Pepperdine runners post personal bests in race

Freshman Lauren Lodge (left) placed 16th and senior Chelsea Wishard placed 15th at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational on Saturday. The two runners actually finished with the exact time, a personal best for both athletes. Photos by Jeff Golden

A series of personal bests recorded on the course at Baylands Park highlighted Pepperdine cross country’s Saturday morning at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational.

Senior Chelsea Wishard and freshman Lauren Lodge were the Waves’ top competitors on the women’s side as each finished their 5-kilometer race in 17 minutes, 54 seconds. Team captain and sophomore Conrad Wozniak led the Pepperdine men with an 8-kilometer time of 25:29, while grad student Cole Feldman was the Waves’ No. 2 at 25:35.

Despite the equal times posted by Wishard and Lodge, the senior was noted as finishing a place higher in the official results, 15th to 16th. Wishard has been Pepperdine’s top finisher in all six races this season.

Today’s race was Wozniak’s second of the season. He was Pepperdine’s fourth-fastest runner in his one prior competition last month at Hawaii, and is the fourth different Wave in 2008 to lead Pepperdine to the finish line, joining Feldman, sophomore Seth Allison and freshman Jimmy Kelley. “Most of our student-athletes hit PRs today, and that was our whole purpose coming here to run on a flat and fast surface,” Pepperdine head coach Robert Radnoti said. “Everything worked out well and we should be able to run faster at Crystal Springs in two weeks.”

In the team scoring columns, the Pepperdine women were eighth with 162 points and the men took ninth with 218 points. However, Radnoti noted that both squads are continuing to close the gap with their conference rivals at Santa Clara.

The Waves’ top three on the women’s side: Wishard, Lodge and freshman Elizabeth Coe, totaled 57 points, while the top three Broncos scored 54 points.

Long Beach State of the Big West Conference claimed both team titles and women’s individual winner Sarah Apgar, who clocked a 17:14. Fresno State’s Erick Garcia won the men’s race in 24:37.

Radnoti essentially has his women’s lineup figured out for the West Coast Conference Championships on Nov. 1, but said it’s still close on the men’s side. He won’t reveal the championship rosters until month’s end and/or figure out how he and the coaching staff want to treat next Friday’s invitational at Cal State Fullerton, which could serve as the men’s team’s final WCC qualifying opportunity.

Races at the Titan Invitational begin at 4:30 p.m.

-Pepperdine Sports Information