Nov. 11, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Arizona State University cross country program took to a rain-soaked and mud-covered course at Blue Lake Park in Gresham, Ore., for the 2006 NCAA West Region Cross Country Championships Saturday morning with the women placing third overall and the men 11th in the event used as a qualifier for the national meet. The women saw five runners place in the Top 25 to lead the way while the men saw Aaron Aguayo turn in a second-place showing.
The ASU women collected 82 points to finish behind No. 1 Stanford (42 points) and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (72 points) in the team race while the men accumulated 290 points with Oregon (69), Stanford (88), Portland (123), Washington (139) and Arizona (156) rounding out the Top 5. The finish for the women marked the seventh year in a row the Sun Devils placed in the Top 5 and third in a row (and seventh in the last eight) it has finished among the Top 3 overall.
The women, ranked eighth in the latest USTFCCCA national rankings, were led by Jenna Kingma, who placed ninth in the 6,000m race in 21:25.19. She was followed by Top 20 performances from Cassie Rios (12th in 21:14.18) and Brooke Bennett (16th in 21:49.83) while Ali Kielty (21st in 22:01.48) and Kari Hardt (25th in 22:08.23) rounded out the five scorers for the Sun Devils. All five also received all-regional honors for their runs.
Also competing for the women were Krystal Duke, who placed 38th overall in 22:28.50 despite losing a shoe mid-way through the race before stopping and coming back from the end of the pack, and Corey Randall, who placed 59th in 22:54.51.
The men struggled in the meet, finishing out of the Top 10 for the first time since its 11th-place showing in 1997. Despite the low finish, the men did have one bright spot in Aaron Aguayo, who finished second overall in the 10,000m run in 30:13.61 and earned all-region honors. Aguayo, who was in fifth place heading into the final stretch of the race, slipped and fell in the mud before quickly climbing back to his feet and charging forward to pass three individuals in the final 400 meters.
Aguayo was followed across the line by Kyle Alcorn (62nd in 31:59.86), Jeff Helmer (74th in 32:26.28), Mikias Gelagle (75th in 32:29.90) and Joey Heller (81st in 32:35.68), who comprised the point-scorers for the team. Also running in the meet were Kal Clark (99th in 33:10.58) and David Mehlhorn (120th in 33:58.56).
The Sun Devils now will await word from the NCAA as at-large selections into the NCAA Cross Country Championships (Nov. 20) in Terre Haute, Ind., are set to be released Monday afternoon.