USC travels north for Pac-10 championships

The USC women’s cross-country team knows that it’s in for a challenge at this weekend’s Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, but according to USC coach Tom Walsh, if there’s any team ready for a challenge, it’s his.

Front lines · Senior Zsofia Erdelyi and the Women of Troy will be pushed by tough competition this weekend at the Pac-10 championships. - Photo courtesy of USC Sports Information

“Our girls have trained the correct way,” Walsh said. “We’ve done the workouts right. We’re ready.”

The Women of Troy will need to be ready when they travel to Seattle, Wash., to take on some of the best teams in the country. Walsh knows the powerhouses like Oregon, Stanford and Washington that await his squad will be tough to beat, but he still has confidence that USC will impress anyone who counts it out.

“Yes, we’re battling for that middle of the pack,” Walsh said. “But this team has a reputation for coming on strong at the end of races. If everyone runs their best race, we’ll be fine.”

USC will use its seven best runners to try and make a significant dent in the Pac-10 placing. Senior Zsofia Erdelyi, who won the Cal State Northridge meet individual title earlier this month, will likely battle with some of the best runners on the West Coast for another first-place title in Seattle.

“Zsofia runs best when she’s at the front,” Walsh said. “I like her staying with the lead pack and then surging at the end. She should be right up there with the best.”

The rest of USC’s squad is made up of both youth and experience. Joining Erdelyi are seniors Christine Cortez, Dina Kitayama and Zara Lukens. Juniors Leah Gaeta and Jessica Lundin and sophomore Kelly Owen round out USC’s top seven. Walsh indicated that his seniors have to step up for the Women of Troy to exceed expectations.

“I’m looking for Christine Cortez and the other seniors to have another breakthrough,” Walsh said. “They’ve been doing it all year.”

Walsh also believes that the race, which will be run at what he called a “flat and fast” Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle, could teeter on who gets out to a strong start.

“We absolutely have to be aggressive,” Walsh said. “Everyone gets out so fast at Pac-10s. If you don’t get out fast, you’re in trouble.”

Before the gun even goes off, however, Walsh said USC already has a couple advantages.

“There’s rain in the forecast and we have several runners who hail from bad-weather areas,” Walsh said. “I feel like that will help.”

The other advantage, however, is much more important.

“We finally have momentum,” Walsh said. “It’s something we haven’t had the past few years. We’ve had a great year and I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up against the best.”

1 reply
  1. Milan Moravec
    Milan Moravec says:

    Deficits did NOT cause the disposal of UC Berkeley sports. UC Berkeley’s Leadership Crisis
    UC Berkeley’s recent elimination of popular sports programs highlighted endemic problems in the university’s management. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians in Sacramento, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.

    From time to time, a whistleblower would bring some glaring problem to light, but the chancellor’s response was to dig in and defend rather than listen and act. Since UC has been exempted from most whistleblower lawsuits, there are ultimately no negative consequences for maintaining inefficiencies.

    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC president, Board of Regents, and California legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donators, benefactors and await the transformation.
    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

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