Cross Country Heads to WCC Championships
Oct. 26, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine men's and women's cross country teams will send their young squads into action this weekend at the West Coast Conference Championships. Ten of the Waves' 14 runners going to the race are freshmen, and only three of them have previously competed at the conference event.
PORTLAND - For the past 27 years, the WCC Championships were held at the Crystal Springs course in Belmont, Calif. But now the meet will rotate among the WCC schools, and Portland is the host in 2012 (Pepperdine will hold the meet in Malibu in 2013). The races will be held at Fernhill Park on Saturday (Oct. 27), with the women's 6K at 9 a.m. and the men's 8K at 9:45 a.m. Fans can sign up for real-time updates from the race on their smartphones and social media platforms via www.athletepath.com.
RADNOTI SAYS - Pepperdine seventh-year head coach Robert Radnoti says: "One of the key things that's hard to prepare for is the weather. I hear it's been raining every day in Portland for the last two weeks so the course is very soggy and muddy. These are conditions we're not used to. With such a young team, we have runners that might not be used to this, although a number of them are from cold-weather states. It should be an interesting and fun experience for them and a good building block for the future. The goal for each of our athletes is to get better every race and improve in all facets, and to become more and more of a competitor as they grow over the course of their careers."
WOMEN'S LEADERS - Freshman Katie Engel (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima HS) finished #1 for the Waves at the first three meets of the season. Then senior Hayley Lytle (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach HS), who was competing in her first cross country race for Pepperdine since 2009, led the Waves at the Northridge Invitational. Last weekend, with Engel and Lytle resting, freshmen Stasia Demick (Seattle, Wash./Holy Names Academy) and Rachel Rant (Boise, Idaho/Boise HS) were first to the finish line at the Titan Invitational.
WOMEN'S LINEUP - In addition to Demick, Engel, Lytle and Rant, the other five making the trip are junior Sarah Attar (Escondido, Calif./Escondido HS) and freshmen Kami Bates (Lacey, Wash./Northwest Christian HS), Dyer Bowers (Savannah, Ga./Savannah Arts Academy), Kelly Smyth (Toms River, N.J./Toms River HS East) and Hannah Turpin (Lebanon, Ohio/Lebanon HS).
MEN'S LEADERS - In each of the first four meets of the season, the men's team was led to the finish line by senior Jonathan Rahaeuser (Irvine, Calif./Calvary Chapel HS). Freshman Jordan Scandlyn (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton HS) was the men's #2 runner at the first four races before edging out Rahaeuser at the Titan Invitational. Junior Jesse Aston (Martinez, Calif./Alhambra HS) has been #3 at the last four races.
WCC HISTORY - The Pepperdine women have placed second on three occasions (1988, 1993, 1999), while three individuals have been crowned league champion (Kari Baerg in 1988, Kim McElhinney in 1989 and Rebecca Freebury in 1999). On the men's side, the best outcomes have been a third-place team finish in 1997 and Jason Kite's fifth-place result in 1993.
EXPERIENCE - The Waves are breaking in a very large group of new runners in 2012. On the women's side, only two of the 27 on the roster saw action last season. Fourteen of them are freshmen. For the men, two of the seven on the roster competed last season, while four have been part of the program previously and three are true freshmen. The women's team has four seniors and the men have two.
ACADEMICS - Pepperdine's cross country program is typicallly one of the school's most accomplished in the classroom. In the 2011-12 school year, 15 student-athletes (those with grade-point averages above a 3.0) out of a possible 18 were named to the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll, and 12 of them collected WCC All-Academic awards. Running with a big freshman class in fall 2012, fewer student-athletes were eligible for conference academic honors this season. Jesse Aston made the first team for the second consecutive year and Jonathan Rahaeuser, Sarah Attar and Kymberli Buyer were honorable mention.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports -- one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat -- and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a BCS-affiliated conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.