San Diego, California - The San Diego State cross country team kicks off the 2014 campaign Saturday at Cal State Fullerton’s Mark Covert Classic Invitational in Brea, California.

 

The women’s 5K invitational will start at 9:15 a.m. PT and follows the men’s invitational 8K, which is set for 8:40 a.m. PT. Other races in this year’s meet include the men’s open 8K (8 a.m. PT) and the women’s open 5K (9:40 a.m. PT). The meet will once again be held at Carbon Canyon Park (4442 Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea, CA 92821).

 

Formerly the Fullerton Season Opener, it was renamed the Mark Covert Classic in 2012 in honor of the 1970 Division II champion and Cal State Fullerton alum. 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.

 

The Aztecs and host Titans will be joined by squads from Cal State Bakersfield, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, San Diego and USC, among others.

 

This year’s SDSU team features 12 runners, including its top-four finishers at the 2013 NCAA West Regionals.

 

Junior Chelsea Kruthers was the team’s top runner in each of the final five races and was second in another two meets, while junior Rachel Roesgen was the team’s top runner once and the No. 2 placer in five straight races to close the season.

 

Dynasty Gammage, meanwhile, debuted as the team’s No. 5 runner in the third meet of the season (Sept. 21 at the 69th annual Aztec Invitational) and was in the top four the rest of the way, including San Diego State’s No. 3 runner at the regional meet. Sophomore Elaine Ribeiro also returns to the Aztecs. Last year, Ribeiro was the third-fastest SDSU runner at the MW Championships and No. 4 at the NCAA West Regionals.

 

Grace Hanshaw, who made her San Diego State debut in last year’s outdoor track and field season, posted the team’s two fastest 5K times and two of the three top 10K marks from March-May.

 

Other returners on this year’s team include sophomore Cali King, junior Jessica McCall, junior Hannah Sawatzki and senior Melissa Wendorf.

 

Newcomers to the team are freshmen Dominique Regalado, Lily Seynaeve and Cassidy Towner.

 

All 12 Aztecs are entered into Saturday’s meet.

 

Last year, SDSU finished fifth out of eight teams, led by Laura Vazquez’ time of 19 minutes, 11.4 seconds.

Results for the Mark Covert Classic Invitational will be posted first on Flashwest.com and later on GoAztecs.com.