Oct. 4, 2009
1,418 miles away from the Toreros' home in San Diego, USD's cross country team joined with some of the country's fastest runners in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday, October 3rd. The field was deep in terms of both the quality of runners, and quantity. Coach Guarino wanted to take his team to this race in order to give the runners a feel for a race of this magnitude and to prep them for upcoming races such as the NCAA Regional meet that will take place mid-November.
Continuous rolling hills, wood chips, and even some steps characterized the course, but undoubtedly a defining feature was the sheer number of runners. In each of the women's and men's race there were over 200 participants. Large races can be particularly challenging in terms of fighting for position, however the environment helped to encourage the runners to rise to an even higher level of competition.
The Lady Toreros faced off against the 23 other teams in their race. Emerald Raney, a freshman Torero, led the team with an 81st place finish and a time of 19:03. She was followed closely by another freshman- Sam Espindola, who finished in 87th at 19:06. Coach Guarino was particularly pleased with the strides that she has made on the team. He says that she is a testament to the idea that "hard work in practice easily translates into a racing environment". Finishing 3rd for the team at 118th and a time of 19:28 was Jenessa Rose, a sophomore. Next to cross the finish line at 128th place and a time of 19:41 was sophomore Kirsten Allen. Finishing 5th, 6th and 7th for the team was freshmen Mackenzie Entrikin and Kristy Koenes, and sophomore Bridget O'Keefe (135th place, 19:50; 151st place, 20:11; 180th place, 21:06 respectively). The women's collective efforts helped them to achieve an 18th place finish.
The men also represented well for San Diego. They finished in 20th place, with an average time of 27:07 for the team as a whole. On an individual level, sophomore Kevin O'Malley
ran a strong first for the Toreros, finishing 139th at a time of 26:41. Just 10 seconds later, freshman Erik Anderson
crossed the finish line in 153rd place. Another freshman, Chris Flaherty
was next to finish with a time of 27:07, and in 166th place. USD's 4th runner was Shane Smith
, a sophomore, who was packed closely with Chris, finishing only 2 seconds later at 169th place. The 5th, 6th, and 7th, runners also finished closely. Freshman John Cutter
(205th, 27:48), senior Marcus Lopez (206th, 27:50), and freshman AJ Agrawal
(213th, 28:00) were within eight places and only twelve seconds from one another.
"There was tough competition, but I do feel that both the young squads came through in their first big time race environment...overall I am pleased in the fighting spirit that our team continues to show regardless of who they race", said head coach Guarino following the meet. With the positive experience of the race in Oklahoma behind them, the Toreros are looking forward to their next meet on October 10th at the UCSD Invite.
Watch an INTERVIEW OF THE LADY TOREROS after their race at the Cowboy Jamboree.