Cal State Northridge cross country opens up the 2011 season this Saturday, Sept. 3 as the Matador men and women will run in the Asics/Fullerton Opener at Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, Calif. The 2011 opening meet is also the first for head coach Avery Anderson who takes over for Don Strametz who retired after 31 seasons with the women's team and 26 with the men.
Anderson and assistant coach Quincy Watts will lead a squad of seven women and six men as the Matadors embark on a season they hope will culminate with an improvement over last season's eighth-place finish at the Big West Championships.
The men's 8K race is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. while the women's 6K will follow at 9:05 a.m.
The women's squad will have to make up for the loss of senior Lilyana Morejon who finished sixth at the conference championship meet in 2010 and advanced to the NCAA West Regional in Oregon. Morejon was the top Matador finisher in every meet she competed in last fall. Also lost to graduation is Zitlalic Ley who placed 47th in the Big West last season and advanced with Morejon to the NCAA Regionals.
Returning in 2011 are juniors Araceli Zainos (Van Nuys, Calif.) and Ana Rosales (Los Angeles, Calif.), sophomores Fany Alvarado (Winnetka, Calif.), Vanessa Carr (Lake Balboa, Calif.), Yvonne Castillo-Urbina (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Annalise Lopez (Chatsworth, Calif.) and true freshman LeGia Pendergraph (Lancaster, Calif.)
Zainos was the third Matador woman to earn a spot in the NCAA West Regionals in 2010 and looks to improve on her 55th-place finish at last years conference championship meet. In Morejon's absence, Zainos finished as CSUN's top runner at the UC Riverside Invitational.
On the men's side, the roster is made up of seniors Cesar Lopez (Oxnard, Calif.) and Tawei Ma (Port Hueneme, Calif.), juniors Masis Hagobian (Modesto, Calif.), Hunter Hays (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Julio Mora (Los Angeles, Calif.) and true freshman Ezekial Glass (Victorville, Calif.).
The men's squad also loses a key runner in departed senior Juan Olea, but Hays reached the NCAA West Regionals as a sophomore in 2010. Hays was also the top CSUN men's finisher at the Big West Championships when he finished 42nd in a time of 25:44.4.
The Matador men have not finished higher than eighth in the Big West since 2006 when they placed seventh, while the women look to equal their best Big West finish (fifth) since 2002.
- GO MATADORS -