Oct. 29, 2011
TEMPE-- All season long Ryan Cole has been telling his Arizona State women's cross country team to take advantage of opportunities.
The Sun Devils did just that on Saturday at the inaugural Pac-12 cross country championship meet at Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz.
Arizona State, behind a strong performance by freshman Shelby Houlihan, finished in sixth place after scoring 164 points.
Conference newcomer Colorado won the meet with 50 points and made it a clean sweep on the day as Colorado came away with the men's championship by tallying 46 points.
"We've been looking to take advantage of our opportunities when they presented themselves," said Cole, whose team placed five runners in the top 50 to aid in the Sun Devils' scoring. "We left some of those opportunities on the table in our previous meets ... but today we ran extremely well."
ASU's performance should help bolster its chances of being invited to the upcoming NCAA national meet next month in Terre Haute, Ind.
"All the girls ran well," said Houlihan, whose eighth-place finish was the best finish by a freshman in Saturday's meet. "We wanted a top seven finish ... we showed 'em."
Houlihan's finish impressed Cole.
"To finish in the top 10 as a freshman says a lot," Cole said. "That is quite an honor in this conference."
Houlihan ran a 20:15 to pace ASU while teammate Macy Bricks was the second Sun Devil to cross the finish line. She turned in a 20:49 and placed 27th overall. Lindsay Prescott (21:07), Kate Lydy (21:24) and Natasa Vulic (21:29) finished 36th, 47th and 50th, respectively.
Washington's Katie Flood was the individual champion after covering the Wigwam Resort course in 19:32 and finishing eight seconds ahead of runnerup Kathy Kroeger, who ran 19:40. Defending conference champion Jordan Hasay finished third in 19:50.
The Huskies placed second in the team standings behind the Buffaloes after scoring 73 points. Stanford (75), Oregon (89) and Arizona (104) rounded out the top five teams.
The Colorado men won the championship by seven points over second place Stanford which tallied 53 points in the meet. Oregon (93), UCLA (93) and California (140) rounded out the top five teams. Arizona State placed ninth overall after scoring 195 points.
Arizona's Lawi Lalang was the men's individual champion after running a 22:37. He defeated Stanford's Chris Derrick, the 2009 conference champion, by eight seconds. Richard Medina finished third and was one of three Buffaloes to place in the top nine. Nick Happe (23:47) was the top ASU runner. He placed 18th overall.
The remainder of the team finished in a tight pack, with Doug Smith the next Sun Devil across the line in 24:31 and Darius Terry right behind him in 41st place in a time of 24:31. Brian Pierre was next in 47th in 24:44 while Steve Schnieders scored in his second consecutive conference championship with a 49th-place, 24:47 performance.
The team's will now look ahead two weeks as they prepare for the NCAA West Regional Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., set to take place Nov. 12.
Women's Team Standings
1. Colorado, 50. 2. Washington, 73. 3. Stanford, 75. 4. Oregon, 89. 5. Arizona, 104. 6. Arizona State, 164. 7. California, 190. 8. Utah, 205. 9. Oregon State, 249. 10. UCLA, 288. 11. Washington State, 291. 12. USC, 384.
1. Katie Flood, Washington, 19:32. 2. Kathy Kroeger, Stanford, 19:40. 3. Jordan Hasay, Oregon, 19:50. 4. Shalaya Kipp, Colorado, 19:54. 5. Emma Coburn, Colorado, 19:55. 6. Jennifer Bergman, Arizona, 20:00. 7. Stephanie Marcy, Stanford, 20:13. 8. Shelby Houlihan, Arizona State, 20:15. 9. Lara Darco, Colorado, 20:18. 10. Amanda Mergaert, Utah, 20:21.
Men's Team Standings
1. Colorado, 46. 2. Stanford, 53. 3. Oregon, 93. 4. UCLA, 122. 5. California, 140. 6. Washington State, 148. 7. Washington, 153. 8. Arizona, 190. 9. Arizona State, 195.
1. Lawi Lalang, Arizona, 22:37. 2. Chris Derrick, Stanford, 22:45. 3. Richard Medina, Colorado, 22:54. 4. Jake Riley, Stanford, 22:55. 5. Luke Puskedra, Oregon, 22:58. 6. Andrew Wacker, Colorado, 23:24. 7. Parker Stinson, Oregon, 23:28. 8. Kent Morikawa, UCLA, 23:29. 9. Joseph Brosshard, Colorado, 23:30. 10. Brendan Gregg, Stanford, 23:32.