USC Cross Country To Open Season Saturday At Mark Covert Classic
After 671 days the USC cross country program will finally be in action again as it is set to compete at the Mark Covert Classic Women's Invite (5K) at the Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, Calif. on Sept. 4 at 9:30 a.m. USC did not compete during the 2020 cross country season due to COVID-19 restrictions and a lot has transpired since its last meet at the 2019 Pac-12 Championships.
To start, Jebreh Harris was hired to guide the cross country program and to work with the distance runners on October 21, 2020. With no cross country competitions for the Trojans, the first chance for Trojan fans to see the new distance leader was the track and field season and the results were outstanding, capped by a school record, NCAA title and an Olympic berth in the 800m for Isaiah Jewett.
There are six returners on the team headed by seniors Alyssa Brewer and Jemima Russell, and an influx of nine new talented runners. USC has three transfer students in Alyssa Blockburger, Janiah Brown and Mihajla Milovanovic, as well as six freshmen in Isabelle Cairns, Jacqueline Duarte, Maya Lacamp, Gigi Maccagnini, Giovanna Pisano and Ritika Singh. Rounding out the roster are returners senior Julia Bounds, sophomore Alicia Liera, senior Abygail Paez and junior Brooke Rodi.
There has been an infusion of enthusiasm into the program under Harris and new USC Director of Track & Field Quincy Watts and the Trojans are excited to get things started on Saturday.
"We are excited about this cross country season. We have some great additions to our roster to compliment our program," said Harris. "Cross country camp was vital for us to bond, grow and understand the expectations of our cross country and track and field programs. With our first meet this weekend, we are looking forward with excitement to begin our new journey and prepare for the Championship season."
USC's cross country team demonstrated that things were changing when it went on a four-day (Aug. 18-21) cross country camp at Mammoth Lakes to train at altitude. During USC's stay up in the mountains, the young team with over half of the runners being new to the program, worked on chemistry and communication and began developing strong bonds as teammates.
The last time the Trojans did compete was at the 2019 Pac-12 Championships in Monmouth, Ore. and the then sophomore Brewer led the way with a 6K personal best of 21.51.8.
Expected to compete for the Trojans on Saturday at the Mark Covert Classic are Blockburger, Brewer, Brown, Cairns, Lacamp, Maccagnini, Pisano and Singh.
USC's second meet of the season will be the UC Riverside Invite at the Ag/Ops Course in Riverside, Calif. on Sept. 18.