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Cross Country Set to Compete at NCAA West Regionals
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 06/21/1999
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November 13, 1998

Sat., Nov. 14 - NCAA West Regionals; Woodward Park, Fresno, Calif..
11:00 a.m. (MST): Women's Championships -- 5K
Noon (MST): Men's Championships -- 10K

This Week: Arizona State travels to Fresno, Calif., for the 1998 NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships this Saturday, November 14. The Sun Devils are looking to earn their first trip to the NCAA Championships as a team in school history. ASU is coming off its best showing ever at the Pac-10 Championships, as both the men and women finished fourth. That was the best finish ever for the 31-year old men's program and matched the best finish ever for the 20-year old women's program.

Sun Devils Ranked: For the first time in Arizona State history, the women's 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 at the Bob Timmons Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. ASU has remained in the poll since and is 14th in the latest version. ASU's men have received votes in four of the last five polls and its 19 votes would tie the Sun Devils for 29th.

The Field: The West Regional consists of collegiate programs from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska. It is ordinarily dominated by the Pac-10. On the women's side, second-ranked Stanford, No. 9 Washington, No. 11 Arizona and 16th-ranked Oregon join ASU as the ranked teams in the field. On the men's side, three of the top 10 teams in the nation--No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Oregon and zNo. 7 Arizona--are expected to lead the field.

NCAA Championships: Thirty-one teams will qualify for the NCAA Championships, held Nov. 23 in Lawrence, Kan. The top two teams from each of the nine regions automatically qualify with 13 at large berths available to fill out the rest of the field. The criteria for at-large selection in order of importance is: 1. Regional finish; 2. Wins against qualified national teams; 3. head-to-head competition; 4. record against common oponents; and 5. top individuals. Individually, 217 qualify as part of their team and an additional 38 individuals will be invited. The top four finishers at each region are guaranteed invitations and two additional qualifiers will be selected based on the highest nonqualifying regional finish.

Last Meet: As mentioned earlier, ASU's fourth-place finish for both the men and women was the best showing in Sun Devil history. Priscilla Hein became the second Sun Devil in history to earn Pac-10 all conference honors with her sixth-place finish to lead ASU's women. It was the second-best finish at the Pac-10 meet in ASU history, as only Theresa Barrios' fourth-place showing in 1988 outclassed Hein in the Sun Devil record books. On the men's side, five freshmen scored for the Sun Devils, led by the top 20 finishes of Juan Chavira (14th), Isaiah Festa (15th) and Fasil Bizuneh (20th). ASU had not had an individual place in the top 20 since 1993 when Erin Scroggins finished ninth.

Earning Resect: Arizona State earned the respect of the national cross country community with a solid showing Oct. 10 at the Bill Timmons Invitational at Rim Rock Farm, the site of the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships. ASU's 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. ASU's men defeated No. 11 Northern Arizona, No. 20 Washington State and No. 23 Illinois State. Stanford won both the men's and women's 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 State's cross country roster is littered with freshmen and sophomores and it is those freshmen and sophomores who, for the most part, are leading ASU cross country to new heights. Of the 14 Sun Devils who have competed this season for the men's squad, six are freshmen and five are sophomores. The only upperclassmen to compete are senior Vondre Armour and junior Ez Hernandez. On the women's 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 ASU's men or women who has run in more than one race this season. More than that, Hein is the undisputed leader of ASU's women's squad, having led the Sun Devil women in all five races she has competed in, including a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships, the second-best ASU finish ever at the Pac-10s. 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 Hein's 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 ASU's men this season and they have led the way for the Sun Devils. In fact, ASU's top five finishers at the Bob Timmons Invitational, ASU Invitational and Pac-10 Championships were all freshmen. Juan Chavira led the Sun Devils in four of six races this season, finishing 7th at the California Irvine Invitational, third at the Sundodger Invitational and 14th at the Pac-10s. Fasil Bizuneh led ASU in Kansas, 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 ASU's 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.

Regional History: According to ASU records, the best finish by a Sun Devil team at a district or regional meet is fifth. The Sun Devil men finished fifth in 1984 behind Mike Stahr's fourth-place effort while the Sun Devil women finished fifth in 1983. Last year, the Sun Devil men placed 11th and ASU's women 10th. The best individual finish in ASU men's history is Tod Lewis' third-place showing in 1991. On the women's side, Teresa Barrios (1988) and Sabrina Peters-Stern (1982) each finished sixth, the only top 10 finishes in ASU history.

Nationals History: Arizona State has never advanced to nationals as a team and only eight individuals (four men, four women) have advanced to the NCAA Championships. The last Sun Devil to compete at nationals was Todd Lewis in 1991 and the last woman to advance was Teresa Barrios in 1988.

Bites: Arizona State's best women's runner from 1997, Mary Duerbeck, is redshirting this year after surgery on her left foot (navicular) ... Arizona State's previous best finish at the Pac-10 Championships was a fifth-place showing by the men in 1986 and a fourth-place showing by the women in 1987 ... only five of ASU's 15 runners have previously competed at the NCAA Regionals.

Men's Probable Lineups

Name               Yr.  Hometown (Last School)             Notes   
Kris Alexander     Fr.  Franklin, Ind. (Franklin)          Finished 7th in Indiana HS 1600m; ran 25:56 at ASU Invitational
Fasil Bizuneh      Fr.  Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis)     5th at 1997 Foot Locker XC Nationals; 4 top 20 finishes this year
Ron Buchanan       Fr.  Santa Maria, Calif. (Ragetti)      7th at 1997 Foot Locker XC Nationals; 10th at ASU Invite in 25:17
David Burke        So.  San Diego, Calif. (Torrey Pines)   26:09 at Cal Irvine a personal best; 101st at Regionals in '97
Juan Chavira       Fr.  Hanford, Calif. (Hanford)          ASU's top finisher in four of 6 meets; All-California in XC & T/F
Isaiah Festa       Fr.  Morro Bay, Calif. (Morro Bay)      3rd at 1997 Foot Locker XC Nationals; 3 top 20 finishes this year
Brandon Strong     So.  Phoenix, Ariz. (Paradise Valley)   25:37 at Sundodger a personal best; 75th at '97 Regionals
Women's Probable Lineups
Name               Yr.  Hometown (Last School)             Notes
Lisa Aguilera      Fr.  Peoria, Ariz. (Centennial)         Arizona 1997 state champion in XC, 800, 1600 & 3200
Priscilla Hein     Sr.  Dewey, Ariz. (Yavapai)             All-Pac-10 performer;  finished 22nd at '96 Regionals
Kelly MacDonald    So.  Tualatin, Ore. (Tualitin)          17:53 at Pac-10s a career best; ran 19:03 and finished 53rd at '97 Regionals
Amy Maciasek       So.  Arden Hills, Minn. (Mounds View)   18:37 at Sundodger Invitational a career-best; 103rd at '97 Regionals
Kristin McFerron   Fr.  St Charles, Mo. (St. Charles)      Ran three times this season, including 38th-place showing at Pac-10s
Nicole Simmons     So.  Glendale Ariz. (Park College)      Season-best 18:30 at Sundodger; finished 39th at Pac-10s
Cody Sohn          Fr.  Carmel, Ind. (Carmel)              Season-best 18:11 at Sundodger; placed 40th at Pac-10s
NCAA West Regionals - 1997 Review
Dell Urich Golf Course - Tucson, Ariz.

Men's Teams

 1. Stanford             50
 2. Oregon               84
 3. WSU                 103
 4. Portland            150
 5. Washington          151
 6. Arizona             152
 7. UCLA                153 
 8. California          177
 9. Boise State         206
10. UC Santa Barbara    278
11. Arizona State       292
12. Cal Poly SLO        313
13. CSU Northridge      390
13. CSU Fullerton       390
15. CSU Sacramento      415
15. Fresno State        415
17. UC Irvine           456
18. San Jose State      514
19. Long Beach State    561
20. St. Mary's          637
21. Santa Clara         651
ASU Individual Finishes
 35. Matt Repak,      ASU 32:25
 49. Andy Carusetta,  ASU 32:54
 63. Ari Rodriguez,   ASU 33:12
 70. Ben Ervington,   ASU 33:22
 75. Brandon Strong,  ASU 33:33
 83. Steve Riggs,     ASU 33:46
101. David Burke,     ASU 34:32
Women's Teams
 1. Stanford             37
 2. Oregon               78
 3. Washington           98
 4. Arizona             127
 5. UCLA                149
 6. Boise State         165
 7. WSU                 201
 8. USC                 240
 9. California          264
10. Arizona State       304
11. Cal Poly SLO        342
12. Portland            344
13. UC Irvine           391
14. Long Beach State    400
15. UC Santa Barbara    414
16. Fresno State        447
17. CSU Fullerton       481
18. CSU Sacramento      498
19. CSU Northridge      507
20. San Jose State      526
21. San Diego State     581
22. Gonzaga             633
23. St. Mary's          678
24. Hawaii              692
25. Santa Clara         781
ASU Individual Finishes
 30. Mary Duerbeck,     ASU  18:41
 53. Kelly MacDonald,   ASU  19:03
 66. Shannon Houseman,  ASU  19:18
 74. Allison Had,       ASU  19:23
 84. Amanda Markland,   ASU  19:31
103. Amy Maciasek,      ASU  19:47
112. Kristin Hawking,   ASU  19:56
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