Women's Cross Country
    USC's Strong Team Effort Leads To 2nd-Place Finish At CSUN Invitational
    Freshman Erica Capellino shown here finishing strong to place third at the CS Northridge Invitational today.
    Freshman Erica Capellino shown here finishing strong to place third at the CS Northridge Invitational today.

    Oct. 15, 2011

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    The USC posted a very solid team effort in capturing second place at the 6K CS Northridge Cross Country Invitational today (Oct. 15) run on the CSUN campus in Northridge, Calif. Freshman Erica Capellino and redshirt junior Shelby Buckley led the way for the Trojans, but were backed by strong performances from freshmen Erin Robinson and Kira Soderstrom and redshirt freshman Katie DeYoung who helped lead USC to within three points of winner UC Santa Barbara (72-75).

    "Overall I am very pleased that we were with three points of UCSB," said USC cross country coach Tom Walsh. "Our third to fifth place runners Erin Robinson, Kira Soderstrom and Katie DeYoung came in before every other team's 3-5 runners, which is impressive. It was our first 6K of the year and I know the girls will improve next time they run again at the Pac-12 Championships. We are going to be ready to peak at the Pac-12 Championships."

    Capellino led the way for Troy by finishing third in the scoring with a time of 22:05.48. She has now placed third and second in her two cross country races as a Trojan, taking second in her first collegiate race at the Aztec Invitational on Sept. 17. She also continues USC's trend of strong showings at the CS Northridge Invitational as Zsofia Erdelyi won the meet in 2010 and took third in 2009.

    "I was pleased with Erica's race," said Walsh. "She ran a strong race and looked particularly strong at the end and didn't look worn down."

    Also battling near the top for much of the race was Shelby Buckley who finished 11th with a time of 22:28.03.

    Not far behind USC's top two runners were Robinson who placed 19th with a time of 22:38.83, Soderstrom who took 20th with a time of 22:40.26 and DeYoung who finished 22nd with a time of 22:40.

    "The three freshmen Erin Robinson, Kira Soderstrom and Katie DeYoung (redshirt freshman) were the key to today's success and they all battled hard in the middle of the race." added Walsh.

    Sophomore Jaclyn Walles had another good race and was USC's sixth finisher and 27th in the scoring with a 6K PR of 23:01.87. The Trojans' seventh finisher and 29th in the scoring was freshman Shannon Byrne with a time of 23:04.05. Not far behind her was junior Kelly Owen in 33rd place with a time of 23:07.12.

    USC's final four runners in the 121-woman field were freshman Austin Lundin in 52nd with a time of 23:35.53, freshman Erin Matranga in 58th with a time of 23:47.31, redshirt junior Jessica Lundin in 63rd with a time of 23:50.74 and sophomore Anna Burger in 87th with a time of 24:51.19.

    The CS Northridge course turned out to be a little more difficult than expected as the race made three laps around parts of campus with a lot of sharp turns and through some thick grassy areas. The past two seasons this race had been run at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, Calif.

    To put in perspective on how close the race turned out to be, USC's average time of 22:30.69 was the best in the field, more than 1.5 seconds faster per runner that the winning UC Santa Barbara team. USC's solid team effort was demonstrated by seven of the top 29 scoring runners being Trojans and eight of the top 33 finishers were wearing Cardinal and Gold. UNLV's Lauren Petersen won the individual title with a time of 21:54.16.

    USC will compete next on Oct. 21 at the CSUF Titan Invitational in Fullerton, before running at the Pac-12 Championships in Tempe, Ariz. on Oct. 29.