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Around the SCV: Canyon grad sets TMC record

Pizzo posts 8K course mark at UC Riverside

Posted: September 26, 2010 10:16 p.m.
Updated: September 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

It appears that a certain level of one-upsmanship is taking place in The Master’s College men’s cross country program.

One week after Saugus native John Gilbertson broke the school’s 8K course record, Canyon graduate Anthony Pizzo broke the record again with a time of 24 minutes, 28 seconds at the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 18.

For the effort, Pizzo earned Golden State Athletic Conference Runner of the Week honors and helped his team move up to No. 7 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rankings.

“I would say that coming in with the No. 7 ranking, we have as good a chance as anyone that is going to be there,” said Pizzo of his team’s chances at an NAIA title. “But the question is, are we going to stay healthy and injury-free? If we keep our mentality in check and our injuries under control, come November at the national meet, we have as much a chance as anyone out there to take a stab at the title. It might be lofty to a lot of people, but to us, that is the standard.”

The 2010 NAIA Cross Country National Championships take place on Nov. 20 in Vancouver, Wash.

As of the latest national poll, Malone University in Ohio is ranked No. 1, while GSAC rivals Azusa Pacific, Vanguard and California Baptist are also in the top 25.

TMC’s No. 7 ranking is the highest in the program’s history.

The school’s old 8K course record was 24:40, which Gilbertson set on Sept. 11 in Irvine.

“As far as that race went, I think it really gave a boost to our team,” Pizzo said. “It showed myself and my teammates that we really do have a really good pack of frontrunners with me, John and Jeff (Jackson). ... You just kind of need that for your mentality to have confidence.”

The Mustangs return to action Oct. 9 at the Vanguard Invitational in Costa Mesa.

Local to compete in equine event

Santa Clarita’s own Blake Dahlgren is one of 36

competitors from California who will represent North America at the FEI World Equestrian Games, which began Saturday and run through Oct. 10 in Lexington, Ky.

Dahlgren will be competing in the vaulting event, which is described on the competition’s official website as “a competitive discipline where both gymnastic and dance elements are combined and performed to music on a cantering horse. It requires a harmonious relationship with the horse and outstanding physical condition from the vaulter; these two elements are imperative if a display of strength, coordination, rhythm and balance is to be achieved.”

Other events at the international competition include dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, para dressage and reigning.

Vaulting will run from Oct. 6-10.

According to FEI World Equestrian Games’ official website, 58 nations submitted entries with initial numbers for individual participants exceeding 900.

The United States is one of four countries that will field competitors in all eight events; the others are Australia, Canada and Germany.

The Games are held every four years.

This year’s competition marks the first time it has been held outside of Europe. It was first held in 1990 in Stockholm, Sweden.


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