Lucy Westlake Leads USC Cross Country To 3rd At Mark Covert Classic, Best Team Finish Since 2016
Freshman Lucy Westlake finished 11th to lead the Trojans to a third-place finish at the Mark Covert Classic 5K cross country meet at the Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, Calif. today (Sept. 3). The third-place finish tied USC's result at the same meet last season which was the Trojans' highest finish since winning the 2016 Pepperdine Invitational.
The tough 5K race featured 14 teams and the young USC squad had three runners place in the top 28 led by the freshmen Westlake and Ashlee Gallegos. Westlake took 11th with a time of 19:09.8 and Gallegos placed 15th with a time of 19:14.7. Senior Janiah Brown, in her second season with USC, was the Trojans' third finisher, taking 28th with a time of 19:39.9. She finished 37th last year in the same race. Brown moved up nine spots today during the final third of the race, speeding by several runners down the stretch just before the finish line.
"I saw great energy today," said USC associate head coach, cross country Jebreh Harris. "I saw teammates running for other teammates and I saw them having fun. Our team did a great job of executing the mission and the goals. They did a great job of pushing it out like we wanted to and they worked together. It was great to see a bunch of shields running through as a group, the first mile, mile and a half. It was great to see them put forth the effort and the key word the last part of the race was "tough." Our job was to run tough. When I saw a person (along the course), I said their job was to get that person in front of them and they responded well."
USC's fourth runner to cross the finish line was senior Mihajla Milovanovic, who placed 42nd with a time of 19:57.1 and the Trojans' final scoring runner was sophomore Giovanna Pisano, who finished 54th with a time of 20:11.6, passing seven runners over the final third of the race. USC's final three runners were Isabelle Cairns who placed 67th with a time of 20:37.1, followed by freshman Liyat Kebbede in 74th with a time of 20:45.5 and senior Brooke Rodi in 115th with a time of 22:11.2. In her first official cross country race since the 2019 season, Rodi was able to run-down 10 athletes during the final third of the course.
USC's cross country team will be in action next at the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 17. The race will be on the Ag Ops course in Riverside, Calif., which is the course the Trojans will be utilizing to host the Pac-12 Championships on Oct. 28.