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Cross Country/Track Teams Bringing in Big Group of Newcomers


 
 

July 1, 2013

MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine Coach Robert Radnoti will welcome an enormous class of 23 new men and women to his cross country and track teams this fall, as he unveiled his list of newcomers today.

His nine women's distance runners are Sydney Boothe (Pasco, Wash./Chiawana HS), Amberly Gil (Porter Ranch, Calif./Louisville HS), Sydney Gray (Bellingham, Wash./Meridian HS), Elle Lemco (San Jose, Calif./Prospect HS), Monica McGinty (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Mountain Vista HS), Lacey Sanchez (Stevenson Ranch, Calif./Hart HS), Simona Santi (Derwood, Md./Montgomery HS), Lindsay Sheaffer (Portland, Ore./Jesuit HS) and Ellie Smith (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck HS).

Six more women that will focus on track are Izzy Connell (Campbell, Calif./The Harker School), Cambria Lagana (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Saint Monica Catholic HS), Meri-Claire Montgomery (Littleton, Colo./Dakota Ridge HS), Tori Occhipinti (Coto de Caza, Calif./Crean Lutheran HS), Samantha Shipley (Escalon, Calif./Escalon HS) and Jordan Spencer (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie HS).

Eight men that will compete in cross country and possibly track are Nick Blanchard (Portland, Conn./Portland HS), Aric Crowell (Claremont, Calif./Claremont HS), Ben Fox (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain HS), Jackson Hogan (University Place, Wash./Curtis Senior HS), John Lawlor (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima HS), Kris Mazich (Yucaipa, Calif./Yucaipa HS), Gordie Thomas (Fallbrook, Calif./Great Oak HS) and Torin Wile (Beverly Hills, Mich./Brother Rice HS).

"I am so excited for the season to start with this outstanding, large group of young men and women," Radnoti said. "We did very well attracting a fantastic freshman class that may go down as the best in the Pepperdine history."

While most of the newcomers hail from Western states (10 from California, plus three from Colorado, three from Washington and one from Oregon), Radnoti's nationwide recruiting approach also has student-athletes coming from Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Texas.

 

 

Following is information about each of the recruits:

Nick Blanchard (Portland, Conn./Portland HS)
Ran four years of varsity cross country and four years of varsity track ... Earned all-state honors in cross country as a senior and was All-Shoreline Conference three times ... Holds school records in the 3,200 and 5,000 meters in outdoor track and the 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200 meters in indoor track ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "I want to be part of the running program Pepperdine is building. The academic prestige and strong Christian faith at Pepperdine was appealing, as well as the opportunity to experience life on the West Coast."

Sydney Boothe (Pasco, Wash./Chiawana HS)
Ran four years of varsity track and three years of varsity cross country ... Set school records in the 800, 1600 and 3,200 meters ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "I loved the atmosphere of the campus, the opportunity available, the proximity to the city, the rigor of the school, the dining, and of course, the weather."

Izzy Connell (Campbell, Calif./The Harker School)
Ran four years of varsity track and one year of varsity cross country ... Was a Wendy's High School Heisman school award winner ... Holds school records in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters ... Has excelled at the National Junior Olympics, Hershey's Track and Field Games and AAU Junior Olympics ... Chose to attend Pepperdine "simply for the great education, the great athletics and the great views."

Ben Fox (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain HS)
Ran two years of varsity cross country and two years of varsity track ... Was an AAU All-American and an AAU national champion ... Was part of state championship-winning teams in both cross country and track ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "it's a lovely, small school in the perfect location with the necessary academics, and I will be happy there."

Amberly Gil (Porter Ranch, Calif./Louisville HS)
Ran three years of varsity cross country and three years of varsity track ... Chose Pepperdine because of "its strong academics, various opportunity and emphasis on faith. What ultimately helped me decide were the people at Pepperdine. They are so friendly and so much like me, so I knew Pepperdine was the best option."

Sydney Gray (Bellingham, Wash./Meridian HS)
Ran three years of varsity cross country and three years of varsity track ... Earned All-Northwest Conference second team honors as a junior and senior, and All-Whatcom County honorable mention in cross country ... Chose Pepperdine because "it's been my dream school since my freshman year because of its intimate size, high academic merit and beautiful location. The team was amazing when I visited on my recruiting trip."

Jackson Hogan (University Place, Wash./Curtis Senior HS)
Ran four years of varsity cross country and two years of varsity track ... Earned All-SPSL honors as a sophomore and senior ... Was a state individual qualifier as a senior ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "I liked the endless internship opportunies that Los Angeles would give me in broadcasting, I enjoyed the Christian aspect of the school, I wanted to be able to run cross country and the campus is beautiful."

Cambria Lagana (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Saint Monica Catholic HS)
Ran two years of varsity track ... Earned All-CIF honorable mention as a sophomore and was on 4x100 and 4x400 Camino Del Rey League champion relay teams as a freshman and sophomore ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "when I walked onto campus I personally felt at home, and truly believed that my college experience would best be spent at a university upon which similar values and ideologies are represented."

John Lawlor (Honoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima HS)
Ran three years of varsity cross country and two years of varsity track ... His track team won a sectional championship his junior year and placed second at state ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of "the friendly atmosphere, the top-notch academics, lovely Malibu, a fun team and rigorous classes."

Elle Lemco (San Jose, Calif./Prospect HS)
Ran four years of varsity track and three years of varsity cross country ... Earned All-Blossom Valley Athletic League honors in cross country as a senior and sophomore and in track as a junior ... Qualified for the state cross country meet as a senior ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of "its small size and location in sunny Southern California are ideal. It has one of the best programs in the country for my major and I feel that Coach Radnoti and the rest of the Pepperdine community are what I want and need as a college athlete and scholar."

Kris Mazich (Yucaipa, Calif./Yucaipa HS)
Ran three years of varsity cross country and two years of varsity track ... Won the individual Citrus Belt cross country title as a senior ... Won multiple league championships in both cross country and track as a team ... Chose to attend Pepperdine "because it is a great private Christian university committed to academic excellence and service, and because of its beautiful campus overlooking the ocean."

Monica McGinty (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Mountain Vista HS)
Ran two years of varsity cross country and two years of varsity track ... Earned All-Continental League first team in track in the two-mile run and second team in cross country ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "I've been interested in Pepperdine for some time because my church has many ties with the University, so I have always been familiar with it. I feel like Pepperdine is the perfect place for me to excel and grow as an individual."

Meri-Claire Montgomery (Littleton, Colo./Dakota Ridge HS)
Ran four years of varsity track and one year of varsity cross country ... Was a state meet qualifier as a senior ... Earned All-Jefferson County Conference honors as a junior and senior on relays ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "it has been my dream school since I was in eighth grade. I love everything about it, the quality of education, the location, the size."

Tori Occhipinti (Coto de Caza, Calif./Crean Lutheran HS)
Ran three years on the varsity track team ... Won Academy League championships in the 100 meters, 100 and 300 hurdles and 4x100 relay as a senior, the 100 hurdles as a junior and the high jump as a freshman ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "God made it clear this this was the place for me to be, because it has an amazing pre-med program, I am able to be part of the track program, and I know that I will grow in amazing ways here."

Lacey Sanchez (Stevenson Ranch, Calif./Hart HS)
Did not run cross country or track in high school but instead took part in four years of varsity dance (winning national titles in 2011 and 2012) ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of "the beautiful campus and the legacy of my family."

Simona Santi (Derwood, Md./Montgomery HS)
Ran two years of varsity cross country and one year of varsity track ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "I loved the atmosphere, it's a great school and I feel like I fit in really well."

Lindsay Sheaffer (Portland, Ore./Jesuit HS)
Ran four years of varsity cross country and four years of varsity track ... Earned all-state 6A third team honors in cross country as a junior ... Received All-Metro League honors three years in track and twice in cross country ... Won state championships in both sports ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of the "beautiful location, superb academics, outstanding athletics, the University's commitment to Christian values and a personal sense of belonging every time I set foot on campus."

Samantha Shipley (Escalon, Calif./Escalon HS)
Ran one year of varsity track ... Also lettered in volleyball and softball and was a scholar-athlete ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "it is a highly respected University and was easily one of my top choices. After touring my prospective colleges, I found Pepperdine to be best suited for me. I could see myself fitting into the student body and having an all-around great experience."

Ellie Smith (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck HS)
Ran four years of varsity cross country and four years of varsity track ... Named the Runner of the Year in Anne Arundel County ... Was the county champion in the mile ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of "the people attending the school, the team, Coach Radnoti and the location."

Jordan Spencer (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie HS)
Ran four years of varsity cross country and four years of varsity track ... Was a state qualifier as a freshman and junior ... Was on a 4x400 relay team that placed fifth in the Texas 5A meet ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of its "great study-abroad program, beautiful location, friendly and close environment and its friendly and welcoming cross country program."

Gordie Thomas (Fallbrook, Calif./Great Oak HS)
Ran four years of varsity track and three years of varsity cross country ... Earned All-Southwestern League honors as a senior ... Team won a league title and placed fourth at state in 2011 ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because of "the beautiful campus, the great cross country and track teams and the coach, and a great business and study-abroad program."

Torin Wile (Beverly Hills, Mich./Brother Rice HS)
Ran four years of varsity cross country and four years of varsity track ... Earned all-state honors in the indoor 800 meters as a junior and senior ... Chose to attend Pepperdine because "I believe it's the school that will shape me into the man I want to become."

Pepperdine will host the West Coast Conference's Cross Country Championships for the first time ever this fall, holding the big meet on the school's Alumni Park on November 2.

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