The USC women’s cross country team is searching for a spark, which it will try to find it this weekend at the Vanguard Invitational in Costa Mesa.Two weeks after the Women of Troy did not live up to expectations at the competitive Stanford Invitational, USC is hoping that the recently scheduled Vanguard meet will give the team momentum with the Pac-10 championships only three weeks away.Her time · USC coaches expect a big race from Bridget Helgerson. – Courtesy of USC Sports Information“I’m waiting for this team to break out,” said coach Tom Walsh. “We’ve been training very well and it just hasn’t shown in races. But we’ve been doing some really good things the past few weeks and hopefully they will show on Saturday.”Originally, Walsh did not plan on having his team race in between Stanford and the Cal State Northridge Meet on Oct. 16. However, after a slew of injuries and illnesses to begin the season, Walsh felt the team needed an extra tune-up before the homestretch.“I added this meet because we have had people that are behind schedule as far as the season is concerned,” Walsh said. “I also did it because we have so many young people on the team. They need more experience at the college level.”One of the runners affected by injury at the beginning of the season was junior Zsofia Erdelyi, who two weeks ago rebounded to finish 13th overall at Stanford. Erdelyi’s coach expects even more from her this Saturday.“I’d like to see Zsofia win the race,” Walsh said. “She was behind schedule because of her foot injury and a late track season. But I’m happy with her progress. An extra race will be very good for her.”Captain Bridget Helgerson did not have quite the race Erdelyi had at Stanford, but improved after a rocky start to her season. Walsh said he expects Helgerson to keep getting better as the season progresses.“Bridget is looking really good,” Walsh said. “Before Stanford she really started to turn it around. Her training has really picked up, and I’m looking forward to a good race from her.”As with the week before Stanford, the Women of Troy all saw their training pick up with the bye week. Without a Saturday race to curb hard workouts, Walsh increased the intensity.“We trained even harder than we did before Stanford,” Walsh said. “They’ve responded well to the intensity. The Stanford meet was a wake-up call for us. We didn’t perform the way we could have or should have, but the will to be successful is definitely there.”While arguably the team’s most competitive meet is out of the way, Walsh insists that the most important ones are yet to come.“[Vanguard] is not quite Pac-10 level,” Walsh admitted. “But we need to somehow get a win at this meet. We need something to get going for the rest of the season. I’m hoping we win this meet. Just being competitive won’t satisfy me, or the girls.”The 5K race will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Fairview Park.
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Tim Floyd says this will mean players, coaches and management won’t need to be travelling to numerous locations to avail of these facilities. The Premier Proposal outlines the aims of the County Board for the site adjacent to Semple Stadium to make it a one stop shop for all of the Premier County teams.County secretary Tim Floyd says the current dressing rooms have seen a lot of foot fall and are reaching their sell-by date – he also highlighted the need for inter-county teams to have everything on the one site.The plans for Dr Morris Park include 8 dressing rooms, physio rooms, a gym, catering facilities and meeting rooms.
England A squad player Josh Hilleard is the man of the moment with four wins in the space of just 22 days.He claimed his latest title at the weekend with a comprehensive, eight-shot victory in the West of England Championship at Royal North Devon.The 21-year-old from Farrington Park in Somerset adds it to his other April successes: the Berkhamsted Trophy, the Faldo Series Wales Championship and the Hampshire Salver.“It’s going well at the moment,” he remarked with a degree of understatement, after beating par in all four rounds at Royal North Devon and finishing on 10-under (70 68 71 69).“I feel as though there’s a target on my back! All the guys get on well and we’re really friendly, but you know they can all turn up and shoot 65 as easily as the next person. So, I’m just enjoying it and taking nothing for granted.”Hilleard’s all-round game in in very good shape, but he was particularly pleased with his putting at the weekend, which helped him to 13 birdies and two eagles.He’s benefitting from the confidence and belief that comes with winning and he said: “I’ve found a way of relaxing and playing my best in this scenario, it’s just understanding myself.”The championship was played in demanding conditions, with wind and rain on the first day and chilly temperatures for the next three rounds.Hilleard was in the mix from the start and after the second round he held or shared the lead. He was five clear going into the final round, but with England international Paul Kinnear moving up the leaderboard with a third round 69, he said: “You had to think the gap wasn’t as big as it sounded.”However, Hilleard continued to move away from the field in his final round, with the boost of an eagle three on the 9th, where holed a 35-footer. “That helped massively,” he said.The runner-up was Cameron Long (Burton on Trent) who scored four-under 68 in the last round to finish on two-under. James Newton (Prestbury) was third on one under.Image © Leaderboard Photography 25 Apr 2016 Fourth win makes Hilleard the man of the moment