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Sun Devil Cross Country Has Southwestern Flavor
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 06/21/1999
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October 13, 1998

Next Matchup:
Friday, Oct. 16
ASU Invitational; Freestone Park, Gilbert, Ariz.
3:45 pm (PT): Open Race
4:30 pm (PT): Women's Invitational 5K
5:00 pm (PT): Men's Invitational 8K

This Week: Arizona State hosts its own cross country invitational this Friday, Oct. 16 at Freestone Park in Gilbert, Ariz. The ASU Invitational will have a southwestern flavor as all 10 Division I schools participating in the meet are from California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. In addition, one Division II school and seven Arizona junior colleges will compete. The first of three races begins at 3:45 p.m.

Sun Devils Ranked: For the first time in Arizona State history, the womens cross country squad is ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation. ASU bolted into the poll at number 15 after its sixth-place finish Saturday at the Bob Timmons Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. The 32-team field included nine ranked squads at the time of the meet, three of whom ASU defeated. ASUs men received votes for the second time in three weeks, but did not crack the top 25. The Sun Devils six votes would give them a No. 33 ranking.

The Field: Four of the nations top 15 womens teams and two of the countrys top five mens teams will compete in this yars ASU Invitational. Headlining the meet is Stanford, whose men are the two-time defending NCAA champions while the women are the reigning Pac-10 champions and finished second at the 1997 NCAA meet. The Cardinal men are ranked first in the nation and are led by the Hauser twins, Brad and Brent, who finished 1-2 in the 10,000 meters at the 1998 NCAA Track & Field Championships. Stanfords women are ranked second in the nation. Arizona also has both its teams ranked in the nations top 10 (men 5th, women 6th) and Northern Arizona has both of its teams ranked in the nations top 25 (men 21st, women 12th).

Next Meet: Saturday, Oct. 31 Pac-10 Championships; Eugene, Ore.

Men's Probable Lineups
Name, Yr.              Hometown (Last School)           Notes   
Joe Agostinelli, Fr.   Traverse City, Mich. (Central)   All-state in Michigan for XC and track; ran 26:38 at Cal Irvine Invl
Kris Alexander, Fr.    Franklin, Ind. (Franklin)        Finished 7th in Indiana HS 1600m; ran 26:18 at Cal Irvine Invl
Fasil Bizuneh, Fr.     Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis)   5th at 1997 Foot Locker XC Nationals; 1996 Indiana HS XC Champion
Ron Buchanan, Fr.      Santa Maria, Calif. (Ragetti)    7th at 1997 Foot Locker XC Nationals; 97 CIF Div. II XC Champion
David Burke, So.       San Diego, Calif. (Torrey Pines) 53rd at 1997 Pac-10s
Juan Chavira, Fr.      Hanford, Calif. (Hanford)        ASUs top finisher in first two meets; All-California in XC & T/F
Isaiah Festa, Fr.      Morro Bay, Calif. (Morro Bay)    3rd at 1997 Foot Locker XC Nationals; 97 CIF Div. IV XC Champion
David Grex, So.        Burlington, Ill. (Burlington)    Finished 9th at Oct. 3 Canyon Invitational
Brandon Strong, So.    Phoenix, Ariz. (Paradise Valley) 54th at 1997 Pac-10s

Women's Probable Lineups Name Hometown (Last School) Notes Lisa Aguilera, Fr. Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial) Arizona 1997 state champion in XC, 800, 1600 & 3200 Lauren Anders, Fr. Medford, N.J. (Shawnee) All-New Jersey; XC high school team ranked 17th in nation Priscilla Hein, Sr. Dewey, Ariz. (Yavapai) Returns from redshirting last year; finished 25th at 96 Pac-10s Kelly MacDonald, So. Tualatin, Ore. (Tualitin) 39th at 1997 Pac-10s, second-best ASU finish Amy Maciasek, So. Arden Hills, Minn. (Mounds View) 51st at 1997 Pac-10s; 18:37 at Sundodger Invitational a career-best Kristin McFerron, Fr. St Charles, Mo. (St. Charles) St. Louis Post-Dispatch Female Athlete of the Year Nicole Simmons, So. Glendale Ariz. (Park College) All-state at Peoria HS Cody Sohn, Fr. Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) All-Indiana in XC & T/F; finished 5th at 1997 Indiana state meet

Last Week: Arizona State earned the respect of the national cross country community with a solid showing at the Bill Timmons Invitational at Rim Rock Farm, the site of the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships. ASUs women finished sixth in a field of 32 teams that included nine ranked squads. The Sun Devil women defeated No. 9 Colorado, No. 15 Oregon, No. 17 Minnesota and No. 21 South Florida. The men finished 16th out of 32, including 14 ranked teams. ASUs men defeated No. 11 Northern Arizona, No. 20 Washington State and No. 23 Illinois State. Stanford won both the mens and womens titles.

Head Coach Walt Drenth: Veteran distance coach Walt Drenth is in his third year as Head Cross Country Coach at Arizona State University, after spending the previous six years (1990-95) at the College of William & Mary. Drenth led the Tribe to five Colonial Athletic Association cross country titles and one District II crown in 1990. He was named the CAA Cross Country Coach of the Year on five occasions and also tabbed as District II Coach of the Year in 1990 and 1995. While at William & Mary, Drenth led his harriers to three top 20 NCAA finishes (15th-1990, 18th-1994, 17th-1995). Prior to his stint at William & Mary, Drenth was the head cross country coach at his alma mater, Central Michigan, from 1985-90. During his stint at Central Michigan, he was named District IV Coach of the Year in 1989 after leading CMU to the District IV title. He led the Chippewas to two Mid-American Conference titles and named MAC Coach of the Year in both of those seasons, 1988 & 1989.

Youthful Exuberance: Arizona States cross country roster is littered with freshmen and sophomores and it is those freshman and sophomores who, for the most part, are leading ASU cross country to new heights. Of the 11 Sun Devils who have competed this season for the mens squad, six are freshmen and four are sophomores. The only upperclassmen to compete is senior Vondre Armour at the Canyon West Invitational. On the womens side, five freshmen, six sophomores and one senior have competed for ASU this year.

Priscilla Hein The Veteran: Senior Priscilla Hein (Prescott, Ariz.) is the only upperclassmen for ASUs men or women who has run in more than one race this season. More than that, Hein is the undisputed leader of ASUs womens squad, having led the Sun Devil women in all three races she has competed in, including a 17th-place finish at the Bob Timmons Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. Hein redshirted last season after leading ASU in 1996, when she finished 25th at the Pac-10 meet and 22nd at Regionals, the highest finish by a Sun Devil at regionals in four years. 1996 was Heins first year at Arizona State after she was a two-time junior college All-American at Yavapai JC, whom she led to the 1994 NJCAA national title.

Sensational Six: Six freshmen have competed for ASUs men this season and they have led the way for the Sun Devils. In fact, ASUs top five finishers at the Bob Timmons Invitational last week were all freshmen. Juan Chavira led the Sun Devils in each of their first two races, finishing 7th at the California Irvine Invitational and third at the Sundodger Invitational. Fasil Bizuneh led ASU in Kansas last week, finishing 39th. At the Bob Timmons Invitational, in a 32-team field that included 14 top-25 squads, ASU fielded five of the top 18 freshmen at the meet and two of the top 3. Of the 51 freshmen who competed in the meet, Bizuneh was 1st, Chavira 3rd, Ron Buchanan 10th, Isaiah Festa 11th and Kris Alexander 18th. Only 13 freshmen finished in the upper-half of the 259-person race and four were from ASU. The only other schools to have multiple freshmen finish in the upper-half of the race were Arizona, Iona and N.C. State, each placing two freshmen in the top 130. Add to the mix Joe Agostinelli, who was in ASUs top 8 at both the Cal Irvine Invitational and Sundodger Invitational, and ASU has six freshmen who are among the top nine runners on the squad.

Last Years ASU Invitational: The ASU Invitational was held at Freestone Park for the first time ever and Stanford came away with both the mens and womens titles. ASUs women finished second to Stanford as Sun Devil Mary Duerbeck (redshirting with an injury this season) captured the womens individual championship in 18:14. The mens individual title went to Abilene Christians Fallody Moonga in 24:50. ASUs men finished sixth as a team.

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