Nov. 16, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State women's cross country team continued to excel behind the strong running of its freshmen harriers to post 70 points, the best total for an ASU team in school history, and finish as regional runner-ups at the 2002 NCAA West Region Meet in Palo Alto, Calif., Saturday. With their second-place finish, tied for the best finish set in 2000, the Sun Devil women earned an automatic berth into the 2002 NCAA Championships, to be run Nov. 25 in Terre Haute, Ind. The men compiled 125 points to finish fifth and will now wait to see if they are selected as one of 13 at large entrants. Stanford, the No. 1 men's and No. 2 women's teams in the nation, won their respective races.
"It was a total team effort for the women today," Walt Drenth, ASU head coach, said. "We had several people out with the flu or injuries and we still stood up to the adversity and finished strong. We raced hard and acted like we wanted to be a part of the national tournament in two weeks. Anna Masinelli (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was a huge difference for us in the race and has show tremendous progress this year. She beat several of the better runners in the region."
Despite their fifth-place finish, Drenth felt the men's progress as a program is increasing each year.
"It says a lot for our program when we came out here today, had a bad race and were still able to finish in the Top 5 of pretty tough region," Drenth said. "JJ (Duke) ran well today, probably the best he has all year. He stepped up and acted like a true leader out there today. I also thought the freshmen ran well. We didn't have a good team effort, though. We are capable of more than what we displayed today."
For the women, freshman Jessica Scalzo (Snoqualmie, Wash.) continued to shine as she was the top Sun Devil finisher for the fifth-consecutive race. She finished the 6,000m race in eighth-place and a time of 21:45. Fellow classmate Amy Hastings (Leavenworth, Kan.) followed Scalzo in 10th place (21:48) while Masinelli clocked a 21:53 for 13th place. Desiree Davila (Chula Vista, Calif.), who was fighting the flu, finished in 18th (22:05) and Cody Sohn (Carmel, Ind.) rounded out the scoring in 23rd with a 22:14. The Top 25 finishers, which includes all five scorers for ASU, earned all-region honors.
On the men's side, sophomore JJ Duke (Clovis, Calif.) led the team with an 11th-place finish (30:49) on the 10,000m course to help compile the third-best team total in school history (125). Trailing Duke was senior Fasil Bizuneh (Indianapolis, Ind.), 13th at 30:50, senior Ronnie Buchanan (Santa Maria, Calif.), 30th at 31:45, freshman Aaron Aguayo (Phoenix, Ariz.), 32nd at 31:48 and freshman Ryan Warrenburg (Franklin, Ind.), 39th a 31:59. Duke and Bizuneh earned all-region honors and a ticket to the national meet at the end of the month. The NCAA invites the Top 4 finishers in each regional race that are members of teams that did not qualify for the NCAA meet. The pair of Sun Devils will join Portland's Matt Harriman (10th place) and Cal Poly's David Jackson (14th place) in Terre Haute, Ind., where Bizuneh will look to the become the school's first three-time cross country All-American.
The NCAA Championships close out the cross country season with the meet being conducted Monday, Nov. 25 on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.