Cross Country Thrives at UC Irvine

MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine's Chelsea Wishard and Lauren Lodge both earned individual awards for placing among the top 15 in Saturday morning’s 5K race at the Asics/UC Irvine Cross Country Invitational. 

Wishard (Lawai, Hawaii/Kauai HS) led all Wave runners with her 12th place time of 18:22.50 and Lodge (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton HS) was just two seconds behind in 13th at 18:24.30.

"The women's race went well for us and it was good to see our top two come back with awards; that was nice for them," Pepperdine head coach Robert Radnoti said. "We implemented our strategy for Chelsea to start off conservative and run with the pack, but that only worked for about half the race before she decided to take off.”


Senior team co-captain Brieanna Carroll (Pusan, South Korea/Pusan American HS) was Pepperdine's third fastest finisher, and placed 27th of 155 runners in her first race back from ROTC training in Alabama. Carroll returned to campus around Labor Day, and her performance was a pleasant surprise for Radnoti.


"She's in real good shape and we're going to have a very strong top three by the end of the season," he said. "The depth of this team is exciting, especially when we also factor in Courtney Young (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS), Paige Knudsen (Los Gatos, Calif./Los Gatos HS) and four more of our freshman. We're right on track."


Pepperdine’s women's team placed fifth of 14 schools with 137 points, an improvement of three places from last year's Irvine meet. And although the Irvine course was very different from a season ago, Radnoti noticed that Wave athletes ran 81 seconds faster on average while most of the top schools ran about the same times or a few seconds faster.


Host UC Irvine claimed the team title with 51 points and the top individual finisher Laura Olvera, who completed the course in 17:24.


The top finishers on the Waves' men's team were Jimmy Kelley (Santa Clarita, Calif./Hart HS), Seth Allison (Canyon, Texas/Canyon HS), Cole Feldman (Carroll, Iowa/Kuemper HS)and Kenny Smith (Willits, Calif./Willits HS), all of whom finished the 8K race in between the 26 to 27:00-minute mark.


"This race was a challenge for a lot of our freshmen who really haven't run as far as 8K or five miles in their prior competitions; and it's going to take some getting used to," Radnoti said. "They were pretty spread out in the early goings from the first mile to mile and a half, but ran as a group once they caught up with some of the other orange jerseys."


UCLA won the men’s team title with 29 points after placing five runners in the top 10. UCI’s Nick Mosey, however, won the race in 25:14.30.


The Waves return to competition in two weeks as they travel to the University of Hawai'i for the UH Big Wave Invitational.


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