Cross Country Braves Weather Delays to Run at UC Irvine
Sept. 10, 2011
Aneasha Lawrence and Kenny Smith ran strong races again to lead their respective women's and men's teams as the Waves were in action at the Asics/UC Irvine Invitational on Saturday.
Lawrence (Sun Valley, Calif./Village Christian HS) and Smith (Willits, Calif./Willits HS) each won their races at the season-opening Malibu Oceanside Open nine days ago, but this was the Waves' first test against a large field of runners.
"It was an interesting day because being in Southern California you don't worry a lot about rain or thunder or lightning or anything like that," Pepperdine Coach Robert Radnoti said. "It started to rain on the drive there and when we got to Irvine we saw the lightning and heard the thunder. We took the team to a safe area for a while, and although there were a few little delays, the races went off."
On the women's side, Lawrence took 13th place with a time of 18:11.9 on the 5k course. She finished just 13 seconds out of the top 10.
"Our women had a nice race," Radnoti said. "Aneasha did very well coming off her win. She ran a very strong race and it was a PR for her by quite a bit. She's a four-year cross country runner but she's never really thought of herself as a cross country runner. Now she's building up her confidence and believing in herself. She was very excited about her race."
For the men, Smith came in 24th place and completed the 8k course in 25:56.4. He finished among a large pack of runners and was just nine seconds away from a spot in the top 20 and 18 seconds out of the top 10.
"I was very pleased with Kenny's race," Radnoti said. "He's been battling injuries over the last year and he's been working very hard on his running mechanics to change that. He ran a nice time of under 26 minutes. I'd like to get all five of our men's runners under 26 minutes, but Kenny ran very strong, very consistent, had even splits. It was nice because he felt good after the race."
Behind Lawrence, the next three women's finishers for Pepperdine posted big improvements over their times at the 2010 event. Sophomore Adrianna Davies (Coronado, Calif./Coronado HS) bettered her time by 42 seconds, senior Paige Mobley (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS) was improved by 52 seconds and senior Courtney Rolando (Longmont, Colo./Silver Creek HS) was quicker by more than two minutes.
Pepperdine's #2 men's runner, sophomore Jesse Aston (Martinez, Calif./Alhambra HS), showed an improvement of more than three minutes over his 2010 time at UC Irvine.
"We've made great strides since last year and I'm excited about the improvements we're seeing," Radnoti said.
Cal Poly won the women's race (Pepperdine was eighth), and Lauren Jimison of the Azusa Pacific was the medalist. Cal State San Marcos won the men's race (Pepperdine was 11th), while John Gilbertson of The Master's was the individual winner.
The Waves will take next weekend off in order to prepare for the Stanford Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24.