UCLA cross country will compete in its third meet of the year Saturday, in Santa Clarita, California.
Assistant coaches Devin Elizondo and Jennifer DeRego both plan on using the TMU cross country invitational as a place to let some fresh athletes stretch their legs.
“We’re going to take a group that did not race this weekend,” Elizondo said. “A lot has happened in three weeks. … That group is kind of chomping at the bit to go.”
Redshirt freshmen Andy Ehrenberg and Riley Kelly and juniors Scott Snow and Cole Smith are among those who did not get the chance to compete in last weekend’s Roy Griak Invitational.
While some of the athletes who will be running Saturday have seen action earlier this year, redshirt sophomore Millen Trujillo and Snow will be making their 2017 debuts.
“For guys that didn’t run at Minnesota, it is an opportunity to kind of showcase some training,” Elizondo said. “For the team and for the program, it’ll be a really good test.”
The group Elizondo is taking will bring plenty of experience. Both Trujillo and Smith competed in cross country championship meets during the 2016 season.
Elizondo said Saturday’s meet will be a chance for these athletes to show him that they are as prepared as the team of 10 he took to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota.
DeRego will be employing the same strategy when it comes to the athletes that she sends to this weekend’s meet.
“The plan was for me to run the women that did not race at Griak,” DeRego said. “Just to give them a racing stimulus and see how they do because they’re also training very well.”
Representing the women for the first time in 2017 will be redshirt freshmen Lucie Semone and Tailor Beaudoin and sophomore Beckie Alch.
DeRego echoed Elizondo and said the 10 girls she’s taking are all eager to get a race under their belts and they are all just as ready as the women who raced last weekend.
“It’s going to be fun to see some of them and what they can do this weekend,” DeRego said. “They’re all really hungry to get in a race because they didn’t run at Griak.”