August 30, 2007

Cross Country Teams Look Ahead to 2007

Aug. 30, 2007

Women

With the graduation of 2005 WCC runner-up Shannon Bell, and 2006 WCC Championship 12th place finisher Lauren Swigart, the Bronco women will have a new look up front. Stepping up and leading the team will be a quality mix of veterans and new-comers.

Anne Murphy-Hagan finished 13th at the 2006 WCC Championships as just a freshman, and is the top returning harrier. Anne will be joined up front by Senior Adriane Puetz who is coming off a banner track season that saw her post huge pr's from the 800-5,000. Her 5k pr of 17:53 ranks her 3rd all-time at SCU. The Bronco women will also look to 5k school record holder, Junior Veronica Vazquez (17:40) to challenge for All-Conference honors.

Junior Whitney Porter had a tremendous summer of training and will also be a contributor this season. Also expected to score for the Women's team will be sophomore Gillian Fitch. Healthy and focused, Fitch had a great summer and could very well be one of the Broncos top runners by the end of the season.

Other returnees who are expected to contribute are seniors Blossom Marimpietri and steeple specialist Danielle Miller. Marimpietri has been a regular in the top 7 since her arrival from Oak Park High School in 2002. Miller, who holds a best of 11:07 in the 3k steeple, competed at the NCAA West Regionals for the Broncos last year.

Of the newcomers, freshman Melissa Conlin is expected to challenge for a place in the scoring 5. Conlin, who comes to SCU from Oliver Hazen High School in Washington, finished in the Top 10 in 2005 and 2006 in the 3A Washington Cross Country Championships. She also ran 11:05 for 3200m on the track last spring. Fellow freshman Riki Giacchetti, (Campolindo HS) is a former soccer player and has the potential for great improvement during her freshman season. With only one year of running under her belt, Giachetti posted pr's of 5:25 in the 1600 and 11:38 in the 3200.

Other newcomers include: Freshman Ali Cottle, a 5:22 1600m runner from Sammamish High School and transfers Erica Van Voast and Stephanie Wilson. Van Voast spent her freshman season at San Francisco State where she earned the 2006 California Collegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year.

Men

For the first time in years, the men's team will be loaded with upperclassmen. The men's team returns everyone from the team that finished 3rd at last years WCC Championships. However, the team will be without its top returnee, Chris Gumbs, who placed 6th in the 2006 WCC Championships. Gumbs will be red shirting the 2006 season.

In the absence of Gumbs, Senior team captain Mike Delaurenti will be looked upon to lead the team. Delaurenti holds the SCU school records in the 5k (14:46) and the 3k steeple (9:19). Fellow senior and team captain AJ Blumel will also play a major role in the success of the 2007 squad. Blumel placed 17th in 2006 at the WCC Championships and posted a personal best of 15:13 for 5k during the track season. Red shirt junior Mike Hannon placed 13th in the 2006 WCC meet, earning all-conference honorable mention, and is looking to place even higher this year after the best summer of training of his career.

Red shirt sophomore Danny Smith returns as to the team after red shirting last track season. Danny finished 21st overall and was the all important 5th man for the Broncos in 2006 at the WCC Championships.

Looking to help the team continue its improvement is a plethora of young talent. Talented sophomore Alex Harkins has impressed so far and will be a key factor in the team's success. Last fall, Harkins placed 18th at the WCC Championships and despite missing much of the track season with injury, Harkins posted a freshman pr of 15:13 on the track for 5k last spring. Fellow sophomore Stephen Koch is coming off a tremendous freshman track campaign where he posted a pr of 9:30 in the 3k steeple. Koch also scored for the Broncos at the NCAA regionals in 2006 as just a freshman.

Seven freshmen will also be attempting to break into the top 7. Trabuco Hills graduate Chris Mosier ran 15:44 for 5k at the California Division 1 State Championships helping his team to a first place finish. Mosier also ran 9:30 for 3200 in the spring. Zach Bonner joins the team from Davis High School where he helped his Blue Devils to a 3rd place finish in the same race as Mosier, covering the 5k in 15:57. Bonner ran 9:29 for 3200 last track season. Local product Robbie Reid, (Mountain View High School) has looked great so far this summer and is also expected to compete for a spot in the top 7. Robbie ran 1:55.05 for 800m last spring. Chris Sampson (Mater Dei High School) has also impressed early and could help the team in the post season as well. Sampson ran 9:39 for 3200 in 2007.

Others who can contribute include: Senior veteran Omar Ahmad will add experience and leadership to a young team. Freshman Alex Boll from North Field Mount Herman Prep School is a 1:58 (800m) and 4:06 (1500m) runner. Sophomore John Laughlin, who posted a 1500m best of 4:06 last spring, had a big summer of mileage. Red-shirt freshman John Howard, (Kennedy High School), true freshman Mike Calcagno (Saint Francis High School), and Matt Spear (Jesuit High School) might be a year away from the top 7, but will look to gain valuable Division 1 Cross Country experience.