Aug. 31, 2005
Fullerton, CA - Women - The 2005 Titans' women's roster will be boosted by six freshmen and three junior college transfers.
"I'm very excited about this year's freshmen class," said Head Coach John Elders. "They are all talented and willing to do the work to be competitive in the Big West Conference. I'm pleased with the fitness level they have achieved this summer, and I expect that they will make a big impact on the success of the team this season and in the future."
"Michelle and Karina were both very successful junior college runners and should step in and improve our team immediately," said Elders. "I've seen a great deal of potential in all three of these gals, and I'm expecting them to have a positive impact on our season."
This crop of newcomers is joined by a strong core of returnees. Team captain and 2004 team MVP Maria Blazquez is expected to be a frontrunner for the team.
"Maria has worked real hard this summer and is in fantastic shape,"said Elders. "She really deserves to have a great season."
Other top returnees include senior Dahamar Perez, who was the top runner for the Titans at last year's NCAA West Region Championships, and sophomore Juliane Masciana, who consistently placed high on the team last season as a frosh. Perez is building her training up after an injury this summer and should rejoin the squad mid-season. Other returnees hoping to make an impact are junior Toni Gamboa, sophomore Leslie Kirby and red-shirt freshman Beatriz Rodriguez. Luz Valdez, who was one of the top runners for the team last year, is red-shirting this season.
"On the team's prospects for the upcoming season Coach Elders said, "The Big West Conference will be very competitive this year. The strength of our team will be our pack running and the key to our success in the conference will be whether or not we can have any individuals step up and run with the frontrunners in the conference. This is a team that will get better and better as the season progresses."
Men - The men's team is challenged with the loss of four of the top five runners from the 2004 season. Lost to graduation were the Nos. 2 and 3 runners in Nick Arciniaga and Marcos Campos. The No. 5 runner, Dan Miller, did not return to the team for his senior season, and 2004 team MVP Jordan Horn will redshirt this season and save his senior season for 2006. That propels junior Damien Nieves to the role as frontrunner for Titans this season.
"Damien is very talented but has been held back by a series of injuries the past few years. After a fantastic summer of training he is stronger than ever this year, and I believe he has the potential to run near the front in our conference," said Elders.
The supporting cast for Nieves includes returnees Jason Graney (senior), Jon George (redshirt freshman) and Cory Vaselenko (sophomore), transfers Daniel Alvarez (junior/Mt. SAC) and Brian Washburn (sophomore/Pepperdine) and freshman Lalu Patel and Eddie Perez.
"After Damien we have seven guys who are packed really close together. The key to our success this season will be how much that pack will close the gap on Damien. If they can significantly close that gap we could definitely sneak up on some teams in the conference this year. I really believe these guys have the stuff to do it, and I'm looking forward to watching their progress over the course of the season."