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USC sophomore Erica Capellino

[USC] – The young USC women’s cross country team will compete this weekend at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships hosted by UCLA at Robinson’s Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita. Seven of the eight runners USC is sending to the meet are underclassmen.

Joining senior captain Shelby Buckley are sophomores Erica Capellino, Erin Robinson and Kira Soderstrom and freshmen Katerina Berdousi, Nicole Davies, Natasha Strickland and Jenna Tong. Even USC’s alternate is an underclassman, as sophomore Erin Matranga will be there ready to compete in the race if needed.

“I’m excited to see if we can keep improving this weekend at the Pac-12 Championships,” said USC cross country head coach Tom Walsh. “Each race this season the girls have gotten better and better. Now it is time to see if they can peak at the Pac-12 Championships. Erica (Capellino) and Shelby (Buckley) are the leaders of the team and hopefully they can lead us on Saturday in a meet with six of the top 24 ranked teams in the country. All of the girls are excited for the challenge.”

The Pac-12 Conference is widely regarded as the toughest conference in the country with four of the top six and six of the top 24 ranked teams. Currently the ranked Pac-12 teams are No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Arizona, No. 6 Washington, No. 21 Colorado and No. 24 UCLA. Last season conference newcomer Colorado won the team title with 50 points.

The 6K race will be run on the Mountain Course at Robinson’s Ranch Golf Course with the women making two 2-K loops and two 1-K loops. The course consists of rolling fairways, no elevation gain and several sharp turns. Tape-delayed coverage of the championships will air on the Pac-12 Networks on the following dates and times: Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., Nov. 7 at 11 p.m. and Nov. 8 at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m.

 

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CAL sophomore Chris Walden is competing in his second Pac-12 Championships on Saturday.

[CAL] – The California men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the 2012 Pac-12 Championships on Saturday at Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita, Calif.

The women’s 6000-meter race will begin at 9:40 a.m. and the men’s 8000-meter race will get underway at 10:40 a.m. Saturday’s conference championships will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks with the event set to air several times in the first week of November, including Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., Nov. 7 at 11 p.m. and Nov. 8 at 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. All times listed are pacific.

Live coverage of the Pac-12 Championships will be available on Pac-12.com. Real-time updates will be posted, including live stats, Twitter updates and facebook updates. In addition, fans can download facebook cover photos now. At the conclusion of the race, official results and recaps will be posted on the championships page.

Cal will compete against a challenging field of conference schools on both the men’s and women’s side. Four men’s teams (Colorado, Stanford, Oregon and UCLA) are ranked in the top-15, while six women’s teams (Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, Washington, Colorado and UCLA) are ranked in the top-25 of the latest USTFCCCA poll.

Sophomore Kelsey Santisteban has raced in three meets overall this fall, including one 6000-meter race. She has top-10 finishes in each of her races. The sophomore placed 10th overall in her lone 6000-meter event with a time of 19:57 in Wisconsin. Fellow sophomore Christine Bowlus has competed in three 5000-meter races this fall with a top time of 17:49.2 in a fourth-place finish at Sacramento State. Senior Hillary Hayes has also competed in three meets this fall, including the 6000-meter Wisconsin event where she finished the race in a time of 21:54. Junior Elisa Karhu has raced in a pair of 6000-meter races this season, posting a top time of 21:48.0 at Stanford. Freshmen Ashlyn Dadkhah, Mariel Mendoza and Xochitl Navarette, as well as sophomores Sydney Gray, Laura O’Neill and Rebecka Oberg, and juniors Juliana Green and Sofia Oberg will also compete in Saturday’s conference meet.

Sophomore Chris Walden enters his second Pac-12 Championships on the men’s side. He has raced twice this fall with a time of 24:24 in the 8000-meter event in Wisconsin. Freshman Matt Carpowich has competed in three events this fall, including two 8000-meter races with a top time of 24:19 in Wisconsin. Junior Agustin Alva opened the season with a time of 24:52 in the USF Invitational and recorded a time of 24:56 in Wisconsin and 25:02.2 in Virginia. Seniors Simon Schmidt, Renaud Poizat, Matt Petersen and Joe Greenspun, along with junior Cody Schmidt, sophomore Jordan Locklear and freshmen Juan David Garcia, Thomas Joyce and Leland Later, will also compete for Cal on Saturday.

Cal finished fifth on the men’s side and seventh on the women’s side in last season’s inaugural Pac-12 Championships held at the Wigwam Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz.

Walden finished 19th overall in last year’s meet with a time of 23:50, while Simon Schmidt (48th) and Petersen (71st) also competed for the Bears in last season’s conference meet.

Karhu returns to the Pac-12 Championships after she recorded a 33rd place finish with a time of 21:00 in last year’s meet. Santisteban was the only other current Golden Bear to race in last season’s conference meet. She placed 68th overall in 2011.

The Pac-12 Championships is the seventh event the Bears will compete in this fall prior to the NCAA West Regionals in Seattle, Wash. on Friday, Nov. 9. Next up for several Bears is the Doc Adams Invitational in Davis. Calif.

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