USC Cross Country To Run At NCAA West Regional Saturday

Nov. 13, 2008

The USC women's cross country team will be running at the NCAA West Regional this Saturday (Nov. 15) hosted by Stanford on the school's golf course located in Palo Alto, Calif. The race, which is free to the general public, is slated to start at 11 a.m., five hours before the USC football team will take on the Cardinal at the nearby football field.

'We hope to be in the top 10 or 12 teams and improve on our Pac-10 performance which was very pleasing,' said USC cross country coach Tom Walsh. 'We have two girls that have a chance to make it to the NCAA Championships as an individual as Zsofia Erdelyi and Sarah Cocco will be right there with about 8-10 other girls with similar ability.'

The Trojans have qualified an individual runner for the NCAA Championships in five of the last seven seasons, last year Cocco getting the honor as a true freshman after her 18th-place finish at the Regional.

The Trojans placed ninth at the Pac-10 Championships on Oct. 31 in Oregon, but only 24 points separated the No. 5 team Washington State and USC. Since there was only about a 10 second differential per runner, USC is hoping to jump over a few of the tough Pac-10 teams at the West Regional. Erdelyi led the Trojans with a time of 20:42.38 to finish 17th at the Pac-10 Championships, while Cocco placed 32nd with a time of 21:15.10.

Joining sophomores Erdelyi and Cocco as USC's representatives at the meet will be junior Bridget Helgerson, senior Christine Greer, junior Chanel Fischetti, junior Katherine Ellis and freshman Leah Gaeta.

'Our captain Christine Greer will be running in her last cross country race as a Trojan and I want her to end on a positive note because she has been such a positive presence in our program,' said Walsh.

The Trojans have had a strong season already by picking up wins at the Pepperdine Invitational and Roadrunner Invitational in back-to-back meets, a feat not accomplished by a USC cross country team since the 1997 season. In Bakersfield on Oct. 17, Erdelyi led the way by winning the meet with a school 5K record of 16:51.90.

'I also want to close the season on a good note as a team,' added Walsh. 'I think the Pac-10s showed that we are closing the gap and I want to finish strong as we head into track and field. This team showed they can compete well in high-pressure meets and that is one of the most impressive things about them.'

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