Sept. 21, 2012
TEMPE - The Arizona State University men's cross country team ran their "A" squad for the first time on the season and the results were impressive as the team took third at the Pac-12 Preview in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Friday.
Senior Darius Terry picked up where he left off last year before being sidelined with injury, clocking a third-place finish in 24:35 over the 8,000-meter course at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course - the site of this year's Pac-12 Championship.
Terry was just five seconds shy of No. 18 Northern Arizona's Brian Shrader and Fatsum Zienasellassie, who both finished in 24:30 for the eventually team champion Lumberjacks.
ASU got its first glimpse of graduate transfer Zach Zarda and it was an exceptional one as the former Kansas Jayhawk clocked a time of 24:43 to finish sixth overall in his first race with the Sun Devils.
The next Sun Devil across the line was 2011 NCAA All-West Region runner senior Nick Happe, who finished in 25:07 in 14th-place. He was followed by redshirt sophomore Garrett Baker-Slama in 21st place in 25:28 while redshirt freshman Ryan Herson continued his strong early-season running with a 22nd-place finish in 25:30 to round out the scoring for ASU.
The Sun Devils finished with 66 points overall to take third behind NAU (23 points) and host UCLA, who finished with 58 points. It was a notable performance for ASU in that three of those who scored for the Sun Devils on Friday were not among the team's tip five runners in 2011, showing the amount of depth this team brings to the table this season.
The ASU men will return to action in two weeks as they take part in the Grand Canyon Invitational in Goodyear, Ariz., though the majority of the "A" team likely won't return to competition until October 12 at the Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, Wis.