Oct. 12, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - Shelby Houlihan clocked the fastest 6,000-meter cross country race in school history and the Arizona State University men took 21st overall to earn valuable at-large points as the team finished up competition on Friday at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis.
In her first 6k of the season, Houlihan clocked a time of 19:58 for a 13th-place overall finish in a field of 327 to establish herself as having the fastest time ahead of ASU Olympian Amy Hastings at the top of the school's all-time performance list.
Granted, all courses are different, but Houlihan is just the second individual in school history to go under 20 minutes after Hastings did it in a runner-up finish at the 2005 NCAA West Regional Championships at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. Hastings' race used a different timing system, but because times round up, Hastings' time of 19:58.4 would have been a 19:59 in the timing system used in Wisconsin, thus giving Houlihan the record.
Houlihan, just a sophomore, has continued her streak of being the top ASU finisher at every race she has competed in as a Sun Devil.
On the rest of the women's side, Natasa Vulic was 162nd in a time of 21:09 and was followed almost immediately by sophomore Macy Bricks in a time of 21:10 in 166th. Rounding out the scoring for ASU was Adriana Olivas in 183rd in 21:17 and Hailey Hanna in 21:27.
Overall, the women finished 31st out of 48 teams while Iowa State was the team champion.
The men took their first step towards earning an NCAA Championship qualification on Friday, finishing 21st of 45 teams despite entering the competition in the somewhere around 30th on paper entering the meet.
ASU defeated ranked teams in No. 13 Notre Dame, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 29 Virginia and No. 30 Missouri as well as several other teams that might be on the bubble when the championship field is decided next month.
And they did it while not running the best race they could have.
Kansas transfer Zach Zarda paced the men in just his second race as a Sun Devil, clocking an impressive time of 23:57 to finish 37th overall in the field of 316 at the Zimmer Championship Course.
Senior Nick Happe was next across the line in 24:18 in 108th and he led a pretty tight pack as he was followed by Ryan Herson in 24:22 (117th), Darius Terry in 24:25 (127th) and Garrett Baker-Slama in 24:37 (139th).
With 528 points, ASU was just 41 points behind 16th-place Iowa State, a difference of just a few positions here and there in a race with such a magnitude of participants.
Stanford ended up as the team champions of the competition and ASU finished as the third best team of Pac-12 competitors between the Cardinal and UCLA (10th).
The Sun Devils will now return to action in two weeks at the Pac-12 Championships in Santa Clarita, Calif., on October 27.