Oct. 3, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - With light cloud cover and near perfect race conditions, the Sun Devil cross country team played host to the 23rd Joe Uff/Arizona State University Invitational at Kiwanis Park in Tempe Friday afternoon with a handful of Sun Devils, both competing for the team and running unattached, took part in the annual event.
Kate Lydy, a true freshman on the Sun Devil squad, ran unattached to ASU and won the race, covering the 5,000m course in 18:20.3. On the men's side, Nicholas Kipruto of Dine College ran a course record-time of 23:51.3 over 8,000m to win by over one minute. In the team standings, New Mexico State won both titles, taking the women's meet with 16 points (Arizona `B' was second at 66) and the men's crown with 34 points (Dine was second at 41). The sweep for NMSU marks only the ninth time in the 23 year history of the ASU meet that the same school won both titles and the first since Arizona won both in 2004.
In the second race of the day, Lydy took off with the lead pack at the start of the race before taking over the lead and holding on to it at the finish. A trio of her classmates, all of which were running unattached to ASU, also placed among the Top 10 in the meet, including Cherise McNair (4th, 18:49.8), Catherine Loden (6th, 19:03.1) and Natasa Vulic (9th, 19:20.3). Two runners representing ASU competed in the women's run with Maureen Stringham placing 15th overall in 20:05.8 and Rebecca Greenwald placing 24th overall in 20:38.9.
The men's race led off the competition with Kipruto taking an early lead and never looking back as he bettered the previous meet record by eight seconds (Robert Cheseret of Arizona ran 23:59.3 in 2003 to set the standard). Behind him was a pair of unattached Sun Devils, including runner-up Alonso Contreras (24:58.3) and rookie Matt Boughton (6th, 25:52.6). Steven Ems also ran unattached, placing 33rd in 28:08.4. Just like the women, a pair of men represented ASU with Michael Anderson finishing 21st in 27:12.1 and Jordan Hall taking 38th in 28:20.0.
The Sun Devils will take a week off from competition next weekend before returning to action in a pair of meets the following weekend. First up will be the Mesa Thunderbird Invitational on Friday, October 17, at Riverview Park in Mesa while the majority of the team will travel to the site of the NCAA Championships, Terre Haute, Ind., to compete in the annual NCAA Pre-National Meet at Indiana State. That meet, which features many of the top teams in the nation, will be held on Saturday, October 18.