Every morning, starting around 6:30 a.m., the men’s and women’s cross country teams reunite in the Memorial Gym to work on their technique and stretch before going for a run, an intense run in the Golden Gate Park or at Kezar Stadium that they have to run in a certain time. No matter the fog, no matter the cold, no matter the wind, no matter if it rains or if the sun is burning, the racers will go for this morning run. Afterwards, they come back to the gym and stretch a last time before showering.
This sounds like and is a tough practice, but all these efforts and guts should make the cross-country season exciting and promising for the USF teams this year. Not only did the women’s team win the West Coast Conference last season, but they also finished first in the 2010 Preseason Poll with 48 points and six first-place votes. In the ranking order of the WCC Preseason All-Conference Team, sophomore Eva Krchova, junior Heather Zytkewicz, junior Hillary Kigar and senior Nicole Bowler were named. The USF men’s team obtained a honorable third place at the WCC last fall and tied with the lions of Loyola Marymount for the second place in the 2010 Preseason Poll with 40 points and one first place vote that LMU is missing. Junior Ganbileg Bor was named fourth – and the only USF representative – for the WCC Preseason All-Conference Team.
However, both USF teams have serious competition; indeed, the women will have to watch out for Portland, who finished second at the 2010 Preseason Poll with 41 points and one first place vote, and whose racer Lyndy Davis is ranked fifth in the WCC preseason All-Conference Team. Loyola Marymount is another direct competitor, ranked third at the Preseason Poll with 40 points and one first place vote; two Lions were also named in the Preseason All-Conference Team. Even with only 3 points and no first place vote in the poll, Santa Clara remains a team that USF should not neglect thanks to its two racers, Mary Reynolds and Stephanie Wilson, who are ranked in the WCC Preseason All-Conference Team.
The USF men will have to face a great opponent: Portland. Indeed, the Pilots won the last 31 WCCs and last year, Alfred Kipchumba – who is also named first in the WCC Preseason All-Conference Team – broke the 8K record by 33 seconds. Portland also finished first in the WCC Preseason Poll with 49 points and seven first-place votes. With Kipchumba, Portland counts in all five racers named in the Preseason All-Conference Team. The Dons will also have to watch out for LMU since they tied for the second place in the poll and because Lion Sterling Lockert has a place in the Preseason All-Conference Team.
With all these facts to keep in mind, the Dons will have to get ready to impose their rhythm and show their leadership on September 4th for their first race at Golden Gate Park, women starting at 9:15 a.m. and men at 10 a.m.
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