Mission Harriers Earn First Ranking

Sept. 22, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University sports teams continue to shine in what is shaping up to potentially turn out to be one of the most successful fall seasons in recent history.

The Bronco men's cross country team has earned its first-ever West Region ranking by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association, moving to 14th after consecutive solid performances to open the season.

Under second-year head coach Tom Service, Santa Clara opened the season with a third-place finish at the USF Invitational behind Arizona and Stanford. At the Sundodger Invitational last weekend in Seattle, Wash., the Bronco distance squad finished eighth, just ahead of Cal State Fullerton, Boise State and Gonzaga.

"We've started off the season rather well, particularly with the fact that we had a lot of new runners this year," said Service, who has been the head coach of the women's team since 2001. "I like the attitude of our team and I expect great things as we move forward in the season."

Despite a history of success on a conference level, with SCU finishing second in the West Coast Conference championships 12 times since 1975, the Broncos have not ranked among the top-15 in the regional coaches' rankings. The Santa Clara women's team came out of nowhere to shoot up to as high as No. 9 in the Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association (WICCCA) listings in 2003.

Stanford is ranked first in the region, followed by Arizona and Cal Poly. Just ahead of the Broncos are UCLA (10th), Washington State, Idaho and UC Irvine.

The Broncos return to action this weekend with a limited squad competing at the Stanford Invitational. A full squad will run at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30 in South Bend, Ind.