FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – It may be just one meet, but the Arizona State University men’s team has plenty to be excited about while the women’s exhibited some promise in their youth following the squad’s season opener at the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Herson was second overall among collegians in a blistering 24:56.1 to lead the men to a second-place finish behind the heavily favored host, NAU. The Lumberjacks, ranked second in the country, finished with 25 points to ASU’s 40 on the 8,000-meter course at Buffalo Park.
Herson was 11 seconds behind race-winner Matt McElroy of NAU, finishing in 24:56.1, the fastest time ever for a Sun Devil on the course and the first time an ASU runner broke the 25 minute barrier in Flagstaff – a feat made just as impressive by the fact that Flagstaff is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
Herson led a pack of Sun Devils that posted the best run ever at the course as a total of six runners broke 26 minutes – a feat that had only been accomplished three time in program history prior to Saturday.
Redshirt junior Garrett Baker-Slama was fifth overall in the competition in 25:10.1 before a pack of five Sun Devils crossed the line in succession in spots 10 through 14, paced by freshman phenom Bernie Montoya who finished in 25:46.2 despite taking the pace out a little too quickly early on, according to head coach Louie Quintana.
Senior captain Steven Schnieders was next in line in 25:52.1 while sophomore Jeff Bickert scored the first ‘A’ team points of his career to round out the scoring for ASU in 25:53.9. C.J. Albertson, competing unattached, clocked at time of 26:00.1 that was 15th among all competitors.
Daniel Wong and Ryan Norton didn’t score for the Sun Devils, but posted solid finishes in 13th and 14th in 26:09.2 and 26.25.4, respectively.
On the women’s side, true freshmen Chelsey Totten and Jenna Maack were sixth and seventh, respectively in 17:24.0 and 17:31.8 in the first action in the Maroon and Gold. Those times were the second and third fastest times over 5,000 meters in program history.
Fellow true freshman Miranda Kewley ran a solid race in 17:42.8 to take 11th overall while junior Shaina Corbin was 12th in 17:43.3. Kayla Springford rounded out the scoring for the Sun Devils in 18:01.9 to finish 15th overall.
The women, as team, were third in the competition with 51 points behind No. 7 Arizona (31) and Northern Arizona (36).
The Sun Devils will be back in action in the low-key Artichoke Invitational in Scottsdale, Ariz., next Saturday followed by the Dave Murray Invite in Tucson, Ariz., the following Friday.