Dec. 9, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz. - Student-athletes, parents, coaches and support staff of the Arizona State University cross country program gathered at the Old Main Building on campus Saturday night to celebrate the 2006 season with Head Coach Louie Quintana handing out several individual honors to members of the team followed by a slide show presentation compiled by several of the Sun Devil runners.
The awards opened with Cassie Rios and David Mehlhorn earning the Coaches Award. Rios had a breakout season for the Sun Devils as she consistently ran in the Top 2 on the team and earned First Team All-Pac-10 after placing fifth at the conference meet. A junior, Rios earned All-West Region honors after finishing 12th in Portland before placing 102nd at the NCAA Championships.
Mehlhorn continued to improve for the team throughout the season and eventually worked his way into the Top 7 as he placed 61st in the Pac-10 meet. He capped his season with a 120th-place showing at the regional race. He had the best finish of his season at the ASU Invitational where he captured seventh place.
The Most Improved Awards were given to Ali Kielty and David Gott. Kielty completed her first season with the team after redshirting one year ago and ran in the Top 7 all season. After finishing 30th at the Roy Griak and 51st at the Pre-National race, Kielty was the first freshman to finish at the Pac-10 Championships, placing 13th overall and earning Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year honors. She then earned all-region accolades by placing 21st at the meet before finishing 68th in her first national race.
Gott did his part to help the men where he could and finished 59th at the Pac-10 Championships, his first conference competition. Earlier in the season, Gott placed 11th at the George Kyte Invitational and added a pair of Top 20 runs later on as he was 18th at the Dave Murray Invitational and 16th at the ASU Invitational.
The Newcomer of the Year honors went to true freshman Kari Hardt and junior Kyle Alcorn, who finished his first season with the program after transferring in from Oregon. Hardt, one of the more decorated high school athletes in the history of the state of Arizona, started strong by finishing fourth at the Dave Murray Invitational and 61st at the Roy Griak. After taking a few weeks off, Hardt came back and continued to compete, placing 21st at the Pac-10 Championships, the highest finish of any true freshman. She also earned all-region honors by placing 25th before taking 88th-place at the NCAA Championships.
Alcorn was the second runner on the team all season after sitting the entire 2005 season due to Pac-10 transfer rules. He opened the year with a fourth-place showing at the Dave Murray Invitational and placed 12th overall at the Roy Griak Invitational before finishing 29th at the Pre-National race. Alcorn earned all-conference accolades as he placed 10th at the Pac-10 meet before ending the season with a 62nd-place run at the regional meet.
The Most Valuable Awards were handed to Jenna Kingma and Aaron Aguayo after both did their part in leading their respective teams in 2006. Kingma was the top female finisher for the Sun Devils in five of the team's six races, including a 60th-place finish at the NCAA Championships where the team placed 13th overall. Kingma earned All-Pac-10 and All-West Region accolades as she placed 10th at the conference meet and ninth at the regional race.
Aguayo capped perhaps the most successful cross country career for a Sun Devil male as he placed ninth at the NCAA Championships, marking the highest national finish for an ASU male and the second-highest ever in the program behind Lisa Aguilera's fifth-place showing in 2000. Aguayo was the top finisher in all six he races he ran, taking fourth place at the Pac-10 Championships to earn first team all-conference honors before taking runner-up honors at the NCAA West Region Championships where he earned all-region accolades as well. His national finish earned his second All-America honor, making him just the second Sun Devil male to earn multiple national honors in a career.