Nov. 16, 2009
TEMPE – The Arizona State University men’s and women’s cross country teams have both been selected as at-large competitors for the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the national governing body announced Sunday night. The Sun Devils, ranked No. 13 and No. 16 in the nation, respectively, were both chosen as one of the 13 at-large teams for the national meet based upon their accumulated finishes throughout the season.
When the women head to Terre Haute, Ind., and the LaVern Gibson Championship Course on November 23, they will be making their 12th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships, which stands as the third-longest active streak in the nation and the eighth-longest in the history of the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships. Recently, the Sun Devil women finished fourth in the NCAA West Region Championships and saw four its runners place among the Top 25 to earn all-region accolades, including Kari Hardt (16th), Anna Sperry (18th), Lindsay Prescott (20th) and Allie Kieffer (21st).
The men are returning to the NCAA Championships for the sixth time in program history and the first time since 2007 after tying for fifth place in the West region on Saturday. Brandon Bethke, who has placed in the Top 10 all season, placed seventh overall in the competitive west race and earned all-region accolades while teammate Ben Engelhardt nearly joined him on that team, placing 26th and missing by one position.
The women last competed in the NCAA meet at the end of the 2008 season and placed 14th overall while the men have made the national field for the first time since 2007, when they placed 26th overall. The women have earned a pair of trophy finishes at the national meet (Top 4 placement) with fourth-place showings in Terre Haute in 2005 and 2007 while the men are in search of their first Top 4 finish.