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UC Irvine Notebook : Running Coach Is Confident; Well, Sort of

November 12, 1987|John Weyler

Ever get the feeling that everything's going your way . . . followed immediately by the notion that your luck might change any minute?

If not, listen to Vince O'Boyle, coach of the UC Irvine men's and women's cross-country teams, talk about Saturday's NCAA Region 8 championships in Fresno:

"If we, both the men and the women, continue to run like we have in the past month, if we continue our pack running, if we run like we did in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. meet last weekend, we'll be in a very good position to do very well there."

So he's confident both Anteater teams, which dominated the conference meet and won the men's and women's titles, will qualify for the NCAA championships in Charlottesville, Va., on Nov. 23?167772162 "Honestly, I don't feel all that confident, but I'm acting very confident," he said. "I'm trying to reflect that confidence to my team."

O'Boyle can't really pinpoint his doubts. Both teams seem to be peaking at the right time after turning in consistently good performances of late, especially in the PCAA championships.

The top two men's teams and the winning women's team in the regional earn automatic berths to the NCAA championships. The third-place finisher in the men's race and the second in the women's have excellent shots at at-large spots.

UCI, Arizona and Oregon appear to be the class of the 10,000-meter men's race. Irvine, UCLA, Arizona State and Stanford are the teams to beat in the women's 5,000-meter event.

O'Boyle is hoping that Richard Graves, his No. 1 runner and the PCAA individual champion, will "just duplicate what he's been doing all year." He also hopes Gus Quinonez will improve on his eighth-place finish in the conference meet, where he was bothered by an injured abdominal muscle.

"Gus is over it," said O'Boyle, confident about that much, anyway. "It's all cleared up. Gus will run his normal race.

"The women have all been really consistent. If they run like they did in the PCAA meet (where Buffy Rabbitt won and Jill Harrington took second), we'll be in a very good position. And we've raced everybody in this meet except the Northwest schools, so we're prepared that way."

So why is he worrying?

"Obviously, you have never coached," he said, managing a smile.

The men's basketball team, which has been hit with a rash of minor injuries recently, will hold the annual Blue-Gold intrasquad game at 6:30 tonight in the Bren Center.

Sophomore Mike Labat, a 6-foot 5-inch point guard who transferred from the University of Idaho and has a good shot at a starting spot on opening night, will be out for two weeks because of a severely sprained ankle.

Senior Frank Woods, who played in every game last season and started in 19, junior Peter Strauss and freshman Chris Cresswell have been bothered by hip injuries. Shooting sensation Justin Anderson, another freshman with a good chance to start, has been slowed by a severe blister on his foot. Juniors Rob Doktorczyk (bruised cheekbone) and Ed Johansen (hamstring) also have missed some practices.

All but Labat, however, should play tonight.

"We've had some nagging injuries, but that's normal this time of year," Coach Bill Mulligan said. "We've been more intense in practice this year, but I don't think that's accounted for the injuries.

"Despite the injuries, things are going well. The defense has been so aggressive in practice, it's put our offense back a bit."

The Anteaters will play host to Malbas Club, a Swedish team, in an exhibition game at 7:30 Wednesday night in the Bren Center.

Anteater Notes

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