Sept. 3, 2002
On The Starting Line
The Arizona State men's and women's cross country programs open their respective 2002 seasons this week with both traveling to South Bend, Ind., for Notre Dame' Adidas Cross Country Invitational, Friday, Sept. 6. The men (20th) and the women (23rd) are entering the year following top 25 finishes at the NCAA Championships (Nov. 19, 2001) a year ago.
In The Opener
The Sun Devils competed in the UC Irvine/Adidas Invitational to open the season last year with both squads capturing second-place finishes. Juan Reyes won the individual title in the men's race and Cody Sohn (fourth) was the top finisher for the women.
The men found themselves ranked No. 13 in the nation Aug. 27, when the preseason men's MONDO/USCCO Poll was released. ASU finished 20th in the nation a year ago and is the second-highest ranked Pac-10 team in the national poll behind the No. 2 billing Stanford received. The women's poll has not been released yet.
The Sun Devils have compiled a challenging schedule for their respective 2002 campaigns. ASU will use five meets, two being in Tempe, to prepare for the end of the year meets starting with the 2002 Pac-10 Championships at UCLA (Nov. 2). Following their trip to Pasadena, Calif., the Sun Devils will head to Stanford (Nov. 16) for the West Regional Championships in hopes of qualifying for the 2002 NCAA Championships, Nov. 25, in Terre Haute, Ind., the home of Indiana State.
Fasil Bizuneh returns for his senior campaign to lead a strong returning group of men. Juan Reyes and J.J. Duke will be relied upon to help the Sun Devils remain near the front of the pack. For the women, graduation hit the team hard with four of the seven NCAA runners of a year ago gone from the team. Jen Hurbis, Cody Sohn and Desiree Davila, all three NCAA participants a year ago, will be counted on to lead the team in 2002.
Last Time Out: 2001 NCAA Championships
The men, led by Fasil Bizuneh's 22nd-place finish, and the women, led by the 18th-place showing of Lisa Aguilera, captured 20th and 23rd place, respectively, at the national meet held in Greenville, S.C., Nov. 19, 2001. Both Bizuneh and Aguilera earned their second All-America honors, making them the first male and female ASU harriers to earn a two All-America awards. Below are the top five times runs by the Sun Devil teams with their individual placement in the meet in parentheses:
Fasil Bizuneh became the first ASU cross country runner to garner All-America status twice in a career last season with a 22nd-place finish at the NCAA meet. An All-American in 1999 after finishing 19th at the meet, Bizuneh also was named to the All-Pac-10 first team in 1999 and 2001, while also garnering Academic All-Pac-10 accolades in 2001.
The Sun Devils return to action in three weeks with both teams heading to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Roy Griak Invitational, Sept. 28. The meet, which the Arizona State women won as a team a year ago, will again be hosted by the Minnesota Golden Gophers on the Les Bolstad Course.