LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Toreros kicked off their track season Friday evening at the annual Oxy Distance Carnival. USD had 16 runners competing in the 5k and 11 went on to post personal best times, led by Sarah Kapple who won her heat with a time of 17:28.62
"We grew today as a team," Head Coach Will Guarino said. "The challenge for our group was to improve, but also to chase top spots in each heat. The results don't tell the entire story, but many athletes today competed and pulled the race by attacking lead race positions from the start."
Kapple set the tone in the second heat for the Toreros with a personal best time and a first place finish. Her senior classmate Lindsay Benster finished shortly after her, clocking in at 17:41.57, good for a personal best and seventh place finish. Freshman Cassidy Kuhn also set a PR with a time of 18:18.58 in her first collegiate track event.
"Sarah Kapple ran an amazing race," Guarino explained. "She worked so well with Lindsay Benster to pull to a victory for us. They both were also rewarded with personal bests. Cassidy Kuhn got her racing feet wet today, and she will prosper in the future races."
Hope McLaughlin led the Toreros in the third heat, finishing fifth with a personal best time of 18:29.60. USD would have five of its six runners in this heat turn in personal best times.
"Freshmen Hope McLaughlin ran an incredible race, working so well with Ashley Mitchell (18:35.28) and Zani Moore (18:35.83)," Guarino explained. "I loved their kicks and the way that they raced collectively. They helped pull Mary Tenuta (18:46.54) and Ally Roessling (18:48.76) to personal bests."
In the fourth heat, Shannan Conlon got off to a great start led the race for the first 1,500 meters on her way to a time of 19:22.79, the top Torero time of that heat. Olivia Gonzalez was the first Torero to finish the final heat, clocking in at 20:03.85, a personal best.
"Shannan Conlon showed tremendous determination today," Guarino said. "She led for the first 1/3 of her race. She wanted it, and showed some grit today. The same could be said for Olivia Gonzalez whom also raced with the drive to win. Her aggressive nature caught up to her, but she regrouped and helped her sophomore teammate Erika Brodow to a new personal best."
Loved racing for only in the racing environment can we help athletes learn those tactics to be successful. Many athletes have not been racing on the track for about 10 months. The constant variable that we must correct is the balance of going out to fast or being way too conservative. Finding that sweet spot is one of the pillars of racing. We have a long season, and are thrilled to be taking the first strides of the racing season.
The Torero men ran unattached and had some impressive results, led by Liam Burke's school record time in the 10k (31:27.35). "I was so proud of him, for they combined the Men's and Women's races, so he had to run much of his race on the 2nd lane," Guarino explained. "This tells us simply that his time could have been under 31:00 minutes today. Great performance that he will remember and am sure that he wants to beat in his future 10km races."
Coach Guarino on the Torero men
"Section two of the men's race was an incredible race to watch. Max Pedrotti ran a 14:51 and up untiltwo2 laps to go, he was leading the race. He is ahead of where he was last year, and wasn't far from his personal best."
"Section five also brought us a great race. TJ "The Prez" Hodges shared the passion of his brothers and sisters and led segments of his race as well. He was a racer on a mission. He helped his co-Captain whom had a nice fall in the false start of his race. He shook it off and still raced very well for this stage of the season."
"The development of Patrick Bruce and Mitch Manis was seen in Section five of the 5km heats. Patrick Bruce ran a conservative race, and pushed through with 800m to go. He will be someone that we will lean on a lot in the future so it was great to see him open up in the 15's. Mitch Manis really has not been able to see racing on the track for three years. It has been good to see him overcome his injuries. I love his determination and appreciation that he is showing by being able to race. It wasn't that long ago that he was given a low probability to be able to race."
The Toreros next race is Friday March 24 at the Aztec Distance Carnival, hosted by San Diego State.
Section 3 5. Hope McClaughlin 18:29.60 (Personal Best)
8. Ashley Mitchell 18:35.28
9. Zani Moore 18:35.83 (Personal Best)
16. Mary Tenuta 18:46.54 (Personal Best)
17. Ally Roessling 18:48.76 (Personal Best)
32. Erin Duncan 20:07.37 (Personal Best)
5km Men 2. Max Pedrotti 14:51.10
Section 4 5. TJ Hodges 15:31.67
13. Matt Smith 15:44.04
Section 5 11. Patrick Bruce 15:56.30 (Personal Best)
17. Mitch Manis 16:04.09 (Personal Best)
36. Eli Rosen-Duran 16:46.46
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