Cross country opens season with strong performances in Fresno

The UCLA men’s cross country team qualified for NCAA Championships last season and the women advanced as far as regionals in director Avery Anderson’s first year at the helm. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

The Bruins kicked off the season with podium finishes.

UCLA cross country competed in the Fresno State Invitational on Saturday morning hosted at Woodward Park in Fresno, California. The men secured first place and the women’s squad finished in second.

The Bruins sent six runners from both the women’s and men’s teams to the invitational. The men competed on a 4-mile course whereas the women ran a 5K run. Other participants invited to the races hailed from Sacramento State, UNLV, Fresno State, Fresno Pacific and CSU Bakersfield.

Both teams featured three new faces making their debuts. Freshman Munir Kabbara finished second with a time of 20:34.70, behind redshirt sophomore Chris Morzenti. Morzenti recorded the best result of his career with his first-place finish, with a time of 20:31.90.

The UCLA men’s team had five of their six competitors finish in the top seven and the women had redshirt sophomore Lilly Schmidt finish in third with a time of 18:28.30 whereas the rest of the women’s team finished in ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 17th.

The Bruin women’s team were ranked No. 15 in the West Region in preseason rankings. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranked the men’s team as the No. 20 team in the nation prior to the season starting. Last season the UCLA men advanced to the NCAA Championships, where they finished 21st.

The Bruins will next compete Sept. 29th where they will travel north to compete in the Stanford Invitational and The Master’s University XC Invite.


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