Oct. 5, 1999
TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State hosts its only home meet of the season this Firday, Oct. 8 at Freestone Park in Gilbert, Ariz. ASU's top runners will not see action for the second straight week as ASU prepares for the NCAA Pre-National meet Oct. 16 in Bloomington, Ind., site of this year's NCAA Championships. The Sun Devils' reserves will hit the course at Freestone Park in three races: an open race at 3:45 p.m., the women's championship invitational at 4:30 p.m. and the men's championship invitational at 5:00 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 8 - Arizona State Invitational, Freestone Park, Gilbert, Ariz.
Open Race: 3:45 p.m. (PT), Women's Race: 4:30 p.m. (PT), 5K, Men's Race: 5:00 p.m. (PT), 8K
The Field: Eighteen schools will participate in the ASU Invitational. Division I participants include Arizona State, New Mexico, Utah and UTEP. Division II, NAIA and junior colleges particpating are Adams State College, Central Arizona CC, Concordia (Irvine), Dine CC, Fort Lewis College, Glendale CC, Mesa CC, Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix CC, Pima CC, Scottsdale CC, UC Davis, Western State College and Yavapai CC.
Sun Devils Ranked: Arizona State's women are ranked fourth in the latest FinishLynx national rankings, dropping one spot this after vaulting 13 slots to No. 3 last week. ASU's men are at No. 17 for the second consecutive week. It is the first year in ASU history that its men's team is ranked. ASU's women were ranked for the first time ever last year.
Last Time Out: Arizona State's Nicole Simmons and Charles Sharpe led the women and men, respectively, as ASU ran its reserves at the Canyon West Classic. Simmons finished fourth in 17:56.1 and Sharpe placed fifth overall in 27:00.1. Former Sun Devil Priscilla Hein (17:41) won the women's race while Northern Arizona's Ryan Thomas (25:42) captured the men's contest.
Double 'W': Arizona State's women's team has opened the season with two consecutive team victories at the UC Irvine Invitational and Roy Griak Invitational. The last time ASU's women won in back-to-back outings came in the 1993 season when the Sun Devils captured the Grand Canyon Invitational and UNLV Invitational.
Improvement: If ASU's first meet is any indication, one year can make a big difference. Running the same course that it began the 1998 season on, ASU's times dramatically improved almost across the board. As a team ASU's point totals improved from 103 to 62 (-51) on the men's side and from 133 to 22 (-111) for the women. Here's a look at ASU's runners who took part in both meets:
|Women||1998 Time/Place||1999 Time/Place||Difference||Men||1998 Time/Place||1999 Time/Place||Difference|
|Lisa Aguilera||19:03/26||17:34/2||1:29/24||Joe Agostinelli||26:38/48||26:59/59||+0:21/+11|
|Kelly MacDonald||19:09/29||17:47/3||1:22/26||Kris Alexander||26:18/41||25:08/14||1:10/27|
|Amy Maciasek||19:23/38||18:20/9||1:03/29||Fasil Bizuneh||25:31/18||24:47/5||0:48/13|
|Cody Sohn||19:10/30||18:27/12||0:43/18||David Burke||26:09/34||26:03/35||0:06/+1|
Head Coach Walt Drenth: Walt Drenth, in his fourth year as Head Cross Country Coach at Arizona State University, has taken the Sun Devils to unprecedented heights. ASU's appearance at the 1998 Women's NCAA Championships (finished 23rd) was the first in school history after the Sun Devil women matched their best-ever finish at the Pac-10 meet (4th) and recorded their best regional finish (sixth) since 1986. ASU's men, running with five freshmen and two sophomores, registered their best season of the decade in 1998 as the Sun Devils finished fourth at the Pac-10s (best men's finish ever) and eighth at regionals (best finish since 1986). Drenth came to Tempe after spending the previous six years (1990-95) at the College of William & Mary and six years at Central Michigan (1985-90). He is a seven-time conference coach of the year and two-time District Coach of the Year and has led four squads to the NCAA Championships.
Up Next: ASU travels to Bloomington, Ind., for the NCAA Pre-National Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 16. The course is the site of this year's NCAA Championships, held Nov. 22.