Cal Men Fourth at Stanford, Women 14th





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Numbers and rankings may be important in the long run, but right now the Cal men's and women's cross country aren't worrying about them too much.

The men's fourth place finish and women's 14th place finish last Saturday at the Stanford Invitational has little bearing on the teams' seasons.

The Bears are simply running to get ready for the Pac-10 Championships on Oct. 28.

Though the team is scheduled to compete on Saturday at the San Francisco Invitational, the next major race for the teams will be the Cal Poly Invitational on Oct. 14 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

"That's where we'll choose our top-7 (for each team) for Pac-10's," Cal coach Tony Sandoval said.

As of right now, sophomore Martin Conrad definitely appears to have an inside track to one of the seven slots.

Conrad's 10th place finish in 25 minutes 51 seconds made him the only Bear to break 26 minutes over the 8,000 meter course at the Stanford Golf Course this past weekend.

Jarrell Meier was next for Cal in 26:15 to finish 18th overall, followed closely by Chris Coffee (26th, 26:33).

Tyler Noesen (43rd, 27:01), Adam Shaffer (55th, 27:23), and Nick Martin (109th, 28:27) round out the order of finish for the Bears.

Stanford took the team title while Jamie Rodriguez of the University of Albany was first individually in 24:54.

Cal might have faired better as a team if one its top runners, Corey Creasey didn't have to drop out due to cramping.

"It was about what we expected," Meier said. "We could have finished as high as second with Corey."

Sandoval held out three of his top freshmen, Jonathan Balzer, Carlos Carballo, and Girmay Guangul, from competition to rest up and prepare for upcoming races.

The men's cause might be boosted if Bolota Asmerom joins the team in time for the Pac-10 meet.

Asmerom competed in the Olympics in the 1500-meters for Eritrea, but failed to make the finals after finishing 16th in his qualifying heat. No decision has been made on his status for the cross country season.

"I talked with him briefly last week," Sandoval said. "There's a chance he'll redshirt this season."

Sandoval said that Asmerom has a a redshirt year he hasn't used for cross country. So instead of running this fall, Asmerom could opt to get reacclimated with Cal academically and prepare for the track season.

Meanwhile, the largely inexperienced women's team was led again by Marielle Schlueter.

Schlueter covered the 5,000 meter distance in 19:44 to finish 24th.

Schlueter had been sick earlier in the week and hadn't planned to run.

"We have yet to make a jump as a team," Schlueter said. "All these workouts and training through the meets will help us in the end."

Camille Stanley (58th, 20:17), Erin Belger (65th, 20:28), and Kim Ramirez (115th, 21:26) were the next Bears.

Brigham Young claimed top team honors while Malindie Elmore of Stanford won the race in 18:29.

Belger is returning from injury while Ramirez competed despite having nursed a sprained ankle earlier in the week.

"Camille had a really good race," Sandoval said. "(But) Erin's not where she needs to be (physically)."

Tiffany Hansen (136th, 21:43, Martina Patella (146th, 21:56), Dawn Beahm (169th, 22:32) and Mina Nikanjam (176th, 22:44) finish out Cal's womens results.

"It wasn't a strong (team) showing, but a good experience nonetheless," Schlueter said.

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