Cross Country 2012 Season Preview
Both the men's and women's teams had large graduating classes depart the program.
Aug. 30, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - Next man, and woman, in. That has been the message from head coach Robert Radnoti to his cross country runners as he enters his seventh campaign at Pepperdine.
Both the men's and women's teams had large graduating classes depart the program, most notably former captains Kenny Smith and Jordan Wozniak on the men's side and All-West Coast Conference performer Lauren Lodge on the women's.
Pepperdine begins the 2012 season this Saturday (Sept. 1) with the Mark Covert Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton, at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, Calif. The men's 8K is at 8:15 a.m. and the women's 5Ks are at 8:55 a.m. and 9:25 a.m.
Replacing his men's captains will be a challenge, but Radnoti says that no one is better suited for the job than senior Jonathan Rahaeuser (Irvine, Calif./Calvary Chapel HS).
"Jonathan had an excellent spring in track and broke the school record in the 1500 meters," Radnoti said. "I fully expect him to challenge for a spot on the All-WCC team. His leadership and work rate throughout training have been unmatched."
Radnoti also expects a lot from freshman runner Jordan Scandlyn (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton HS).
"Jordan has been running very close to Jonathan and I am counting on him to be our #2 runner entering the season," Radnoti said. "He is arguably the best freshman runner I have ever coached during my tenure here at Pepperdine."
Freshman Mark Vega (Orange, Calif./Villa Park HS) is also being counted on to provide strong performances for his squad this season.
Replacing six of the top seven runners from last year's women's squad was Radnoti's mission once the season concluded. He believes he has done that by bringing in 15 newcomers to the program. Mix in juniors Sarah Attar (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) and Adrianna Davies (Coronado, Calif./Coronado HS) and Radnoti has the competition he is looking for. Attar is coming off a performance in the Olympics for Saudi Arabia, while Davies has been tabbed as a co-captain for the upcoming season.
Perhaps the most notable runner of the large incoming freshman class is Katie Engel (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima HS).
"Katie has been the most outstanding runner so far. She has been leading the pack in all of our training runs," Radnoti states. He has also named Engel as the other co-captain. "Her leadership as a freshman has been impressive and I expect great things from her this year."
Other freshmen who are expected to make a splash for the Waves this year include Stasia Demick (Seattle, Wash./Holy Names Academy), Rachel Rant (Boise, Idaho/Boise HS) and Kelly Smyth (Toms River, N.J./Toms River HS East). Demick is coming off a strong performance at the National Junior AAU meet in the 800 meters.
The team has recently come back from a five day trip to Catalina Island.
Radnoti says: "As a coaching staff, we wanted to create a culture of building relationships and we certainly did that. The team did exactly what we asked of them and we had a great experience because of that."
Radnoti is not only excited about his runners this season, but also his coaching staff, saying, "We have an outstanding group of coaches joining us. This is the best coaching staff that I have ever had."
Samantha Clayton is a former Olympian for Great Britain in 2004. Pepperdine alum Dale Reicheneder is a two-time U.S. Trail National Champion. Lindsey Flacks was a three-time All-American at Stanford. Rounding out the staff are new hires Rick Glenn, Nick Mosey and Jennifer Triggs.
Radnoti is very excited about this upcoming season, saying: "We are a young group that is growing every day. We will be an exciting and extremely competitive group and will surprise a lot of people this year."
Pepperdine opens up competition at the Mark Covert Classic in Brea, Calif., on Sept. 1. They have meets at UC Riverside, Stanford, Vanguard and Cal State Fullerton before the WCC Championships (Oct. 27 in Portland, Ore.).
By Cody Voga, Athletic Communications assistant