Bronco Thinclads Ready Open The Season
Sept. 1, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Santa Clara University men's and women's cross country teams open their 2005 season Saturday at the San Francisco Cross Country Invitational at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
The event kicks off the women's 5K race starting at 9:15 a.m., followed by the men's 5K course at 10 a.m. The start and finish will be in Speedway Meadow on the newly designed courses and both events will be spectator friendly.
The Broncos reported to campus in mid-August and will compete in one competition before conducting their annual running camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. Following the San Francisco Invite, the Broncos travel to Seattle, Wash. for the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 17.
"We generally use this early-season competition to gauge our runners' fitness as we head into the season," said SCU head coach Tom Service. "We'll see how we look in this race and we'll have a better idea of the areas in which we need to focus when we head to camp next week."
Last year's field featured 2003 NCAA men's and women's champion Stanford and this year's field is expected to be even deeper. Stanford returns to defend its men's and women's titles, while Arizona, California, Georgia College (women only), Nevada (women only), Notre Dame de Namur, Pacific (women only), Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, San Francisco State, San Jose State, San Francisco, Sonoma State (women only), UC Santa Cruz and Santa Clara complete the field.
Both races figure to be very competitive. Stanford won the 2004 NCAA Western Regional Championship last season and finished sixth in the national meet. Brett Gotcher is the top returner for the Cardinal, while Jonathan Pierce and Forest Tahdooahnippah should also challenge for strong finishes. Arizona welcomes back one of the top freshman in the Western Region last year, Mohamed Trafeh along with Eric Chavez. Bolstered by one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, the Golden Bears counter with Kevin Davis, Gilat Ghebray will also be formidable.
For Santa Clara's men, freshman Chris Mulvany will join seniors John Paul Thyken and Chris Doerhoff and 2004's freshman sensation Michael Delaurenti as the Broncos lead pack. Also vying for a top seven slot will be sophomores Christen Gumbs, Andrew Blumel and Chris Furnari. The men's team is more fit than in any previous year, according to Service, who stated that "they trained hard this summer and are ready to reap the benefits."
The Bronco women's team should provide several new looks this fall. At the present time seven girls are training in a pack. All-WCC (2003) performer Shannon Bell is healthy and returns after sitting out the 2004 campaign. She is joined by senior Kiley Strong, sophs Jessica Philippi and Ann Thomas. At the present time a trio of freshmen round out the top seven in Noelle Lopez, Anna Wheatley, and Whitney Porter. "The ladies are very excited about the 2005 season and their first competition," according to Service.
Stanford enters as the favorite to repeat as champions after winning the 2004 NCAA Western Regional, before finishing fifth at the national meet. The Cardinal boast no fewer than three returning All-Americans - Arianna Lambie, Theresa McWalters and Katy Trotter. Cal counters with 2003 NCAA All-American Bridgett Duffy and Abby Parker in a strong women's field. Arizona's Amber Steen also figures in the mix for the Wildcats.
Race results will be available by clicking here.
DIRECTIONS: Speedway Meadow is located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and is located above 30th avenue off JFK Drive.