October 31, 2002

Bronco Harriers Challenge For WCC Titles

Oct. 31, 2002

  • Men's Course Records
  • Women's Course Records

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Santa Clara University men and women's cross country teams will be looking to duplicate last year's success Saturday at the West Coast Conference championships at Crystal Springs International Cross Country Course in Belmont, Calif.

    Saturday's men's race is scheduled for a 9 a.m. start, while the women will compete at 9:45 a.m. Crystal Springs Course is also the site of the annual Bronco Invitational and has served as the championship site for the WCC since 1985.

    The Bronco women earned their first-ever WCC team championship last year, taking a convincing 17-point win over five-time defending champion Portland. Head coach Tom Service was named the league's Women's Coach of the Year and Robin Bell earned WCC Freshman of the Year honors.

    The women are likely considered favorites to repeat after recording head-to-head victories over six of the seven league opponents this season, including a win over rival Portland at the Willamette Invitational earlier this month. Five Bronco runners posted times under 19:00 at Willamette, led by Kim Bates' 17:28.88 clocking over the 5,000-meter course.

    Bates, the October WCC Athlete of the Month, won the individual title at the Bronco Invitational two weeks ago with a time of 17:44, the fourth-best 5,000-meter time ever at the Crystal Springs Course. Bates should be considered the individual favorite after recording victories over returnees Alegra Porter of Saint Mary's and Nicole Ricci from Portland earlier this season.

    Milena Basile, Bell, Katie Hansen and Courtney Daniels have consistently joined Bates as SCU's top five runners throughout the season.

    On the men's side, Portland has won every league title since 1979 but the Broncos have been steadily challenging the Pilots the last few seasons. In 2000, the Broncos scored 52 points and finished 27 points behind Portland for the tightest margin of victory ever in the WCC championships. Last season, Santa Clara equaled their team score from the previous season and finished just 30 points behind the Pilots.

    With the return of senior Michael Helms, the consistency of Thomas Chapman and Benjamin Gauen and the emergence of freshman John Hinman, the Broncos have reason for optimism.

    Hinman should also contend for Freshman of the Year honors with his primary opposition coming from redshirt freshman Trevor Coolidge of Portland.

    Helms, the WCC September Athlete of the Month, redshirted the 2001 season after serving as the Broncos' top finisher in the 2000 WCC championships. He leads the quartet that has served as the top of the Bronco lineup throughout the season. The fifth slot is up for grabs between Dominic Ricci, Pat Green and Ricky Brackett.

    Directions to Crystal Springs
    From Santa Clara:
    El Camino Real to I880 south
    I880 south to I280 north
    I280 north to Highway 92 east
    Highway 92 east to Ralston Avenue
    Left turn on Ralston Avenue
    Right turn on Halmark Drive
    Park on street outside of Halmark Park (on right 1 mile from Ralston)
    Walk up path into course (0.4 mile to starting line)