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Reserves To Run As ASU Prepares For Pre-Nationals
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 09/30/1999
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Sept. 30, 1999

Saturday, Oct. 2 -- Canyon West Classic, Tempe, Ariz.
Women's Race:
7:15 a.m. (PT), 5K
Men's Race: 8:00 a.m. (PT), 8K

This Week: Arizona State will run in the Valley of the Sun the next two weeks, but many of ASU's top runners will not see action 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 the Canyon West Classic at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Ariz. The women's race is at 7:15 a.m. and the men's at 8:00 a.m.

Sun Devils Ranked: Arizona State's women climbed 13 spots to No. 3 in the latest FinishLynx national rankings, the highest rating for ASU one year after the women cracked the top 25 for the first time ever. ASU's men were ranked for the first time in history, jumping into the MONDO rankings at No. 21 before climbing to 17th this week.

Last Time Out: The Sun Devil women captured their second consecutive team win as ASU outpaced top-ranked Brigham Young and a field that included eight other ranked squads. While BYU was not at full strength, the victory was still impressive as ASU tallied 53 team points, 20 ahead of BYU and 112 more than third-place and then-No. 23 Minnesota. Three Sun Devils wrapped up top-10 finishes. Sophomore Lisa Aguilera (17:32) finished second to Duke's Sheela Agrawal, junior Kelly MacDonald placed fifth (17:47) and junior Mary Duerbeck came in sixth (17:53). On the men's side, ASU finished eighth as a team in a strong field that included eight other ranked squads. Sophomore Fasil Bizuneh finished 11th (24:46) to pace the Sun Devils.

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.

Injury Update: Mary Duerbeck sprained her right ankle, but is expected to return to practice this week. Juan Chavira has a sore right back and is out indefinitely.

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   
Lisa Aguilera        19:03/26         17:34/2          1:29/24        
Kelly MacDonald      19:09/29         17:47/3          1:22/26  
Amy Maciasek         19:23/38         18:20/9          1:03/29   
Cody Sohn            19:10/30         18:27/12         0:43/18   
Men               1998 Time/Place  1999 Time/Place    Difference
Joe Agostinelli      26:38/48         26:59/59         +0:21/+11
Kris Alexander       26:18/41         25:08/14         1:10/27
Fasil Bizuneh        25:31/18         24:47/5          0:48/13
David Burke          26:09/34         26:03/35         0:06/+1
Juan Chavira         25:03/7          25:34/25         +0:31/+18
Isaiah Festa         26:02/30         24:49/6          1:13/24
Charles Sharpe       28:46/97         27:43/74         1:03/23        

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 hosts its only home meet of the season, the ASU Invitational at Freestone Park in Gilbert, Ariz., on Friday, Oct. 8. An open race is at 3:45 p.m. with the women's championship race at 4:30 and the men at 5:00 p.m.

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