Oct. 27, 2010
TEMPE - The opening weekend of championship competition is upon the Arizona State University cross country team this weekend as the Sun Devils travel to Seattle, Wash., on Saturday for the 2010 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships. The meet, which is being hosted by Washington, will be held at Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle and will feature the women’s 6,000m run at 10 a.m. and the men’s 8,000m run at 11 a.m.
TERRITORIAL CUP SERIES
The State Farm Territorial Cup Series returns for it second year during the 2010-11 academic season and points are up for grabs this Saturday between Arizona State and Arizona. Based upon who finishes ahead of the other at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, one point will be awarded to the winning team’s overall total with two points available in Seattle (one for the men and one for the women). Currently, ASU leads the early standings, 1-0, after taking a 2-1 victory in soccer. Volleyball plays hosts to the Wildcats on Friday night in Tempe and, with a win, will split the one point after falling in Tucson earlier this season. For more on the State Farm Territorial Cup Series, click HERE.
IN THE RANKINGS
In the latest U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, neither Sun Devil team is receiving votes in the national poll while both remain in the Top 10 in the West Region. In the regional rankings, the women are No. 7 overall while the men are No. 8.
MEET INFO: PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Pac-10 Cross Country Championships consists of two races, the 25th annual women’s 6,000m run and the 41st annual men’s 8,000m run. The women’s race leads of the day’s competitions with a 10 a.m. start while the men’s race closes out the day with an 11 a.m. start. The Washington women and Stanford men enter the meet as the defending champions after winning their titles last year in Long Beach, Calif. (USC hosted).
YOU CAN WATCH IT LIVE!
Flotrack.org will be broadcasting the 2010 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships live from Seattle on Saturday. To view the races, visit Flotrack.org, click on Conference Championship Central and scroll down to the Pac-10 logo. You can also use the following link: http://www.flotrack.org/videos/coverage/view/237765/live. The Pac-10 also will have a live stream on its site.
FROM THE WIRE
To prepare fans for the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, the Pac-10 went around the conference and chatted with members of each of the team set to compete. Their stop in Tempe produced stories with Lindsay Prescott and Ben Engelhardt, both of which have been the front-runners for the Sun Devils this year. You can visit the Pac-10.org web site to read all the stories. To read about the two Sun Devils, click on the links below:
IN THE FIELD: PAC-10 WOMEN
All 10 schools that make up the current Pac-10 Conference will be represented in the conference meet on Saturday with five of those squads ranked among the Top 22 in the USTFCCCA National Top 30 poll. Those ranked teams include No. 2 Oregon, No. 6 Arizona, No. 9 Stanford, No. 20 Washington and No. 22 California. Seven schools are currently ranked in the Top 10 of the USTFCCCA West Region Top 15, including No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Washington, No. 5 California, No. 7 Arizona State and No. 9 UCLA.
IN THE FIELD: PAC-10 MEN
Similar to the women’s race, half of the teams in the field are receiving votes this week in the USTFCCCA Top 30, including two teams in the Top 3. Stanford enters as the No. 1 team in the nation while Oregon is close behind at No. 3 California, at No. 22 is the only other ranked team while UCLA is just outside the Top 30, but is receiving votes. Seven of the eight teams in the Pac-10 (USC and Oregon State do not have a men’s team) are ranked among the Top 12 in the USTFCCCA West Region Top 15, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Oregon, No. 4 California, No. 5 UCLA, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 11 Washington and No. 12 Washington State.
MEET HISTORY: PAC-10
The men will be competing in the Pac-10 Championships for the 27th time this year while the women will run for the 25th time since the Sun Devils joined the Conference in 1979, but began competing in the cross country event in 1984 and 1986, respectively. While neither team has won the Conference crown, both have come close as the men have finished as the meet runner-up twice (the last coming in 2004) and the women have done so seven times (the last coming in 2006). Overall, the men have finished the Top 3 four times while the women have done so 10 times. On an individual basis, only one Sun Devil has ever been crowned the Pac-10 Champion and that was Amy Hastings, who won the race at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 2004.
MEET HISTORY: SEATTLE IN 2000
The last time the Pac-10 Championships were held in Seattle came at the end of the 2000 season when the women took a close second to Stanford and the men were fourth overall. In the men’s race, Stanford won with 21 points while the Sun Devils scored 114. On the women’s side, the Cardinal edged the Sun Devils by 16 points (51-67), marking the eighth-closest team finish in Conference history. In overall scoring, the women’s 67 points that year rank as the sixth-lowest total in team history. The 114 points scored by the men that year currently ranks as the 10th-lowest in program history. Individually, Lisa Aguilera took runner-up honors to mark the best finish in program history. Fasil Bizuneh (2001) tied that mark in 2001 for the men with his second-place showing before Hastings bested them all in 2004 with her win.
MEET HISTORY: STATE OF WASHINGTON
Saturday’s meet will mark the third time the Sun Devils have competed for a Pac-10 title at one of the Washington schools after Washington (2000) and Washington State (2003) hosted in the early 2000’s. Including a second-place showing in Pullman for the women and a fifth-place showing for the men, the women have earned two, runner-up finishes in their appearances the state of Washington while the men have finished in the Top 5 both times.
MEET RECAP: 2009 PAC-10
Both teams finished third in the 2009 Pac-10 Championships and placed a pair of individuals in the Top 15 of each race at the event hosted by USC in Long Beach, Calif. Kari Hardt led the charge for the women as she finished seventh overall to claim First Team All-Pac-10 honors while Allie Kieffer was 15th overall, missing second-team accolades by one place. On the men’s side, Brandon Bethke tied a program record for best finish by an ASU man at the Pac-10 meet as he finished second overall to earn First Team All-Pac-10 honors while Ben Engelhardt finished 14th overall to earn Second Team All-Pac-10 accolades.
LOOKING TO BREAK THROUGH
When Anna Sperry won the Dave Murray Invitational last year, she captured the 30th individual title in women’s program history and gave the women at least one race victory in each of the last three seasons six in the last seven. While the women have had individual success, the men are looking to break a drought that has lasted since the 2001 season when Juan Reyes won the UC Irvine-Asics Invitational. In the time between now and Reyes’ victory, the women have captured 13 race titles.
HELLO! MY NAME IS...
Heading into the 2010 season, there are 44 student-athletes on the Sun Devil rosters, including 22 women and 22 men. Of those 44 runners, 17 are new to the team this season, including seven women and 10 men. The women’s newcomers include transfers Alyssa Allison (Arkansas), Eliza Gawryluk (Northern Arizona) and Hailey Hanna (Mesa CC) and freshmen Nathalie Anaya (Windermere, Fla.), Christina Price (Tucson, Ariz.), Jade Riley (Glendale, Ariz.) and Kailey Rumbo (Phoenix, Ariz.). On the men’s side, the 10 newcomers are comprised of three transfers in Michael Rodriguez (ASU’s club team), Darius Terry (Northern Arizona) and Brian Yates (Queens Univ. of Charlotte) and freshmen Garrett Baker-Slama (Tempe), Andy Cannata (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Jared Gonzales (Chandler, Ariz.), Andrew Hagler (Chandler, Ariz.), Jesus Molina (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Sean Newport (Tempe, Ariz.) and Jesus Rivera (Sedona, Ariz.).
Like the women, the men’s roster has some similar schools appearing, including a pair of high school teammates and a pair of teammates from another university. Last year, Cameron Liston joined the Sun Devils after running for Northern Arizona University and, this year, he is joined on the roster by Darius Terry, who also competed NAU. A pair of freshmen also are continuing their competitive careers together as both Jared Gonzales and Andrew Hagler both join the squad after running together at Chandler High School.
WITH HARD WORK...
One of the new additions to the program this fall is Michael Rodriguez, who debuts for the Sun Devils as a fifth-year senior. In the past four years, Rodriguez continued to train toward his goal of making the Sun Devil squad by running with the Arizona State club team and even competed in several cross country and track & field events that the Sun Devils hosted during that time. The State Press recently wrote a feature on Rodriguez (statepress.com), which ran on September 15.
Twenty-seven student-athletes return to the roster this year, including five seniors: Cherise McNair, Brianna Smith and Anna Sperry for the women and men’s runners Ben Engelhardt and Zeke Van Patten. Six returners are juniors with three women in Camille Olson, Lindsay Prescott and Kauren Tarver and men Dylan Hatcher, Cameron Liston and Daniel Lovell. The returning sophomores include women Courtney Golden, Catherine Loden, Kate Lydy, Stephanie Mundt, Natasa Vulic and Ashley Wimmer and men Matt Boughton, Nick Happe, Ben Jankunas, Mason McHenry and Doug Smith. The Sun Devils that were with the program last year and redshirted include women Karlee Owens, Natalie Todd and Liz Zuniga and men Matt Estlund and Steven Schnieders.
Of those 44 student-athletes on the roster this fall, only six are listed as senior (three men and three women) with only eight more runners (five women, three men) listed as juniors, giving Arizona State 30 freshmen and sophomores. The freshmen include nine true-freshmen and seven redshirt freshmen.
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
Louie Quintana returns for his seventh year as the head coach of the Sun Devil cross country program, a program in which he took over on August 18, 2004. During his six years leading the distance group, Quintana has worked with seven individuals that earned 10 total All-America honors in cross country, including the program’s only three-time honoree Amy Hastings and, most recently, Brandon Bethke, who placed seventh nationally at the 2009 NCAA meet. On the track, his athletes have been instrumental in helping the Sun Devils capture four national titles and three Pac-10 crowns. He has worked with three individuals that have collected four NCAA titles, including Kyle Alcorn, who won the indoor 3,000m run and the outdoor 3,000m steeplechase in 2008.
Heading into the season, the women’s program will look to continue it’s recent streak of success as the Sun Devils have advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in each of the past 12 season, the third-longest active streak in the nation and the eighth-best all-time. Prior to making the field of 31 in 1998, the women had never competed as a team in the national event.
While the women have built an impressive streak of advancement to the NCAA meet, the men have competed in the event just six times overall, including last season, in which it placed 19th. By making the field of 31 this year, the men would advance to the national championships for the second year in a row, a feat that has happened only one other time when ASU was eighth in 2004 and 17th in 2005. The other national appearances the men made came in 1999, 2001 and 2007.
NEXT TIME OUT
Two weeks after the Pac-10 Championships, the Sun Devils will return to action as they travel to Springfield, Ore., for the 2010 NCAA West Region Meet hosted by Oregon. The meet, just like the eight others in the nation that day, will be used to determine the 31 teams that will compete in the NCAA Championships on November 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. The Top 2 in each region (18 total) will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships and will be joined by 13 at-large selections.