleased with how we ran tonight,' Sullivan said.'It was a good precursor running into the Pac-10.'

HEAD COACH KELLY SULLIVAN: Kelly Sullivan came to OregonState in January, 2004 to re-start OSU's program after being head crosscountry and track and field coach at nearby Willamette University, aDivision III school in Salem, Ore., since 1997. Sullivan was also anassistant coach at Auburn from 1984-96, and head coach at ClackamasCommunity College (Ore.) from 1980-84.

Sullivan, 47, guided Willamette's teams to three top-10 nationalfinishes in cross country and track and coached 23 All-Americans,including five individuals who won national championships. tAuburn, he coached 36 All-Americans and at Clackamas he coached24 NCAA All-Americans.

Sullivan was an All-American in the steeplechase and cross countryat Willamette before graduating in 1979 with a bachelor's degree inHistory and Education. A native of Nehalem, Ore., he graduated fromNeah-Kah-Nie High.

OREGON STATE TAKES TO THE ROAD: Oregon State will spend atleast the first season of its revived cross country and track programswithout a home course or track. The Beavers ran in one meet inCorvallis during cross country season at the Oregon State Track ClubInvitational, however they will remain on the road for all of their 2005track season.

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