Harriers coming off season-best performances at UC Riverside Invitational.
Oct. 3, 2005
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Bulldogs This Week
After competing at the UC Riverside Invitational the Fresno State cross country team will be idle this weekend for the second time this year. The Bulldogs opened the season with back-to-back meets, Sept. 3 and 10, before taking a week off to prepare for the 32nd Annual Stanford Invitational. After competing last Saturday, the 'Dogs will not be back in action until Oct. 15 when they participate at the Cal Poly Invitational. After that meet, Fresno State will then have two weeks off in preparation for the 2005 Western Athletic Conference Championship, which will be hosted by Boise State on Oct. 29 at Eagle Island State Park in Boise, Idaho.
Buckner Takes Lead
After finishing as the Bulldogs top runner in all seven races a year ago, Buckner continues her leadership form by finishing first for Fresno State in its first four invitations of the season. At the UC Riverside Invitational, she finished 10th out of 92 runners and posted a career-best time of 18:11.2. That mark also was good to rank 18th overall in the school's all-time 5K list. At the 32nd Annual Stanford Invitational, she finished 46th out of 227 runners in the 6K meet after clocking 23:01. At the CS Stanislaus Invitational Buckner captured her first career invitational win when she ran a 6K time of 22:30, just seven seconds off her career-best mark set at the 2004 NCAA Regional. She became the first Bulldog to win an invitational since Kara June captured a pair of titles in 2003. At the CS Fullerton Invitational, Buckner finished 19th (19:36.7) overall in a field of 253 runners in the 5K race. The two-time NCAA Regional qualifier owns career-best times of 18:11.2 (5K) and 22:03 (6K) with one blue ribbon and one second-place finish.
Rookie Sellick and Veteran Evans Form Top Scoring Trio
In addition to Buckner, freshman Roxanne Sellick (Fresno, Calif.) and Evans continue to give Fresno State a formidable scoring trio. Sellick has finished second to Buckner in two races this fall while Evans has been second twice as well. Each have finished as one of the 'Dogs top three runners in all three meets. In the 2-mile Watermelon Run to open the season, Sellick captured the meet crown with a time of 11:25 - five seconds off the school's freshman record set by Mary Kuphaldt in 1986. Sellick's time currently ranks 15th best all-time on the Bulldogs' 2-mile list. At the CS Stanislaus Invitational she set the school's 11th-best all-time 6K mark (23:31). Also at the CS Stanislaus invite, Evans, who did not run cross country in high school, set a career-best 6K time of 23:30 - a mark that ranks No. 10 all-time at Fresno State. This season, both Sellick and Evans have set personal-best 5K marks as they clocked 19:46.1 and 18:32.6, respectively, at the UC Riverside Invitational.
Delgado, Santana and Torres Complementing
While the top three Bulldog scoring harriers seem solidified after the first half of the season, three others who are complementing the team are sophomores Marina Santana (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Patty Torres (Porterville, Calif.) and junior Valeria Delgado (Clovis, Calif.). In her fourth race of the season this fall, Santana posted a personal 5K best time of 20:06.4 and is close to breaking the 20-minute barrier for the first time since she ran a 19:35 at the 2004 Fresno State Invitational. Torres, who did not run last week, has finished among the top five runners for the Bulldogs in first three official meets of the season. After competing in only two races last year, Delgado ran a season-best 5K mark of 20:09.3 at the UCR Invitational last week. She is also looking to break the 20-minute barrier as she owns a personal-best 5K time of 20:04 at the 2004 Cal Poly Invitational.
Head Coach Joe Gonzales
In his first season as the head coach of the Fresno State women's cross country program, Joe Gonzales has been a longtime assistant with the Fresno State track program. Entering his sixth year as an assistant coach in charge of the distance runners, he also previously coached the Fresno State men's cross country program (2000-02). During his tenure as the men's cross country coach, Gonzales led the team to three top five finishes in the WAC, finishing fifth in 2001 and '02 along with a third place finish in 2000. Four runners also received All-WAC honors during that time. Prior to entering his coaching career at Fresno State, Gonzales served as a coach at Exeter Union High School. He began his coaching career at Exeter, where he started as a volunteer assistant for the cross country team in 1990. In 1995, he became the head cross country coach for both the boys and girls programs. Gonzales then served as the head track & field coach at Exeter from 1998-2000. In his 10 years at Exeter, he led the girls' cross country team to five league championships and a section title and the girls' track and field team to two league crowns. He guided the boys' cross country team to a pair of league titles. Gonzales graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor of Science degree in liberal studies (2001).
UC Riverside Invitational in Review
While one Bulldog muscled through a stomach strain and another ran sick, the Fresno State cross country team had terrific individual performances at the UC Riverside Invitational. Placing eighth out of 14 teams, five Bulldogs posted personal-best 5K times while two others had season-best marks at the UCR Agricultural Operations Course. Buckner finished 10th among the 92 runners in the meet. With a personal-best mark of 18.11.2, she posted the program's 18th-best all-time 5K mark. In addition, Evans also clocked a career-best time of 18:32.6 to finish 16th overall. Last year, both Buckner and Evans had set personal-best marks at Riverside. Buckner ran a then career-best mark of 18:18 while Evans had a then personal-best of 18:59. The next two Bulldogs to cross the finish line were Sellick and Santana. Sellick, who ran sick, finished 59th overall but still had a personal-best 5K time of 19:46.1. Santana, who sat out last week's meet at Stanford with a stomach strain, clocked a season-best mark of 20:06.4 to finish 66th overall. Delgado, who just missed out on tying her all-time best, ran a season-best 20:09.3 to place 68th. Freshman Paloma Dominguez (Corcoran, Calif.) ran 20:33.9 (74th) and senior Sunny Arada (Clovis, Calif.) ran 21:49.2 (91st) also clocked personal bests. CS Fullerton won the meet with 96 points as Fresno State tallied 219 points among the 14-team field.
With Buckner finishing 10th overall among the 92-runner field at the UCR Invitational last week, she posted her second top 10 finish of the season and fourth of her career en route to a career-best time of 18:11.2 - a mark that ranks No. 18 on the school's all-time 5K list. Last year at Riverside she posted a then personal-best 5K mark of 18:18 for an 11th place finish. As the team's top runner for the fourth consecutive meet of the year, Buckner has been the Bulldogs' top harrier in all 11 meets dating back to last year. In 5K races, she has ran below the 19:45 mark for the ninth straight meet and below 18:30 for the third time in the last five races. She is looking to be the first Bulldog to crack the 18-minute barrier since Kara June in 2003.