Tritons enjoys presence of recruits

    After taking 15th place at the NCAA Division II Championships last year, UCSD came into its 2002 season with high hopes. With a strong core of runners returning to the team, head coach Ted Van Arsdale is excited to have talented young athletes join the Triton men’s and women’s cross country teams.

    Van Arsdale said that UCSD received a solid recruiting class that has strengthened the Tritons.

    “”They are far more competitive than any other athletes we have had in a long time,”” Van Arsdale said.

    Each of the two squads is made up of 20 runners. To keep his athletes fresh, Van Arsdale then has 10 runners from each team run in a meet one week, while the remaining 10 athletes participate in the following week’s event.

    Leading the men’s cross country team are seniors David Dunbar and Steve Martin. Dunbar took third place in the season-opening event at Point Loma Nazarene University, and he then led the Tritons and finished 13th with a time of 26:33 at the Fresno State Invitational on Sept. 14.

    Van Arsdale is pleased with the leadership that Martin brings to the Tritons.

    “”He does a terrific job of pulling all of the runners on this team together,”” Van Arsdale said.

    On the women’s side, senior Audrey Sung stands out and sets the pace for the Tritons. A two-time All-American in track and field, Sung was named Conference Athlete of the Week after she finished in second place overall with a time of 18:09 at the Fresno State Invitational.

    Aside from Sung, freshman Kara Gross has shown that she is a strong young athlete. She led the Tritons at the UC Irvine Invitational on Sept. 7 and at the UC Riverside Invitational on piSept. 21. At Riverside, she took ninth place with a time of 19:50, which is the 13th best mark ever for a Triton female athlete.

    “”Kara is an extremely talented freshman,”” Van Arsdale said.

    In its four meets so far this season, the men’s squad won its race at Point Loma, finished seventh out of 11 teams at the UC Irvine Invitational, took fourth out of eight teams at Fresno, and finished 20th out of 26 teams at Riverside.

    The women’s cross country team also won its race at Point Loma, and the Tritons then took eighth place out of 12 teams in Irvine. In the last two weeks, UCSD took third out of 14 teams in Fresno and finished sixth out of 14 in Riverside.

    With three meets remaining until the Conference Championships in Bakersfield on Oct. 26, Van Arsdale would like to see the Tritons work on “”team dynamics.””

    “”This is an extremely competitive group, and I want to see them working on racing against and attacking their opponents together,”” said Arsdale said.

    As well as keeping its competitive edge, Van Arsdale wants UCSD to work on minimizing its pack time and keep the time difference from the first runner and the seventh runner under one minute.

    With the young athletes and focused mindset of both the men’s and women’s cross country teams, the Tritons’ hopes could result in a memorable season.

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