Matadors Gear Up For Big West Cross Country Championships

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge men's and women's cross country teams look to cap an impressive 2012 season with a solid performance at the Big West Championships Saturday at UC Riverside's Ag/Ops Course.

The women's 6,000 meter run begins at 8:45 a.m. followed by the men's 8k at 9:30 a.m.

For the first time, the Big West Conference will provide free, live streaming video of the conference championships. From the beginning of the races to through the finish lines and on to the awards platform, the live stream will provide new access to the championship for fans. The broadcast will be available here:

Big West Cross Country Championships 

The Matador women, who have finished as high as fifth at the conference meet (2001, 2002), look to better last season's eighth-place finish. CSUN posted 230 points at the 2011 championship and were led by Ana Rosales who finished in 38th-place. Among the Matador returners this season, Yvonne Castillo-Urbina had the top time from last season's championship (22:29.8) but Araceli Zainos has been the top Matador finisher at all five meets this season.

Zainos finished second at the UNLV Desert Invitational (Sept. 29) and also finished in the top-10 at the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State (Sept. 15), the UCSD Triton Invitational (Oct. 6) and the Northridge Invitational (Oct. 13).

Other Matadors who also have Big West Championship experience from 2011 include Fany Alvarado, Vanessa Carr, LeGia Pendergraph and Kendahl Waalk.

"The women have had a really good season so far," said head coach Avery Anderson "At the Big West Championships on Saturday, we're looking forward to seeing how much better we can run as a team."

The last time a CSUN women's runner finished among the top-10 at the Big West Championship was 2010 when Liilyana Morejon finished sixth in a time of 20:41.5. Morejon and Liz Camy share the honor of having the best finish for a Matador woman at the conference championship as Morejon was third in 2009 and Camy took third in 2005.

3rd - Lilyana Morejon, 2009 (20:36.3)
3rd - Liz Camy, 2005 (21:15.7)
6th - Lilyana Morejon, 2010 (20:41.5)
6th - Angela Talarico, 2001 (18:32.4)
7th - Angela Talarico, 2002 (18:17.9)
9th - Jeanene Gerry, 2001 (18:48.0)
10th - Andrea Palacio, 2003 (23:21.9)

Beginning in 2003, the championship was competed on a 6k course.

The Matador men also face the challenge of competing in a solid cross country conference. Cal Poly has had a stranglehold on the Big West winning 11 of the last 14 team titles with only UC Davis breaking the string of seven straight Mustang wins with a championship in 2010.

Hunter Hays, who has had an impressive season for the Matadors, looks to become the first CSUN male runner to crack the top-10 since Cal State Northridge joined the conference in 2001. Hays, who was the Matadors' second finisher in 2011, has three top-10 finishes this season including wins at the UNLV Desert Invitational and the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State.

Other Matador men who have competed in the Big West Championships include: Ezekial GlassJulio Mora and Steven Gonzales.

"We're looking forward to improving our position on the men's side," said Anderson. "We've had a good fall, guys have PR'd going into the meet and our goal is to try to run ourselves into a position to qualify for regionals."


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