Cal Poly Pomona may be the favorite when the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. five-mile cross-country championships start at 10 a.m. Saturday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
The Broncos, ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division II, are expected to receive their strongest challenge from San Luis Obispo. Pomona defeated SLO in a dual meet, 27-28, three weeks ago and Coach Jim Sackett expects a close race Saturday.
"It should boil down to a two-team meet with us and SLO," Sackett said. "We have to split SLO's top runners, Mike Livingston and Chris Craig, and have our Eddie Toro in front of them to win."
Toro, a Division II All-American last year, will challenge for the individual title, but the Broncos may race without another top runner, Abel Mota, who has had pneumonia.
"We're going with the idea of winning the race," Sackett said. "We're gearing some of our training to go that way, but we are still concentrating on the NCAA regional meet" Nov. 8 at UC Riverside.
For the Cal Poly Pomona women's cross-country team, the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. 5-K championship meet at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is merely a tuneup for next week.
That is when the Broncos will compete in the NCAA Division II West Regionals, the qualifying meet for national competition.
Pomona Coach John Turek will not use his top runner, Joann Howard, or No. 4 runner, Karen Farley, in this week's meet. "It's necessary for us to rest Joann and Karen in order to have them peak at regionals," Turek said.
Howard, who holds the school record in the 5-K, finished second in 17:26.1 and Farley was 20th in 18:25.6 at the 5-K Bronco Invitational last week at San Dimas.
With Howard and Farley not running, 12th-ranked (Division II) Pomona will be led by Sherrie Roach and Trisha Molina at the conference meet. San Luis Obispo, ranked No. 1 in Division II, is the heavy favorite.
When the Azusa Pacific University football team visits San Francisco State at 1 p.m. Saturday, the spotlight will be on running back Christian Okoye.
The 6-3, 250-pound senior, Azusa Pacific's star running back for three seasons, needs only 11 yards to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second year in a row.
Okoye, considered a strong pro prospect, has rushed for 989 yards and 13 touchdowns in 133 carries this season and holds the school career rushing record of 2,878 yards. He had his best game ever last week, rushing for a school-record 243 yards in 24 carries to lead the Cougars to a 35-0 triumph over Redlands.
Okoye may need a similar performance for his undefeated team (4-0-2) to beat San Francisco State. The Gators have an 0-7 record but have played a tougher schedule than Azusa Pacific.
Three of San Francisco's losses were to Wichita State, an NCAA Division I team, UC Davis and Cal State Northridge, both ranked in the NCAA Division II top 20. The Cougars tied San Francisco State, 38-38, last year.
Azusa Pacific, ranked No. 12 in NAIA Division II, has not played an NCAA Division II team. The Cougars will face another Division II team, Cal Lutheran, in their final game Nov. 15.
In other games matching four-year colleges Saturday, La Verne (4-2) plays host to Whittier (3-4) and Pomona-Pitzer (2-4) visits Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5-1) at 1:30 p.m. and Occidental (3-2-1) is at home against Redlands (0-7) at 7:30.
After tying 15th-ranked San Diego State (1-1) last week, the Cal State Los Angeles men's soccer team will face another top-ranked club when it meets No. 5 Duke in the opening game of the second annual Metropolitan Life Pacific Classic at noon Saturday at UCLA.
The Golden Eagles, 4-7-2 overall, will face New Mexico in their other game of the four-team tournament at noon Sunday.
"We should, on paper at least, be underdogs," Coach Berhane Andeberhan said. "We're playing well but we don't have the horses to be as dominant as we have been in the last five years. We're playing a good game. The spirit is good and the effort is good."
Cal State L.A. used a goal by sophomore forward Mario Amador to tie San Diego State. The Golden Eagles received a strong performance from goaltender David Jacques, who tied his school record with 11 saves.
The tie was Cal State's best performance against a top-ranked team this season. The Eagles had lost to Long Island University and the University of San Francisco, both ranked in the NCAA top 10.
After this week, the last ranked team on Cal State's schedule is No. 4 UCLA, the defending NCAA Division I champion, on Nov. 8.
Ray Johnson, boys gymnastics coach at Marina High in Huntington Beach, has been named women's gymnastics coach at Cal Poly Pomona.
Johnson formerly coached the New Hope Gym Academy team in Fountain Valley and the Fountain Valley High girls team in 1984 and 1985. A 1975 graduate of Pomona High, Johnson attended Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and Cal State Fullerton.
"I think he has a fine background in gymnastics and works well with young people," said Karen L. Miller, Pomona athletic director.
Johnson has high hope for his new team. "I'd like it if we could make Cal Poly one of the best NCAA Division II gymnastics teams," Johnson said. "I plan to make the gymnastics program a little more competitive."
Johnson replaces Vic Nicoles, who resigned after last season to teach.
Cal State Los Angeles women's tennis star Edna Olivarez has been named rookie tennis player of the year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Assn.
Olivarez, a sophomore from the Philippines who is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II in a pre-season poll, was 34-4 in singles as a freshman and reached the Division II semifinals. She was a Division II All-American.