Capellino Leads USC's Young Squad To Third At Aztec Invitational
Sept. 17, 2011
Freshman Erica Capellino was impressive in her first race as a Trojan, placing second and leading USC's young squad of six freshmen and a redshirt junior to a third-place finish today (Sept. 17) at the 67th Annual Aztec Invitational (5K) in San Diego, Calif.
Capellino had a time of 18:27.8 to finish less than six seconds behind the winner and course regular San Diego State's Marianne Hogan, who had a time of 18:21.9. That winning time was one minute and one second slower than the winner at last week's UC Irvine Invitational to put the difficulty of the course in perspective.
Biola won the meet with a score of 43, followed by UCLA with 54, USC with 81, UNLV with 96 and host San Diego State grabbed fifth with 140 points in the eight-team field. All seven of USC's runners finished in the top 31 of the 76-woman field.
"Erica ran very well and I was impressed with her effort," said USC cross country head coach Tom Walsh. "She ran the hills well and ran a very good first race from start to finish."
The last time USC ran at the Aztec Invitational was in 2008 and that time placed sixth in the team scoring. USC's top finisher at the 2008 Aztec Invitational was Sarah Cocco who placed 12th with a time of 18:17, while Zsofia Erdelyi took 21st with a time of 18:36. Speaking of Cocco, before this race by Capellino, Cocco was the last Trojan other than Erdelyi to place as high as second at a meet when she took second at the 2008 Pepperdine Invitational.
USC's second finisher and fellow freshman (as were USC's top six finishers today) was Erin Matranga with a time of 19:25.5 to place 18th overall. She nearly beat her time from last week at Irvine (19:19) on this much tougher course.
"Erin (Matranga) ran very well today also," added Walsh. "She attacked the hills and I was very impressed with her race."
Right behind Matranga in 19th was Erin Robinson with a time of 19:27.0, Shannon Byrne was 20th with a time of 19:28.5. and Austin Lundin was 22nd with a time of 19:33.0. Austin Lundin also nearly matched last week's time of 19:26.
"We ran well as a pack today," said Walsh. "We are slowly getting better each week and we have two weeks of training now before our next race (Pomona Pitzer Invitational) and I'm sure we will see more improvement at that meet."