August 31, 2007

Cross Country Opens Season at the USF Invitational Saturday

Aug. 31, 2007

The Santa Clara men's and women's cross country teams begin their season Saturday morning at the USF Invitational at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Last year the men's team finished 2nd and the women finished 4th there to open up the 2006 season and this year they expect bigger things.

"We're a little more experienced this year, a little deeper," said head coach Tom Service. "I think we have a really good chance to contend for the title."

Service spoke optimistically of his teams and the year ahead. He seemed especially excited about the young talent on this Broncos team and seeing them in action for the first time. "We have just a great group of freshmen that we're really excited about," said Service. He added that it will be interesting to see how the freshmen men adjust to the distance change from 5k in high school to 8k or 10k now.

The team is antsy to get the season started after a long summer of workouts and preparation. "Everybody's excited to race," said Service. "It's the first race of the season, everybody is pumped up. You're going to get probably a little bit extra." He stressed the need for the team to pace themselves at the beginning and not to get so excited that they go out too fast.

Although Saturday's race is first on the docket for Santa Clara, Service remained focused on the team's goals down the road. "I tell my team, nobody's going to remember what place you got at the USF Invitational, but they will remember what place you got at the WCC Championships." Service said. "Everything we do in the next month or so is in preparation for the championship part of the season. Fair or unfair, that's what you're judged by. This is step one in that process."

That's not to say that the Broncos are looking past this race by any means. Service expects the team to do well Saturday and acknowledged he wants a strong start to the season. "I think it's important for this group of runners right away to start thinking, `We belong in front.'"

The race starts at 9:30 a.m. in Golden Gate Park this Saturday.