Women's Cross Country
    USC Women's Cross Country Opens Season Saturday At UC Irvine

    Sophomore Kira Soderstrom is expected to be one of many underclassmen competing for USC Saturday.

    The USC women's cross country team will open up the 2012 season at the UC Irvine Invitational held on the Anteater Recreation Center fields in Irvine, Calif. at 8:30 a.m. The Trojans are expected to have at least a dozen team members attacking the 5K course, led by redshirt senior Shelby Buckley and sophomore Erica Capellino.

    The following is head coach Tom Walsh's preseason prospectus on the 2012 team:

    It looks like we have three front-runners on this team in Shelby Buckley, Erica Capellino and newcomer Katerina Berdousi which should help the depth of cross country at USC. Shelby and Erica are our top two returning runners and Katerina from Greece will be a key contributor who will need a little time to adjust to cross country and living in the United States.

    This is the longest team co-captain Shelby Buckley has been healthy since she was in high school and we finally have a base of training which we can build off with her. She was able to lead the Trojans in three of the four meets in which she competed last season, despite it being her first season of cross country since 2009.

    I'm excited to have Erica Capellino back for her sophomore season. Her freshman year she had an excellent Fall and Spring. She traded off with Shelby for the number one finisher on our team and capped off her track season with a time of 4:27 in the 1500m race. She has room for more improvement her sophomore season.



    Katerina Berdousi brings excellent middle distance track and field credentials to USC with a best time of 4:23 in the 1500m race. We are hopeful she can help us in the longer distances and improve along the way.

    Kira Soderstrom, co-captain Kelly Owen, Shannon Byrne, Erin Robinson and Katie DeYoung should be batting for our top seven and giving us depth in scoring. All five have worked extremely hard in the summer and have done everything to get ready for this cross country season. I won't be surprised if all of them have a break-through season.

    Nicole Davies, Jenna Tong and Natasha Strickland are three freshmen that will be counted on in the 2012 cross country season. All three of these girls are extemely enthusiastic and motivated, and have a work ethic that should inspire their teammates.

    Erin Matranga and Austin Lundin have a good chance to improve off last year's season. Both girls need to stay healthy. If both can stay healthy, good things are in store for them.

    Jackie Mansky is a transfer that could help us this season. She worked hard during the summer and should push the other runners on this team.

    Lauren Grego, Francesca Adamski and Anna Burger are middle distance runners in the track program that use the cross country season to work on their strength and endurance.

    We are still a freshman and sophomore dominated team, but I'm hoping we can keep improving and build off last season and run our best races at the end of the season.

    The Pac-12 will again be one of the top two conferences in the country and everyone on this team looks forward to competing against the top girls in the country.