Waves Get 2014 Season Underway at Mark Covert Classic
Katie Engel and Kevin Maeda led the cross country teams in the first race of the season.
BREA, Calif. - Katie Engel and Kevin Maeda led the Pepperdine cross country teams to the finish line in their first race of the season, the Mark Covert Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton, on Saturday morning.
"We had a nice race," Pepperdine Coach Robert Radnoti said. "There was a really great crowd, a lot of our families came out to support the team, so it was a lot of fun. The running conditions were pretty good."
The men's race went off first, and the first four Pepperdine runners to cross the finish line were all freshmen, led by Maeda (Highland, Calif./Citrus Valley HS) in 26:58.8, which was good for 22nd place. He was followed by Nicholas Serrao (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Dana Hills HS), Rudy Gonzalez (Whittier, Calif./California HS) and Kyle Cajero (Tucson, Ariz./Pusch Ridge Christian Academy).
"Our men's team had a pretty nice race," Radnoti said. "Our three top sophomores were out, so it gave our freshmen a chance to step up, and I think they did. Kevin was more than 30 seconds faster than our fastest guy at the Mark Covert Classic last year, so that was really good. Our freshmen all ran better, or about as good, as our top runners did last year, so I'm really excited about where the team is headed. Our freshmen and sophomores are going to be exciting to watch for the next few years."
Engel (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima HS), a junior, led the women's race early before finishing in 12th place with a time of 18:45.5. She led the Waves four times in 2013, including at last year's Mark Covert Classic. Engel was followed by sophomore Lindsay Sheaffer (Portland, Ore./Jesuit HS) in 18th and senior Lisa Santroch (Shoreline, Wash./Shorewood HS) in 22nd.
The women's team came in fifth out of eight teams.
"Our women's team had a pretty good competition," Radnoti said. "We beat San Diego, so to beat a WCC team is always a good thing. Katie was pleased with how she did. She led the first mile of the race and she said the pace felt easy for her. Lindsay has improved a lot from last year, so that's good to see. Lisa is right there too. Our top three are pretty solid, so we just need to get our next four up with them."
The Waves will next be in action in two weeks at the WCC Preview Meet in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Sept. 13.