Pepperdine women’s cross country wins Waves Invitational

The Pepperdine women's cross country team starts the race along with it competitors Oct. 1 at the Waves Invitational. The Waves would win the team event for the first time. Photo by Jeff Golden.

The Pepperdine Waves women’s cross country team finished atop the Waves Invitational on Oct. 1.

The victory marks the first time ever Pepperdine has won the event. 

Waves head coach Lauren Floris said the team’s triumphant performance was awesome.

“It was not easy,” she said. “It was really close throughout the race. When we clocked in the second split, we were only ahead by two points and they just continued to expand their lead from there. It’s a really great feeling for our ladies to come out on top.” 

Pepperdine outlasted five other opponents to win the Invitational, held at Pepperdine’s Alumni Park. Additionally, the Waves boys team posted a second-place finish in their race. 

The men’s team, Floris said, had a great showing despite missing one of their top runners, Jonathan Flint, who is injured. 

For the women, sophomore Megan LaCamera, the West Coast Conference women’s runner of the week late last month, led the girls team in the 6K race with a time of 23:20.8. That earned her a third-place finish. Sophomore Eden Mittelsdorf placed seventh with a time of 23:50.3 in the 58-person race. Seven other Pepperdine women finished in the top 20, including senior Olivia Miller in 10th place in 24:11.8 and freshman Abby Winter in 13th place in 24.22.5. Skylar Davis, a junior, finished 14th in 24:24.2. 

The Pepperdine women’s score of 47 was nine points lower then second-place finisher CSU Monterey Bay. 

Redlands and Cal State Northridge both finished with 74 points and Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield finished with 142 points. 

LaCamera said the Waves work well together. 

“It is an honor being the first one to finish for the Waves,” she said. “I’m so proud of all of us. We all really lead in different ways on our team. It’s exciting to have a great group of girls to run with.” 

CSUMB junior Lisa Irvine was the race’s top individual finisher with a time of 22:58.0.

Pepperdine graduate student Will Bullock, a runner of four years at Eastern Illinois University, led the Waves men’s team in the 8K run. He finished fourth with a time of 27:08.0. His teammate, sophomore Elias Spence, finished fifth in 27:10.0. In 11th place was freshman Joshua Bergers with a time of 27:37.2. Freshman Patrick Thomas’ 28:08.7 time placed him 23rd and freshman Spencer Mueller’s 28:54.4 time placed him 39th. 

Floris said Bullock stepped up to take the lead runner role in Flint’s absence. 

“It’s been great to have him transfer in for his grad program,” she said. “Overall, the guys really tackled a tough course and ran a great race to come in second place as a team.”

Bullock said running in front of a home crowd felt great.

“It was a good atmosphere,” he said. “I loved being in front of the race, and it made the hills a lot easier with everyone here.”

CSUN’s score of 36 won the race, while the Waves finished second with 71 points. Cal Poly placed third with 81 points, and Redlands finished fourth with 96 points. CSUMB had a score of 106. Loyola Marymount had a score of 107. 

Loyola Marymount junior Cooper McCarthy’s 26:57.9 made him the top finisher. 

The Waves men’s runners opened the season with a fourth-place finish at the Mark Covert Classic in Brea on Sept. 3. The women’s team finished eighth in the event. The women placed 30th in the UC Riverside Invitational in Riverside on Sept. 17. The men’s team did not score in the race. 

The two teams will run in the Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale on Oct. 15. The WCC Championships are in Portland, Oregon, on Oct. 28.