Cross Country Heads To UC Irvine

MALIBU, Calif. – Pepperdine’s men’s and women’s cross country teams head to UC Irvine Saturday for the Asics/UC Irvine Invitational. Races start at UCI's Anteater Recreation Center Fields at 8 a.m. 

There will be two women's and two men's races due to the large field and both Pepperdine squads are slated to compete in the ‘A’ races for larger universities. The women’s 5,000-meter ‘A’ race starts at 8:40 a.m. and the men’s 8K follows immediately at 9:10 a.m.

“There are about 20 schools competing and all of them are bringing in a different early-season race strategy, so this meet is almost meaningless from a team perspective,” Pepperdine head coach Robert Radnoti said.


His strategy is to allow freshman Lauren Lodge (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton HS) to compete with the top group from the very start, but he wants his second group, which includes veterans Brieanna Carroll (Pusan, South Korea/Pusan American HS), Courtney Young and Chelsea Wishard (Lawai, Hawaii/Kauai HS) to run as a pack.


“I want to see Brieanna, Courtney and some of our freshmen going off Chelsea’s pace,” Radnoti said. “Her strategy is to start off conservative, and then she picks up speed through the race with a good mile pace average.”


Carroll, a senior team co-captain, just returned to campus earlier this week after completing her ROTC commitment in Alabama.


Radnoti doesn’t want to see any pack running on the men’s side. He’d rather see individuals mix it up with the competition so the coaching staff can get a better read of who’s best suited to lead the Waves at future select meets at Hawaii and Stanford.


Team captain Conrad Wozniak (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) is still battling flu-like symptoms and will miss his second-straight weekend of racing, but the Waves did receive word late Friday that newcomers Alberto Solis (Big Bear, Calif./Big Bear HS), Cole Feldman (Carroll, Iowa/ Kuemper HS) and Renato Campos (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil/Kent School) were cleared to compete. Solis and Campos are both freshman, while Feldman is a graduate student studying law.


The brand new course at Irvine has competitors run the first few miles around the recreation field perimeter before breaking south toward the intersection of Anteater Drive and California Avenue. Runners will then head north on California and later trek through UC Irvine’s athletic campus and student housing areas.


The homestretch includes a curved route south down Arroyo Drive followed by a sharp right back into the Rec Fields toward the finish line.


The course is not especially hilly and competitors will run close to 90 percent of it on either streets or sidewalks.


“There are a lot of turns on the Irvine course and it runs flat and fast, which allows more speed to be worked into our training,” Radnoti said. “It’s good to work in this style of race since we’ve lately been focused on hill training.”


Please click here for results, which are expected to be posted Saturday afternoon.


Pepperdine opened its 2008 season last weekend with losses to Loyola Marymount at the Malibu Oceanside Invitational. The Waves’ women’s team narrowly lost 31-25 despite Wishard’s and Lodge’s one-two finish on the three-mile course. Sophomore Seth Allison (Canyon, Texas/Canyon HS) was Pepperdine’s top finisher on the men’s side, placing fourth in a 45-17 defeat.


Despite the losses, the coaching staff noticed a marked improvement in this year’s season opening times compared to last year’s. This year's top five finishers on the women’s side averaged a time 19:12 – a 44 second improvement over last year’s average of 19:56.


The top five men averaged a 16:17 versus 16:45 last year.



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