Nov. 24, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Kari Hardt earned her first cross country All-America honor by finishing 39th overall to pace the Arizona State University women's cross country team to a 14th-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships Monday afternoon at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The Sun Devil women scored 381 points, the sixth-best total in program history, to finish one place higher than their final national ranking (15th) on a cold and overcast day in Indiana.
No. 1 Washington won the team title with 79 points while No. 2 Oregon (131), No. 3 Florida State (163) and No. 5 West Virginia (198) earned the trophies presented to the Top 4 finishing teams at the national meet. According to the final USTFCCCA national rankings released last week, the Sun Devil women finished ahead of three other squads there were ranked ahead of them, including No. 11 Arkansas (15th with 404 points), No. 8 Michigan (16th, 416) and No. 10 Wisconsin (21st, 530).
Individually, Hardt turned in a time of 20:42.1 to finish 39th overall and cross the finish line as one of the Top 40 runners, giving her All-America honors for the first time in her career. Her finish also was the eighth-highest in program history and marked just the ninth time a Sun Devil woman had finished the national race in 40th place or better.
Ali Kielty was seven places shy of earning her second All-America honor in as many years as she covered the 6,000m course in 20:46.1 and placed 47th. Jenna Kingma (21:10.4), Haley Paul (21:32.6) and Sunni Olding (21:40.1) rounded out the five scoring positions for the Sun Devils, placing 95th, 143rd and 159th, respectively. Angela Spadafino (168th in 21:43.8) and Lindsay Prescott (219th in 22:13.6) also competed for the Sun Devils with Prescott competing as a true-freshman.
The Sun Devils, who placed fourth in both the Pac-10 Conference Championships and the NCAA West Region Championships earlier this season, were competing in their 11th-consecutive NCAA Championships race and recorded their eighth Top 14 finish in that span. The only times the Sun Devils have not placed among the Top 14 nationally came in 1998, 2001 and 2002 when the program placed 23rd overall.
While the cross country season has come to a close for the Sun Devils, their competition schedule will begin on the track in January as the 2009 indoor season will get underway.