LOUISVILLE, Colo.—Junior Shelby Houlihan posted a career best fourth-place finish as the No. 26 women’s team finished sixth overall at the 2013 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Coal Creek Golf Course.
Houlihan crossed the finish line with a time of 21:19, one second ahead of the fifth-place finisher. The team finished with 139 total points, improving on its ninth-place finish in 2012.
“I think our team really engaged and made a very concerted effort to execute our race plan,” women’s cross country coach Ryan Cole said. “There are definitely areas we can improve on, but there definitely is an improvement on last year.”
On the men’s side, redshirt senior Garrett Seawell led the Sun Devils with a 13th place finish at 25:32, as the men’s team finished fourth overall with 140 total points, two ahead of fifth-place Washington.
“It’s hard to glean anything from running at 5,300 feet, but we ran tough,” men’s cross country coach Louie Quintana said. “We ran hard, we ran tough and we competed really well, all things we can take with us over the next few weeks going into the regional meet. We just have to continue to race better. We finished behind three storied programs and we’re going to be fine.”
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Herson finished 22nd overall with a time of 25:53. A season ago, Herson finished 25th at the conference meet. Herson was followed by freshman Bernie Montoya’s 32nd place finish at 26:05.
“We ran nine guys today and seven of them are walk-ons,” Quintana continued. “Nobody in the conference is doing what we’re doing. I was proud of how those guys fought, I was proud of Bernie, for a freshman, to run the way he did, and he’s going to run even better in the regional meet. We’re just in a good spot right now.”
Also scoring on the men’s side, redshirt junior Garrett Baker-Slama posted a career-best placement at 35th overall with a time of 26:13, and redshirt senior Steven Schnieders finished at 26:18 for 39th overall.
For the women’s side, sophomore Adriana Olivas crossed the finish line 16th overall with a time of 22:10. Olivas cut 26 seconds off her time in 2012 of 22:36, and shot up from a 72nd place finish in last year’s conference meet.
Freshman Chiara Warner rounded out ASU’s finishers in the top-30 with a 26th place finish at 22:32. In her first Pac-12 Championships appearance, freshman Kala Stone finished 39th overall at 22:56, while ASU’s final scorer, freshman Jenna Maack, finished 56th with a time of 23:37.
“We want to be excited about our individual improvements,” Cole added. “That’s Shelby’s best placing at the conference meet, it’s the best placing for Adriana, and a great start for Chiara. We know that we can be a better team, but this is a great start.”
No. 1 Colorado defended its two-time men’s title with each of its five scorers finishing in the top-10 for an overall team score of 28. Individually, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek finished first with a time of 24:36. On the women’s side, No. 1 Arizona placed three runners in the top-6 and recorded 69 points overall to take the team crown. Individually, Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe crossed the finish line first at 21:04.
In the Territorial Cup series between Arizona State and conference rival Arizona, the ASU men picked up a point over the Wildcats, who finished eighth overall as a team. The Arizona women’s team picked up the point at stake on its side.
The Pac-12 Conference will air coverage of the championships on Monday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m. PT.
Up next, the ASU cross country teams travel to Sacramento, Calif., for the NCAA West Regional on Friday, Nov. 15.