Cross Country Runs at WCC Championships on Saturday

Hannah DeWalt

Oct. 26, 2011

MALIBU, Calif. - After a handful of regular-season meets, the most important point of the season has arrived for the Pepperdine men's and women's cross country teams, who will compete in the West Coast Conference Championships this Saturday (Oct. 29).

WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS - For the 27th consecutive year, the WCC Cross Country Championships will be held at the Crystal Springs course in Belmont, Calif. The men's 8k is at 9 a.m. and the women's 6k is at 9:45 a.m. Live streaming of the meet will be available at This is the last time the race will be held at Crystal Springs in the near future, as the competition will head to campus sites beginning in 2012 (Pepperdine is slated to be the host in 2013).

RADNOTI SAYS - Pepperdine sixth-year head coach Robert Radnoti on the WCC meet: "In our sport, everything focuses on the end of the season, championships season. We talk about that a lot. Our mindset is that we're going to peak at this meet and set PRs ... We really want to improve, improve from year to year, improve from meet to meet. We focus on the athletes enjoying this experience."

WCC HISTORY - The Pepperdine women have placed second on three occasions (1988, 1993, 1999), while three individuals have been crowned league champion (Kari Baerg in 1988, Kim McElhinney in 1989 and Rebecca Freebury in 1999). Last season, Chelsea Wishard (2nd) and Lauren Lodge (5th) gave Pepperdine multiple All-WCC runners for the second time in school history. On the men's side, the best outcomes have been a third-place team finish in 1997 and Jason Kite's fifth-place result in 1993. Last season, the women were sixth and the men were eighth.

LODGE - Pepperdine's top returner is senior Lauren Lodge (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton HS). Though she sat out the first two meets while recovering from a leg injury, she's been the top finisher on the women's side at the following two events. Lodge finished in fifth place at the 2010 WCC Championships, which led to All-WCC first team honors. She was the winner at the 2009 Malibu Oceanside Open and the 2010 Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. In track, she is the Waves' school-record holder in the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters and the steeplechase.



LEADERS - Kenny Smith (Willits, Calif./Willits HS) was the Waves' top finisher at the first four men's races, while Jonathan Rahaeuser (Irvine, Calif./Calvary Chapel HS) took top honors at the Titan Invitational. Aneasha Lawrence (Sun Valley, Calif./Village Christian HS) was the top female at the first two meets, and Lauren Lodge took top honors at the third and fourth.

EXPERIENCE - Pepperdine's women's roster has nine returners (seven of whom are seniors), while the men's roster has six returners (two of whom are seniors).

ACADEMICS - Pepperdine's cross country program is perhaps the school's most accomplished in the classroom. In the 2010-11 school year, 22 student-athletes (those with grade-point averages above a 3.0) were named to the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll, and 10 of them collected WCC All-Academic awards.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine's 75th anniversary.

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