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CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTEBOOK / LON EUBANKS : Elders Expects Big Things at Cross-Country Meet

October 27, 1994|LON EUBANKS

Cal State Fullerton Coach John Elders has high hopes for his team in Saturday's Big West Conference cross-country meet in Logan, Utah.

The Titans don't expect to challenge favored UC Santa Barbara for either the men's or women's team championships, but Fullerton runners could take first in the individual events.

Senior Heather Killeen will be favored in the women's division, and junior Mark Sinderson will be one of the top contenders among the men.

"Both Heather and Mark are running very well now," Elders said. "With the exception of the Stanford meet when she finished 10th, Heather has won every race she's run this fall. That has been her only sub-par performance of the season."

Killeen was second in the conference meet as a sophomore but was unable to compete last year because of a hip injury. "She's been looking forward to this weekend for a long time," Elders said.

Sinderson's showing in the recent Cal Poly Invitational at San Luis Obispo indicates he has improved considerably since he was 59th at Stanford. "In the Stanford meet, he finished behind five UC Santa Barbara runners," Elders said. "He turned it around in the Cal Poly meet, and beat all five of them, including Santa Barbara's top runner, Dave Cullum. Based on that, I think Mark should be one of the top contenders this weekend."

Elders said Sinderson has improved with a more demanding training schedule. His fifth-place finish at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was the highest by a Big West runner in the men's division.

"He wasn't in good shape when he came into the season," Elders said. "He started putting in more training mileage after the Stanford meet, and he's been improving since that point."

From a team standpoint, Elders said his goal is for the men and women to finish in the top three.

The women's team has some injury problems. Denisha Bendz has been slowed by a strained hamstring, but Elders still expects her to contend for the top five, barring additional problems. Tania Nahale, who has been struggling with injuries all season, now has tendinitis in an ankle.

Elders is mildly apprehensive about what impact the altitude of almost 5,000 feet will have on his runners, along with the temperature expected to be in the low 30s. "We'll go in only the day before, and we should be fine with the altitude on that basis," he said.

*

Fullerton's baseball team completed fall practice last week, and Coach Augie Garrido said it gave him a better perspective about where the team stands.

"Nobody went backward, and almost all of them appear to be better players than they were," Garrido said. "They're definitely ahead of most of the new players at this stage, but it takes awhile for them to adjust. I'm sure they'll be more ready when they come back in January."

The Titans lost several regulars, including outfielder Dante Powell, catcher Bret Hemphill and infielders Jeff Ferguson, Jason Gill and Adam Millan.

The revamped outfield has Mark Kotsay, who led the team in hitting last season with a .372 average, moving from left field to center. Jeremy Giambi is in right, where he platooned as a starter last season. Left field is more uncertain. Matt Kastelic, a transfer from Rancho Santiago College, is a possibility there along with senior Tony Miranda and freshmen C.J. Ankrum and Steve Chatham.

The coaches also are trying Ankrum at first base as they seek a replacement for Millan. D.C. Olsen is No. 1 there now. Junior Joe Fraser, another Rancho Santiago transfer, is in the lead to replace Ferguson at second, and sophomore Chris Remala is the leader to follow Jason Gill at third. Jack Jones started at shortstop last season as a freshman.

Sophomore Brian Loyd is the likely successor to Hemphill at catcher after backing up there last season.

Garrido said Kotsay also will be used as a pitcher again, especially since Matt Wagner has been declared ineligible by the NCAA. Pitchers Mike Parisi, Dan Ricabal and Chad Rolish all signed pro contracts.

*

The Fullerton men's soccer team faces Indiana, ranked No. 1 in the nation, Friday in the MetLife tournament at UCLA.

The Hoosiers have been beaten only once in 17 games, losing to North Carolina, 2-1, in their second game of the season.

"It's definitely a game we need to win, and would go a long way toward helping our season," Coach Al Mistri said. The Titans are 9-6-1 after losing, 2-1, at UCLA Friday, then winning at UC Irvine, 4-3, in overtime Sunday.

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