USC Heads To Stanford For Important Challenge
Sept. 27, 2012
The USC women's cross country team is off to an impressive start this season but will face its toughest challenge so far when they compete at the 39th Annual Stanford Invitational 6K cross country race on Saturday (Sept. 29) at 10:30 a.m. in Palo Alto, Calif. on the school's golf course.
"I'm really excited about the meet," said USC's head coach Tom Walsh. "It is a Pac-12 preview for us and we are going to use it that way to get ready for the Pac-12 Championship meet to be hosted by UCLA on Oct. 27. As ar as the competition goes, this meet gives it a Pac-12 caliber flavor."
There are 34 teams entered and the field includes several nationally ranked teams like host No. 6 Stanford, as well as several other teams which are ranked in the top 15 in either the Mountain or West regions. Coach Walsh stated that his goal is for the team to finish among the top 8-10 teams.
"This race will give our girls a chance to see where they compare to ranked teams and gives them a chance to work on race strategy and tactics against good runners," added Walsh. "This will be the first time this season that we will have our best team all available to compete."
Running for the Trojans on the relatively flat and grassy course will be redshirt senior Shelby Buckley, sophomores Erica Capellino, Kira Soderstrom and Erin Robinson and freshmen Katerina Berdousi, Jenna Tong and Nicole Davies. Berdousi, from Tripoli, Greece, will be making her collegiate debut, and for Robinson, it will be a return home to Palo Alto and to the course where she set her 5K PR of 18:19 as a high school senior.
"This is a good chance for Erica, Katerina and Shelby to work together as a pack in a race where there will be more than 200 people," said Walsh. "In a race this large, it is usually the No. 4 and No. 5 runners which decide the meet, so I'm looking forward to Kira, Jenna, Nicole and Erin stepping it up and running well in a big meet. This will be our first 6K race of the year, but every one of our girls has been training for this and will respond well to the extra kilometer."