Sept. 3, 2011
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- The Arizona State University men's cross country team took home the team title while the women scored a runner-up finish in the season opener at the George Kyle Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Saturday.
Darius Terry, who came to ASU last season after transferring from Northern Arizona, returned to Flagstaff in style by winning the men's individual crown handily over the 8,000-meter course in a time of 25:38.8, about two-and-a-half minutes quicker than his time on the same course last season. It was the first time a member of the men's team had ever won the individual title at the event.
Terry led a pack of Sun Devils as the team scored their lowest total in race history with 26 points to win the competition for just the second time in the school's history at the meet - with the other victory coming in 2005. All six men scored top-10 finishes as the team edged runner-up Northern Arizona by four points.
Nick Happe was next in line for ASU, finishing third in 26:05.8. Matt Boughton was next across the line in 26:23.7 and Daniel Lovell (8th, 26:38.5) and Cameron Liston (9th, 26:40.3) rounded out the scoring positions for the Sun Devils. Redshirt freshman Garrett Baker-Slamarounded out the top-10 in his first race in the Maroon and Gold in a time of 26:45.0.
The women's side fared nearly as well as the men, coming second to Arizona by a mere three points. Natasha Vulic ran the fastest time of any Sun Devil in the history of the George Kyte Classic, finishing fourth in 17:38.0. Junior teammate Catherine Loden was right on her heels, running the second-fastest ASU time at the meet in history with a fifth place, 17:45.3 performance. Kate Lydy was next across the line for Arizona State, finishing eighth in 18:01.5 just ahead of senior Kauren Tarver who was ninth in 18:07.0. Freshman Mackenzie Makirounded out the ASU scoring in his first career race, finishing 15th in 18:35.7.
A shaky start to the day wasn't enough to phase the Sun Devil teams, as both posted their strongest finish in several years at the competition despite only arriving at Buffalo Park just half an hour before the start of the women's race after the team bus got caught up in a massive traffic jam caused by an accident on the highway just outside Flagstaff.
At the start of the men's race, junior Doug Smithwas tripped up at the start and was unable to continue. Despite the obstacles, the Sun Devil squad looked prime for a strong season as they prepare to host the first-ever Pac-12 Championships in October.
The Sun Devils will be back in action in two weeks at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson on Friday, Sept. 16.