Oct. 27, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. - Led by second-place finisher Fasil Bizuneh, the Arizona State men's cross country team earned a runner-up finish at the 2001 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships at the Pavilion Lakes Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., Saturday. The ASU women's team placed third, led by seventh-place finisher Lisa Aguilera.
"We needed five people to cross the line and we got them," ASU head coach Walt Drenth said. "To have two teams in the top three, in the upper echelon of the conference, speaks volumes for these kids."
Completing the men's 8,000-meter course in 24:06.4, just two seconds behind medalist Grant Robison, Bizuneh's second-place finish was the highest for an ASU male at the conference meet. As a team, the men also etched their name in the Sun Devil record books, setting a school record with a second-place finish, surpassing three straight fourth-place finishes at the Pac-10 meet.
"I was pretty happy with how the race went," Bizuneh said. "I improved on my fourth place finish from two years ago. I would have like to have won, but I have another chance next year. Our team did really well. That's always nice, when you have a good team finish."
In addition to Bizuneh, also finishing in the top-10 for ASU were Ronnie Buchanan (eighth, 24:52.6) and Juan Reyes (ninth, 24:53.8). Additional Sun Devil point-scorers were J.J. Duke (15th, 25:05.5) and Dan Maher (41st, 26:29.5). Rounding out ASU's seven competitors were J.R. Cox (46th, 26:38.0) and Phillip Prince (50th, 27:38.1).
Like the men, ASU's women had three finishers completing the women's 6,000-meter course among the top-10. As a team, the women earned their third-straight top-three Pac-10 finish, having been the conference runner-up the last two seasons. Aguilera led the Sun Devil pack finishing seventh in 21:00.4, with teammates Brianna Torres and Kelly MacDonald at her heels, placing ninth (21:10.3) and 10th (21:12.7), respectively.
Also scoring for ASU were Desiree Davila (22nd, 22:02.7) and Jen Hurbis (31st, 22:42.5), while Nicole Simmons finished 43rd (23:24.8) and Kristin McFerron finished 47th (23:36.8). Missing from the women's lineup was the team's consistent fourth runner, Cody Sohn, who missed the meet due to a migraine headache.
"I don't think anyone fells worse right now than she does," Drenth said. "I really expect Cody to be back with our top group at regionals and for us to come through in third without her, a major ingredient, it spoke well for our team too. I told them before the race, we've got to throw our individual goals out the window, we've got to stay composed enough to be a good team and that's what we did."
Stanford swept the team titles, with three Cardinal runners finishing in the top-five on both the men's and women's sides, including individual winners Grant Robison and Lauren Fleshman. On the men's side, Stanford won with 28 points, while ASU was second with 75, edging Oregon's 78 points for third. Stanford's women won the team title with 27 points, while Arizona was the runner-up with 64 points and ASU finished third with 79.
ASU will take next week off to prepare for the NCAA West Regionals, hosted by the University of Arizona, Sat., Nov. 10, at the Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson.
2001 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS - Pavilion Lakes Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz.
MEN'S 8,000m -Team Finishes
1. Stanford, 28 pts., 2. Arizona State, 75, 3. Oregon, 78, 4. Arizona, 96, 5. Washington, 102, 6. UCLA, 148, 7. Washington State, 163, 8. California, 192.
WOMEN'S 6,000m - Team Finishes
1. Stanford, 27 pts., 2. Arizona, 64, 3. Arizona State, 79, 4. UCLA, 107, 5. Washington, 109, 6. Washington State, 155, 7. USC, 168, 8. Oregon, 210, 9. California, 259.
MEN -Top-Five/ASU Individuals (8K)
1. Grant Robison, Stanford 24:04.0
2. Fasil Bizuneh, Arizona State 24:06.4
3. Donald Sage, Stanford 24:11.4
4. Jason Fayant, Washington 24:17.7
5. Ian Dobson, Stanford 24:26.3
8. Ronnie Buchanan, Arizona State 24:52.6
9. Juan Reyes, Arizona State 24:53.8
15. J.J. Duke, Arizona State 25:05.5
41. Dan Maher, Arizona State 26:29.5
46. J.R. Cox, Arizona State 26:38.0
50. Phillip Prince, Arizona State 27:38.1
WOMEN -Top Five/ASU Individuals (6K)
1. Lauren Fleshman, Stanford 20:08.1
2. Sara Bei, Stanford 20:17.4
3. Tara Chaplin, Arizona 20:19.6
4. Everlyn Lagat, Washington State 20:48.0
5. Alicia Craig, Stanford 20:56.0
7. Lisa Aguilera, Arizona State 21:00.4
9. Brianna Torres, Arizona State 21:10.3
10. Kelly MacDonald, Arizona State 21:12.7
22. Desiree Davila, Arizona State 22:02.7
31. Jen Hurbis, Arizona State 22:42.5
43. Nicole Simmons, Arizona State 23:24.8
47. Kristin McFerron, Arizona State 23:36.8
More Quotes From ASU Coach Walt Drenth:
On Ronnie Buchanan coming through for the team
Yes he did. He's a great athlete. This is his fourth year and he's gone through tremendous adversity, personally and physically. Its such a huge credit to him to stay positive in that kind of environment and understand that the talent is there and he can keep coming. Today he really came through for us.
On Juan Reyes' run
This is a great conference, there's a number of guys, probably in the top-15, that are capable of being All-Americans. So anybody from the 10th place in is really going to be in the top-50 at nationals so I'm pretty happy with his (Juan Reyes) run. At the end of the day, this is a team deal. One guy isn't going to make or break us and we really came through as a group. Especially the top four runners.
On Cody Sohn
I don't think anyone feels worse right now than she does. I'm sure she's lying in bed some place with all the curtains drawn. She has a migraine. I don't know what a migraine feels like. I get bad headaches when I don't have enough caffeine and I know that I can't deal with those. I really expect Cody to be back with our top group at regionals and for us to come through in third without her, a major ingredient, it spoke well for the team too. I told them before the race, we've got to throw our individual goals out the window. We've got to stay composed enough to be a good team and that's what we did. And Jen Hurbis, who has had a number of struggles, she hasn't been well, she wasn't able to run at Pre-Nationals because she was sick, really came through for us as a fifth person.
On Brianna Torres
She ran a little bit tentatively at Pre-Nationals and I knew what she was capable of. She's a great momentum builder and she runs her last portion of the race as well as anybody and she did that today. She came through huge for us and I expect nothing but better things from her in the next two competitions.
On Kelly MacDonald's run
She's been sick. This viral thing is going around and that's what it is. Washington's top kid (Sabrina Monro) dropped out, she was a favorite, those are the breaks on a day like today. Again, we needed five people to cross the line and we got them. To have two teams in the top three, in the upper echelon of the conference, speaks volumes for those kids.
Expected to see such a gutsy effort by both teams?
What we're seeing now is the maturation of the program. It takes awhile to build that kind of focus and performance. I think we do it every day in practice. I don't think what you saw today was an aberration, it's the way we behave and we're disciplined like that every day. This is no accident. I expected that kind of effort.
On Fasil Bizuneh
Fasil is going to be better at 10,000m and he's going to be better at a more challenging course. He's certainly giving himself a chance to be in the top-10 if not the top-five at the nationals with that kind of performance. He's a guy that understands what it takes to come through.