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College Division : Cross-Country Family Ties Are a Way of Life at Master's

October 22, 1987|Mitch Polin

Coach Mike Kildal of the Master's College in Newhall is not going out of his way to be friendly when he speaks with his men's and women's cross-country teams on a first-name basis.

For Kildal, it is more a matter of necessity.

The coach has 14 runners on his men's and women's teams and 7 of them are related to at least one other of the teams' runners.

Five of the seven compete on the women's team. They are freshman Lisa and sophomore Laura Hunter, freshman Kelly and sophomore Wendi Sailors and freshman Marlys Newey. Marlys' older brothers Mark, a junior, and Matt, a freshman, compete on the men's team.

Kildal thinks the family atmosphere has been a key factor in the improvement of the teams, which are having their best seasons. The men's team is 14-1 in dual meets and the women are 13-2.

Their presence has been particularly important to the success of the women's team. Marlys Newey is the team's No. 1 runner, Kelly Sailors No. 4, Lisa Hunter No. 5 and Wendy Sailors No. 6. Laura Hunter would also be among the top five women but she has not competed because of a stress fracture in her foot.

As for the Neweys on the men's team, Matt is No. 3 runner for the Mustangs and Mark is No. 5.

Kildal said he didn't plan to have a family-style team but he is happy with the result. "Needless to say, it has certainly been a key to our success," he said.

"They are different types of people but they are close because of their relationship. In a unique kind of way, they are closer than any group I've had before."

Kildal remembers a women's meet against Fresno Pacific in which the team's family ties were particularly helpful.

"When we ran at Fresno, we knew (Fresno was) very competitive and they had recruited well and we got together before the meet and talked things over," Kildal said. "Well, we ended up beating them on their home course, and I attribute it a lot to their (close) relationship."

The coach said that having runners who are related has helped the team in terms of motivation and encouragement.

"It helps when the kids are struggling to have input from other members of the family," Kildal said. "When the girls are racing, the boys are there to encourage them. They know how to encourage them like I wouldn't know."

Kildal is also encouraged by the fact that except for Mark Newey, they are all freshmen and sophomores. That should help keep the Mustangs flowing in brother and sister combinations for at least a couple of more years.

Maybe the fifth time was the charm for Xenia Anastasiadou, women's tennis star at Cal Poly Pomona.

The junior from Greece has been one of the top performers in the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. Division II during the last two years, as her victory in the Division II singles final last season will attest.

About the only person standing in her way has been Edna Olivarez of Cal State Los Angeles, who had not lost to Anastasiadou in four tries. At least, until Sunday.

Anastasiadou broke the string then with a 7-5, 6-0 win over the top-seeded Olivarez in the final of the Rolex Small College Western Regional tournament at CSLA. The victory advanced the second-seeded Anastasiadou to the national tournament Feb. 3 and 4 at the University of Minnesota.

Olivarez, a junior from the Philippines, defeated Anastasiadou for the regional tournament title last year and has also beaten her three times in regular-season play.

Azusa Pacific University has been the track team of the 1980s in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics so perhaps it is fitting that the Cougars have been selected as the hosting team for the 1988 NAIA men's and women's national outdoor meets May 26-28.

The Cougars, coached by Terry Franson, will be trying for an unprecedented sixth consecutive NAIA men's title. Azusa Pacific also finished second in 1982 and fourth in 1980.

It will mark the first time for the meet on the West Coast since it was held in San Diego in 1958.

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