Time Changes Announced for Saturday's Aztec Invite
Sept. 19, 2013
SAN DIEGO -
Time changes have been announced for the 69th annual Aztec Cross Country Invitational, which will take place Saturday (Sept. 21) at historic Balboa Park in San Diego. This year's invitational will now include three races instead of five because of teams canceling at the last minute.
The Dirt Dog Community Race, a 5K USATF sanctioned event, will still kick things off at 7:30 a.m. PT. The Women's Open 5K and Invitational 5K will now combine into one race, the Women's University/College/Open 5K, which will take place at 9 a.m. PT. The Men's Invitational 8K and Open 8K will also run a combined 8K race at 9:45 a.m. PT.
Almost 100 athletes are scheduled to run in the Women's University/College/Open 5K and nearly 40 in the Men's University/College/Open 8K. Joining San Diego State in the women's 5K are No. 10 Arkansas and USC, Division II teams Holy Names and Point Loma, Biola, which is ranked No. 5 in the latest NAIA national poll, and Imperial Valley, Palomar and San Diego City from the junior college ranks. Scheduled to compete in the men's 8K include Holy Names, Biola, Cuyamaca, Imperial Valley and Palomar.
The Aztec Invitational is one of the oldest continuous collegiate cross country meets in the United States. The first meet, which only included men's teams, was held on the SDSU campus in 1944. As the campus grew, San Diego State's home cross country course was moved to Balboa Park. The current 5K layout for women at Balboa Park was first run in 1977. In 2001, the meet was cancelled because of the 9/11 tragedy, so the 58th running was held in 2002. In past years, up to 75 universities, colleges and club teams have participated in a single meet. Elite distance women like Monica Joyce (SDSU, 1982; 1984 Los Angeles Olympics), Lynn Kanuka (SDSU, 1982; 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, 1984 Seoul Olympics), Joan Hanson (Arizona, 1981; 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) and Shannon Rowbury (Duke, 2005; 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics) all have run in the Aztec Invitational.
The opening mile of the women's 5K course crosses grass, pavement and dirt trails and is relatively flat, except for one 40-meter uphill about 800 meters from the start. The second mile offers challenging, rolling terrain, beginning with a sharp downgrade called "Powder Hill" and ending with a brutal 100-meter incline known as the "Concrete Switchback." The last mile and a fraction is completely flat along a seemingly never-ending row of tall palm trees.
The first 1 ¾ miles of the men's 8K course starts by essentially running the women's course in reverse. It's flat and fast, then down the "Concrete Switchback," up "Powder Hill," then cut over to the start of the women's course. The men then follow the women's course for the final five kilometers.
Both courses are very challenging. With a little mobility, spectators can view much of the race. Sylvia Mosqueda owns the women's 5K course record in 16 minutes, 44 seconds, set in 1988 while running professionally for Reebok, while Hansen's 16:47.1 in 1981 was the fastest women's collegiate time. Aron Rono, meanwhile, ran the fastest men's 8K of 24:16 in 2008 while competing for Azusa Pacific. Sergio Gonzalez holds the fastest community 5K time of 15:30 in 2008. Joyce has the Aztecs' fastest 5K time of 16:56 (1981). Current sophomore Laura Vazquez ran the 20th-fastest time by an SDSU competitor last year in 18:53.7.
The Aztecs are coming off a victory at the adidas/UCI Invitational on Sept. 7. SDSU finished with 41 points, easily outdistancing runner-up The Master's (77). Cal Lutheran (84), host UC Irvine (95) and Cal State San Bernardino (155) rounded out the top five. San Diego State beat 12 other teams in all for its third cross country title in nine races (since 2012).
Vazquez led the way once again for the Aztecs, taking third out of 134 finishers. She completed the 5K course in a personal-best time of 18:24.5. Kruthers (fifth, 18:33.9), Roesgen (eighth, 18:43.4) and Cygan (ninth, 18:46.1) all finished in the top nine for SDSU, while Smith (17th, 19:14.1), Ribeiro (20th, 19:21.2), Wendorf (38th, 19:55.3) and King (81st, 21:00.6) also competed in the meet. San Diego State finished with seven personal-best times on the day.
Results for all three races will be posted on GoAztecs.com when they become available.
Following the Aztec Invitational, the Aztecs head to Sacramento, Calif., on Oct. 4 for the NCAA Inter-Regional Jamboree.
69th Annual Aztec Invitational REVISED Schedule