Trojans To Compete At The NCAA West Regional This Weekend
Nov. 8, 2007
The USC women's cross country team looks to continue its impressive season on Saturday (Nov. 10) when it competes at the 2007 NCAA West Regional Championships hosted by Oregon in Eugene, Ore. The 6K race is at the Springfield Country Club and begins at 12:15 p.m.
The NCAA West Regional is one of nine races across the nation that will automatically advance the top two teams and the top four individuals from non-qualifying teams to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 19 at Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind.
Another 13 at-large teams and two at-large individuals will be added from across the nation on Nov. 11, based on a criteria of head-to-head records against actual and potential NCAA qualifiers.
"This gives us another chance to build off the Pac-10 Championships," said USC cross country head coach Tom Walsh. "Every race we have gotten better and better. It doesn't always work that way, but it has this year. Hopefully this experience will be something we can build off."
"We are such a young team, another championship race like this will make the team better for the future," added Walsh. "Our team goal (Saturday) is to be competitive and to challenge some of the Pac-10 schools we were close to at the Pac-10 Championships. Individually we would like to get at least two people qualifyied for the NCAA Championships. Sarah Cocco, Zsofia Erdelyi and Laura Meyers all could be part of the group to qualify individually."
USC placed eigth at the Pac-10 championships with 215 points as 27 points separated the sixth through eighth-place teams. Cocco, a freshman, placed 11th at the Pac-10s followed by senior Meyers (42nd), freshman Erdelyi (45th), sophomore Bridget Helgerson (52nd), sophomore Katherine Ellis (65th) and sophomore Chanel Fischetti (66th). The Trojans had originally announced that they would only take four runners to the regional, but have added Ellis and Fischetti to the roster and will now be eligible in the team competition.
"Sarah is coming off her best cross country race of her life. Her experience at the Pac-10s should help her even more and I hope she can be in the top 15 at regionals," said Walsh. ""Zsofia has been looking much better and I expect her to be in the top 25 in the meet. Also, Laura is coming on strong and had a solid race at the Pac-10s and she has a chance to crack the top 30."
Another runner the Trojans are counting on is Helgerson, who was given the "Trojan of the Week Award" by coach Walsh for her race at the Pac-10s. Helgerson, from Portland, Ore., again will be running in front of many family and friends as for the second consecutive postseason race the Trojans are in the state of Oregon.
"Overall as a team we are going to use this experience to grow and get better and it is exciting to see the potential that this team has as you look to the future," added Walsh.
No matter what the result, the USC women's cross country team has taken great strides this season, with Cocco setting the school 6K record, four individual wins in the five regular season races and earning the five Lexus Gauntlet points for the first time in the annual competition between the USC and UCLA athletic programs.