Oct. 28, 2003
ON THE STARTING LINE
The Arizona State men's and women's cross country teams travel to the Great Northwest and Pullman, Wash., for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, Saturday at the Washington State Golf Course. The Sun Devil women are ranked No. 4 in the nation while the men are No. 15. Both squads will look to unseat No. 1 ranked Stanford for their first conference titles.
THE 2003 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Washington State plays host to the annual championship event with four races slated. The men's open 8,000m race will start at 10 a.m. while the women's open 6,000m race will begin at 11 a.m. The races that determine the conference's champions start at Noon with the 35th annual men's 8,000m run and the 18th annual women's 6,000m run at 1 p.m. For results and more information, visit www.WSUCougars.com.
Following record rankings two weeks ago, both the women and men slid down the polls after taking a week off from competition. The women slipped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the Oct. 20 rankings while the men dropped from No. 12 to No. 15 in the Oct. 21 release. There will be no rankings released until next week. The women have now been ranked in 40 consecutive weeks dating back to Oct. 12, 1998, also the first date the women earned a national ranking.
Five men's teams and three women's teams in the Pac-10 Conference hold national Top 30 rankings as of the polls released last week. On the men's side, Stanford, the defending NCAA Champions, are No. 1 with Arizona (14), ASU (15), Oregon (18) and Washington (27) rounding out the ranked teams. For the women, Stanford also is No.1 with ASU (4) and UCLA (15) trailing in the polls.
2002 CONFERENCE MEET REVIEW
The women recorded their best finish at the Pac-10 Championships when they captured second with a program-record 59 points. In the past four years, the women have finished as the runners-up three times. Individually, Jessica Scalzo finished sixth overall as a true freshman while the Top 5 scorers claimed finishes in the Top 16 of the race.
ASU's men finished third last year and earned their fifth Top 4 finish in a row. The team was led by Fasil Bizuneh's 10th place-finish as the Sun Devils finished its five scorers in the Top 40.
IN SEARCH OF GOLD
Arizona State will again head to the Pac-10 Championships in search of their first individual and team titles. Since 1980, the men have come close to winning an individual title twice with Fasil Bizuneh (2001) and Todd Lewis (1991) placing second. The women saw Lisa Aguilera (2000) take runner-up honors as well. On the team side of things, the women have finished second three times (2002, 2000 and 1999) while the men have been runners-up once (2001).
By winning the Arizona State Invitational (10/18/03), the women secured their second team title of the year, marking the eighth time in history the Sun Devils have more than one team title. ASU won twice in 2001, 1999, 1993, 1992, 1990, 1982 and 1981.
CROSSING THE LINE TOGETHER
The men and women have seen its runners cross the finish line early and often this year. The women have had 10 runners finish in the Top 5 including two wins while the men have had seven. The women's total ties the 1999 mark as the most in a single season while the men's total is the most in a season.
LAST TIME OUT
The men fielded a 'B' team at the Canyon West and placed third of three teams with 63 points, missing runner-up honors by one point. Freshman BIlly Smith led the men with a 19th place-finish with Jeremy Cramer taking 22nd. In the women's race, only Alvina Begay competed and placed eighth in the race.
NEXT TIME OUT ...
After a week off from competition, the Sun Devils will head to Portland, Ore., for the NCAA West Region Championships, Nov. 15. The Top 2 teams advance automatically to the NCAA Championships (Nov. 24) while the Top 3 individuals on teams not qualifying for the national meet also advance.