FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's and women's cross country squads begin the 2013 season on Saturday, Aug. 31, as they host the Mark Covert Classic. The men's 8k course and the women's 5k course will be held at Carbon Canyon Park in Brea, Calif. The men's invite race will start at 8:40 a.m. followed by the women's invite race at 9:15 a.m.
The men's open will begin at 8 a.m. and the women's open will start at 9:40 a.m. Other collegiate teams, such as junior colleges, will be added to the invite races at the discretion of meet management, while most will be included in the open races. All clubs and unattached athletes will be placed in the open races.
MARK COVERT CLASSIC: The Mark Covert Classic, also formerly known as the Fullerton Season Opener for many years, will be featured at 4442 Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, Calif. The 2012 race was the first year the meet was renamed in honor of 1970 Division II champion and Cal State Fullerton alum Mark Covert.
THE COURSE: The course consists of multiple loops alternating between a 1k grass inner loop in the main section of the park and a dirt trail nature loop. Spiked racing shoes or flats can be used on this course. The map course is attached in a PDF format above.
THE FIELD: Competing alongside the Titans will be squads from Long Beach State, University of San Diego, Pepperdine, USC, Loyola Marymount, Cal State Bakersfield, Pomona-Pitzer, and more.
RESULTS: Results will be available on Flashwest.com. Complete results will also be posted on Fullertontitans.com at the end of the meet.
LAST YEARS MEET: In the first year under the newly named meet, the Titan men and women both saw their highest team finish of the season. The Fullerton men finished fifth, while the women placed third. Marco Zaragoza had the highest finish for a Titan male finishing 16th with a time of 26:18. Sophomore Emily Taylor led the way for the lady titans finishing fifth overall with a time of 18:18. Loyola Marymount took home both the men and women team titles last season. Sheree Shea, LMU, and Heath Reedy, unattached, had the best individual times of 17:54 and 24:18, respectively.
HISTORY OF COVERT CLASSIC: Cal State Fullerton's annual Labor Day weekend season-opening cross country meet is now in its 29th year of competition. The course has been changed numerous times over 29 years, and alumni Mike Tansley holds the best time for a Titan male at the invitational with a time of 24:26 in 1993. Todd Williams, Tennessee '89, holds the overall best Mark Covert Classic time for a male of 24:09. The Fullerton men have won the Covert Classic four times, most recently in 2008. On the women's side the course has changed from a 6k to 5k race. Grace Gonzales (22:47, 2011) holds the best 6k time and Heather Killeen (17:33, 1994) holds the best 5k time. Jacky Kipwambok, Azusa Pacific '09, has the 6k meet record with a time of 21:24.2 and Amy Skieresz, Arizona '96, holds the 5k meet high with a time of 16:57. The Titans have won the women's team title five times with the last time coming in 2007.
A LOOK AT THE 2013 TITANS: The men return five of the seven runners who competed at the conference championships, while the women return three. However, last season's top female runner Emily Taylor missed the conference championships due to an injury. The Titan men return 15 players from last season and add 13 newcomers. On the women's side, nine total runners return and ten freshmen join the 2013 roster.
A LOOK BACK AT 2012: Last season the Titan men's and women's cross country teams both finished seventh at the Big West Championships. Katie Bathgate and Casey Candelaria were named to the fall Big West Conference All-Academic Team.
LONGEST-TENURED COACH: As the 2013 season gets underway, cross country and track and field head coach John Elders enters his 26th season at the helm of each program making him the longest tenured head coach in the history of Cal State Fullerton.
Elders was tied with former fencing head coach Heizaburo Okawa (1982-2006) and former men's soccer coach Al Mistri (1981-2005) for 25 years of service at Fullerton. The Orange County native coaches cross country, women's indoor track and field, and men's and women's outdoor track and field and is one of three current Titan head coaches who have graduated from Cal State Fullerton joining men's soccer head coach Bob Ammann and women's soccer head coach Demian Brown.
UP NEXT: The Titans return to the course in two weekends when they make a trip to Fresno, Calif., for the Fresno Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14. The meet will be held at historic Woodward Park and has played host to 14 NCAA Regional Cross Country Championships. The park has become one of the most well traveled cross country courses in the state and it also hosts high school and junior college championship meets.
For more information on the Mark Covert Classic contact head coach John Elders at (657) 278-3490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.