Aug. 30, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz. - Following one of the more successful seasons in program history, the Arizona State University cross country program will hit the trails for the first time in 2006 this weekend as the team travels north to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Ariz., for the George Kyte Invitational Saturday afternoon. The meet, which is hosted by Northern Arizona, will feature a women's 5k race at 4 p.m. with the men's 8k run following at 4:30 p.m.
LET'S REVIEW - WOMEN
The Sun Devil women enter 2006 after finishing fourth in the nation in 2005, their highest finish ever and the first trophy finish in the history of the program. Led by the program's first three-time All-American Amy Hastings, the women placed fourth in Terre Haute, Ind., after placing second in the Pac-10 Conference and the NCAA West Region. Arizona State's trip to the national meet was the women's seventh in a row, currently one of the longest streaks in the nation.
LET'S REVIEW - MEN
For the first time in program history, the men advanced to the NCAA Championships in back-to-back seasons and placed 17th overall, one year removed from taking eighth. After placing fifth in the conference, the men surged ahead in the regional meet to finish third and earn one of 13 at-large berths into the national meet. The 2005 team was led by a pair of all-regional selections, including Ryan Warrenburg and Casey Burchill, both of whom were seniors.
TRACKING DOWN SUCCESS
Following the women's trophy finish in the cross country national meet, the distance runners helped the women's program on the track as the Sun Devils enjoyed perhaps the most successful season in school history. On the strength of Amy Hastings' 5,000m national title on the indoor track, the Sun Devils placed third to earn their second trophy of the year. Then, on the outdoor surface, Victoria Jackson captured the 10,000m national crown to help the women finish fourth overall, earning their third trophy of the year and making ASU just the second women's program in NCAA history to earn three trophies in one academic year. MORE
ON THE TRACK
The national success the distance runners helped Arizona State claim was not the only solid contribution made last year. The women's harriers also collected 71 of the team's 154 points en route to claiming the program's first Pac-10 team championship. Cross country athletes that won titles for the women included Brooke Bennett (steeplechase), Victoria Jackson (5,000m) and Amy Hastings (10,000m). The men's runners also had one champion as Aaron Aguayo won his third Pac-10 steeplechase crown in a row.
ON THE HORIZON
The 2006 schedule for the Sun Devils is nearly identical to the 2005 slate with only to locations changing from one year ago. Following the George Kyte Invitational this weekend, the Sun Devils will return to Tucson for the Dave Murray Invitational (Sept. 15) before heading to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis (Sept. 23). The Sun Devils then host the ASU Invitational on Oct. 7, moving it to a Saturday morning for the first time. One week later, ASU heads to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-National meet while others remain home for the Canyon West Classic. The championships season gets underway on Oct. 28 with the Pac-10 Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., before the teams head to Portland, Ore., for the Nov. 11 NCAA West Region Championships. The NCAA Championships close out the season on Nov. 20 in Terre Haute.
The Sun Devils will be looking to extend recent streaks of competing in the national championships this season with the women in search of their ninth-consecutive appearance and the men looking for their third in a row. Dating back to 1998, the women have competed in every NCAA Championship meet, placing in the Top 25 each time and recording Top 10 finishes three times, including the last two years. The men have made the 32-team field four time, including the last two meets, and have placed among the Top 20 every time.
Last year, five women and one man earned All-Pac-10 honors with just one of the women returning for the 2006 season. On the women's side, Amy Hastings and Anna Masinelli each collected first team honors while second team selections went to Rachel Ellison, Victoria Jackson and Jenna Kingma, the lone returning runner. The men saw Ryan Warrenburg collect second team honors.
The 2006 roster features 20 women and 17 men with three women and six men coming to Tempe as true freshmen. For the women, 13 runners return from last year with three of the women coming off a redshirt season while the men return 11 athletes with five entering the season following a redshirt campaign. The women will return six athletes that competed in either the Pac-10, West Region and/or NCAA Championships, including Brooke Bennett, Whitney Hardt, Jenna Kingma, Corey Randall, Cassie Rios and Angela Spadafino. The men have four runners back that competed in the championship meets including Kal Clark, Eric Dall, Joey Heller and David Mehlhorn. The men also will bring back Aaron Aguayo, who competed in all three meets in 2004, and Kyle Alcorn, who competed for Oregon in 2004.
HELLO, MY NAME IS...
Six women and seven men are on the roster for their first cross country season with the Sun Devils in 2006, including three women and six men entering as true freshmen. For the women, the rookie class includes Whitney Blue, Kari Hardt and Jenn Schraven while the men's freshman class includes Collin Eckelman, Ben Engelhardt, Mikias Gelagle, Jeff Helmer, Garrett Kelly and Patrick Milloy. The women's newcomers also include junior transfers Jenny Cohen (Scottsdale CC) and Sereena Harmon (Paradise Valley CC) and the addition of D'Metra Macedon, a member of the 2006 track and field team. The lone non-rookie on the men's side is Kyle Alcorn who joins the squad after sitting the 2005 season following his transfer from Oregon.
Last year, Whitney Hardt completed her redshirt freshman season with the Sun Devils and ran in four races, including the Pac-10 Championships. This year, she welcomes her younger sister Kari to the team. The addition of the younger Hardt marks the second time in as many years that siblings have appeared on the ASU roster after JJ Duke and younger sister Krystal Duke were teammates in 2005.
The Sun Devil rosters boast 12 women and seven men hailing from the state of Arizona with another five and three, respectively, calling California home. The two remaining women and four of the remaining seven men call the eastern portion of the United States their home. For the women, the Sun Devils have one runner each from Ohio and Vermont (the most eastern representative on the roster) while the four eastern men hail from Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio.
Louie Quintana returns for his third season at the helm of the Sun Devil program in 2006 and will look to continue the recent trend of success the Sun Devils have enjoyed under him. The 2006 USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year for Women's Distance Track & Field, Quintana's runners made great strides in 2005 with his women playing a vital role in the program's first 'Triple Crown' as ASU secured trophy finishes (Top 4) at all three NCAA Championships (third at the indoor NCAA meet and fourth at both the NCAA cross country and NCAA outdoor track & field meet). His harriers also struck gold on the track, including national titles for Amy Hastings in the indoor 5,000m run and Victoria Jackson in the outdoor 10,000m event. His women also played a vital role in the success of the Sun Devils at the Pac-10 meet as three individual champions and 71 points scored helped secure the team's first conference team championship crown.
NEXT TIME OUT
Following a week off from competition, the Sun Devils return to the road as they travel south for the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 15 in Tucson.