The USC women’s cross-country team will begin its second meet of the 2011 season Saturday, as it is scheduled to partake in the 67th annual San Diego State Aztec Invitational, held in Balboa Park.The course, which runs near the San Diego Zoo, should challenge the Women of Troy.“This meet will be a great chance for the team to race on a tougher, hillier or rugged course,” USC coach Tom Walsh said. “The times will be slower, but they’ll be slower for all teams. I’m trying to teach them not to be so focused on times, but rather on performance.”With only seven entrants in this weekend’s race, USC hopes to better last week’s performance at the UC Irvine Invitational, where it finished seventh.Redshirt junior Shelby Buckley, who opened her first season for USC as its top finisher at the invitational, will be counted upon to lead the Women of Troy to another respectable finish. The other six runners are all the freshmen recruits, most of who raced for the first time last weekend.The Aztec Invitational, however, will also serve as the first official race for freshman Erica Capellino, who is expected to become one of USC’s top runners.“I’m excited to see how Erica performs,” Walsh said. “She’s been doing so well in training, and hopefully that will carry over. She’s a good hill runner, which is why we wanted her to start out in San Diego instead of last week. Kira Soderstrom will hopefully do really well too; she’s really stepped it up in training.”The meet might prove difficult for the Women of Troy, as the terrain is notoriously rugged when compared to other 5-kilometer courses. Additionally, Walsh noted concerns about the runners going out too quickly in the early goings, which could eventually count for a loss of speed in the middle of the race. This has been a persistent issue for the Trojans in past meets, Walsh added.Though last week’s race proved to be a solid start to the season, Walsh hopes this weekend’s invitational will allow the runners to further prove themselves. The UC Irvine Invitational was the first meet as Trojans for eight of USC’s 10 runners, and the first official collegiate race for the team’s five freshmen.“The first race is always a starting point,” Walsh said. “Runners make mistakes and are more tentative. There’s always a big improvement between the first race and the second. We just need to focus on mental toughness, and not slowing down in the middle.”The race, which begins at 8:30 a.m. in San Diego, will also have a community division in which local runners can participate.
Published on April 8, 2018 at 11:02 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Seven years ago, Pete Sala, Syracuse University’s chief facilities officer, had an idea to increase the use of the Carrier Dome and house events outside of SU Athletics. At the time, Monster Jam, a traveling monster truck exhibition, hosted an annual outdoor event at the nearby New York State Fairgrounds. Sala combined his enjoyment for the event with his desire to expand the Dome’s use to create a new tradition: Monster Jam in the Carrier Dome. Sala worked in connection with Feld Entertainment to bring Monster Jam into the Dome. The two sides met in the summer of 2011 and agreed the stadium could handle the makeover and turnover required to pull off that type of event. Now, the event is held annually in the Dome, bringing tens of thousands of fans to watch the oversized cars. The Dome, known best for its raucous environment during Syracuse sporting events, is transformed into a spectacle on dirt for fans to watch monster trucks go over jumps, crush cars and drive through the course. Monster Jam travels from city to city, putting on shows across the country. It arrived in Syracuse last week to set up the operation to transform the arena.“We tried to bring something inside, keep fans a little bit warmer,” said Steve Olinski, Monster Jam’s company manager. “Pete’s a big fan of Monster Jam, so getting us in here was a big feather in his cap.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMax Freund | Staff PhotographerThe full conversion of an arena costs anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million, Olinski said. The traveling crew of Monster Jam set up in the parking lot in between Dineen Hall and Campus West early last week, blocking off part of the stadium lot to house its equipment.Monster Jam brought nine trucks called “haulers” that lug the monster trucks around the country. Five of the haulers are big enough to hold two trucks at a time, while the other four carry one each. The company has four other trucks: two for merchandise and two for operations. Starting Wednesday, the staff towed the monster trucks, which weigh about 10,000 pounds each, into the Dome.Sala and Olinski work hand in hand to both prepare the Dome and ensure the safety of SU students in the setup process. The process begins one week before fans pour into the stadium for the event. Dirt is excavated from an open field on SU’s campus, near the Skytop Office building. The Monster Jam crew uses its eight trucks to move 175 truckloads of dirt, about 3,500 cubic yards in total, into the Dome.After the event, the dirt is returned into the ground and closely monitored for quality assurance. Sometimes, the clay-based dirt will be covered to prevent it from becoming too moist.“They cover it throughout the year to make sure the proper moisture gets in and then they screen it if they need to keep the rocks out,” Olinski said.Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorWhile Monster Jam handles the dirt, the Dome staff lays down the initial layer of plastic and plywood. After SU’s home lacrosse game on Tuesday, Sala said his team of about 50 students and six older staff members put down two layers of plastic and two one-inch layers of plywood, in that order. The base covering protects the turf and sets a broad base that the dirt could be placed on.While the dirt was trucked in on Wednesday, the event staff closely regulated traffic on Forestry Drive near the Dome for parts of the day. This allowed the trucks to move in and out of the Stadium Control entrance below Gate B, Sala said.“We work with the Dome to make sure we have security to manage getting everything into the dome,” Olinski said.After the dirt is moved inside, 30 of the Monster Jam staff members use heavy machinery to turn the dirt into a monster truck course. The nine-inch layer of dirt, plus the plywood and plastic, provides nearly a foot of cushion between the surface of the dirt and the underlying Dome turf. Monster Jam’s staff of 55 includes 14 monster truck drivers, 20 crewmen and 10 track engineers. The engineers are in charge of properly designing and forming the course. They work with the crewmen inside the Dome to pile up the dirt to create multiple jumps, turns and hills.Max Freund | Staff PhotographerOn Friday afternoon, Monster Jam offered a chance for fans to attend a Pit Party where they could meet drivers and see the monster trucks up close. The Dome filled with students, young children and adults walking on the dirt that the trucks would drive across roughly 24 hours later.“They’re like the Globetrotters, they know how to advertise, they do a great job marketing,” Sala said. “The event is really successful.”The event went off without a hitch, beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday. Monster Jam began the breakdown process after fans left the arena. Traffic on Forestry Drive was again halted just after 11 p.m. to allow all of the monster trucks to leave the Dome and head back to the haulers. Teardown goes similarly to setup. The Monster Jam staff piled up the dirt and removed it from the Dome the same way it entered. Once event traffic cleared, the trucks full with dirt began rolling, this time back to Skytop. Then on Sunday morning, Sala’s crew of students came to tear out the plywood and remove the plastic. By Monday morning, Sala said it’s like they were never there. Syracuse University is hosting a reception in the Carrier Dome on Monday afternoon and evening for accepted students to come tour the school and experience the Dome. And from a glance, no one will know that less than 48 hours earlier, 14 monster trucks rampaged more than 3,500 cubic yards of dirt. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+