September 5, 2002

Mission Harriers Open Season Saturday

Sept. 5, 2002

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's and women's cross-country teams open the 2002 season Saturday at the UCI Invitational at Central Park in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Hosted by UC Irvine, the women's 5,000-meter race begins at 9:00 a.m. followed by the men's 8,000 meters at 9:45 a.m. In addition to the Broncos and the host Anteaters, the field for the UCI Invitational is expected to include Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, Occidental, Azusa Pacific, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Southern Utah, UC San Diego, the USC and San Diego State women's teams, and the men's squad from Fresno State.

The Santa Clara women's squad is looking to defend its West Coast Conference title, but was picked to finish second on the league according to a poll of conference coaches. Bronco coach Tom Service returns WCC freshman of the year Robin Bell as well as adding talented transfer Kim Bates from the University of Arizona and should be in prime contention to return the trophy to Santa Clara.

John Maloney's men's squad was also selected by league coaches to finish second in the WCC for the third straight season. The squad should be bolstered by the return of Michael Helms, who finished fifth at the WCC championships in 2000, as well as senior Thomas Chapman, last year's fourth-place finisher.

Following the UCI Invitational the women's squad will compete next weekend at the Fresno State Invitational, while the men's squad will travel up Highway 101 to the USF Invitational at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.