Oct. 26, 2006
San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Jordan Horn and Damien Nieves for the men and a strong pack for the women are the strengths Cal State Fullerton will take into the Big West Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday in San Luis Obispo.
The men look to improve on their sixth place finish in 2005 behind a strong 1-2 punch with seniors Horn and Nieves. The key to the Titans' success will be the ability of the Nos. 3, 4 & 5 runners to pack up within 1:30 of Horn. That task is up to Daniel Alvarez (Sr.), Sergio Tapia (Fr.) and Cory Vaselenko (Jr.). Others who could step up and fill that role are freshmen David Soto and Avo Nazarian.
"I believe this a very realistic goal and if we are able to accomplish that goal I believe we can surprise some teams and finish in the top half of the conference," said Head Coach John Elders. "Cal Poly and UCSB, both nationally ranked teams, are expected to battle for the team title and Horn is considered a contender for the individual title."
After placing fourth in 2005, the Titans' women look to move up in the conference standings.
"Pack running has been the strength of the ladies' squad this season and I wouldn't be surprised if our top five runners finished within 30 seconds of one another this weekend," said Elders.
"The key to our success is to position our pack high enough up in the race to combat the front running capability of the top individual runners from other teams. I don't think we've reached our peak yet this season, and I believe our ladies are ready for a peak performance this weekend."
The 2006 squad is led by two upperclassmen and a host of underclassmen. Senior Luz Valdez and junior Juliane Masciana will be accompanied by sophomore Mandy Eichmann and three freshmen -- Andrea Aguilar, Erika Estrada and Gail Munoz. Sophomore Kirsten Drake also looks to join the pack.
Top-Ten ranked UCSB looks to be the favorite going into the championship.