Women of Troy nab fourth-place finish behind Buckley

The USC women’s cross-country team competed in its final non-championship race of the season, finishing fourth at the 2011 Cal State Fullerton Titan Invitational. The 5K course wound around the Cal State Fullerton campus, resulting in a flat, fast race.

The team, consisting of only seven of USC’s runners, finished behind Cal State San Marcos, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara for a total time of 1:33:42.00, or an 18:44.40 average.

Junior Shelby Buckley led the team with a fifth-place finish and a time of 17:43.8, setting her collegiate 5K personal record.

“[Buckley] competed very well and her racing instincts seem to be coming back,” USC coach Tom Walsh said. “This will help her mentally and physically as we head to Tempe next week for the Pac-12 championships.”

The next USC runner to cross the finish line was junior Kelly Owen in 24th place with 18:32.3, only a few seconds off her personal record set at last year’s Titan Invitational. Owen was followed closely by freshman Austin Lundin with a time of 18:39.2, another personal best. Junior Jessica Lundin finished in 36th, followed by freshman Erin Matranga in 38th. Rounding out the USC team were sophomore Anna Burger, with a 20:03.3 time in 46th place and sophomore Francesca Adamski, placing 55th with 20:51.5.

“Kelly Owen and Austin Lundin both had excellent races,” Walsh said. “Owen passed five girls in the last 150 meters to finish up a strong race. Lundin really pushed the last mile of the race.”

Owen, typically seen as a middle-distance runner, has performed well in this season’s long-distance cross-country races. Her impressive results in 5K and 6K races this season have made her a valuable asset to the team. Freshman Austin Lundin also shattered her previous personal best of 19:25.0.

The Titan Invitational was the last for all runners except Buckley, who will compete next weekend at the Pac-12 championships in Tempe, Ariz. The seven girls entered in that race are Buckley, freshmen Erica Capellino, Kira Soderstrom, Erin Robinson and Shannon Byrne, sophomore Jaclyn Walles and redshirt freshman Katie DeYoung.

“Everything is on target for this team to run its best race of the season next week at the Pac-12 championships,” Walsh said.