Oct. 25, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. - The championship portion of the season gets underway this weekend as the Arizona State University men's and women's cross country teams head to San Francisco, Calif., for the 2004 Pac-10 Championships, hosted by California. The women will race in the 19th annual event at 9:30 a.m. while the men enter the 36th annual run at 10:30 a.m. inside Golden Gate Park.
IN THE FIELD
Eight men's teams and 10 women's teams comprise the field for the 2004 Pac-10 Championships this weekend. All 10 of the conference teams will be on hand in the women's 6,000m run while Arizona, ASU, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State will field teams in the men's 8,000m race. On the women's side, Oregon State returns to the field after having not competed in cross country since 1988.
Two events featuring Sun Devil student-athletes will take place in the Bay Area this weekend, and fans are encouraged to come out and cheer on the maroon and gold. The cross country team opens the day with races at Golden Gate Park with the No. 20 football team heading to Berkeley to battle No. 7 California at 7 p.m.
CLIMBING TO NEW HEIGHTS
With the release of the latest men's national Top 30 rankings (Oct. 19), the Sun Devil men climbed to tie their highest national ranking of all time, sitting this week at No. 9 in the nation. ASU achieved its highest ranking during the 1999 season when the Sun Devils also came in at No. 9. Another similarity to equalling its highest mark: the 1999 poll also was released on Oct. 19.
PUT THEM IN ORDER
The national rankings were released Oct. 19 for both the men and women with Arizona State placing both of their squads in the Top 10. The women lead the way at No. 8 while the men sit ninth, equalling their highest national ranking of all-time.
IN SEARCH OF THEIR FIRST
An individual or team win for either of the Sun Devil teams this weekend will accomplish something that has never happened. Since 1984, the men have entered 20 Pac-10 Championships with no titles won. Fasil Bizuneh was the closest runner in search of gold for ASU, placing second in 2001. The team also finished second that year for their best team finish.
The same goes for the women and their 18 appearances in the conference meet. Lisa Aguilera placed second in 2000 for the top finish in ASU annals while the team has captured runner-up honors in four of the last five years (2003, 2002, 2000 and 1999), including the past two meets.
LOOKING BACK: 2003 PAC-10 MEET
The women finished second overall in the team race for the second year in a row last year, scoring 78 points, while Stanford won its eighth title in a row with 22 points. Amy Hastings led the way with her fourth-place finish. The men placed fifth with 112 points while Stanford captured its fourth crown in a row with 23 points. Aaron Aguayo paced the Sun Devils at 18th place in the race.
HASTING LOOKS TO ADD
Last year, Amy Hastings not only became the first Sun Devil woman to win a race since the 2000 season, she also became just the third Arizona State harrier to win multiple races in a season after capturing the Dave Murray and ASU Invitationals. Following her win at the Dave Murray Invite this year, she needs one more in her career to tie the school record for individual wins at four set by Lynn Nelson, a winner of four races in the 1983 season. Nelson's total also is the individual season mark.
LAST TIME OUT
Two meets were on the slate two Oct. 16 with the Sun Devils heading to the NCAA Pre-National meet in Terre Haute, Ind., while several individuals competed at the Canyon West Classic at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. At the national meet, the women placed third in the 36 team field while the men captured fourth among the 37 teams entered into the meet. Amy Hastings paced the women with a third place finish while Aaron Aguayo led the men with his seventh-place finish.
In the local meet, no team scores were recorded by either teams. Liz Lindgren was the top female finisher at fifth place in the collegiate/open race while Carlo Lozano, the lone male ASU entrant, finished fourth.
The women return two, two-time All-Americans this year in Amy Hastings and Desiree Davila. Both earned the national distinction in cross country a year ago with Davila grabbing the accolade in the 5,000m run on the outdoor track in 2003 and Hastings adding the indoor honor for the 5,000m in 2004.
During the past outdoor track and field season, the Sun Devil distance runners again showed their dominance in the 3,000m steeplechase event at the Pac-10 Championships, this year sweeping the two races. On the women's side, Amy Hastings captured her first conference crown and extended the ASU winning streak as a Sun Devil woman has won the event each of the four years the conference has contested the race. Kelly MacDonald won the inaugural race in 2001 with Lisa Aguilera winning in 2002 and 2003.
On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo not only became the first Sun Devil to win the race since current graduate assistant Jeremy Rasmussen took the event in 2000, he also became the first ASU runner to win the regional race in the same event and earned a berth into the national meet.
TOEING THE STARTING LINE
With one weekend off from competition, the Sun Devils will head to Fresno, Calif., Nov. 13 for the NCAA West Region Championships. There, the Top 2 teams, as well as the Top 2 teams from the remaining regions, will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships, along with 13 at-large selections.