Oct. 24, 2001
This Week --
Post-season action gets underway this weekend, as Arizona State hosts the 2001 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Pavilion Lakes Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. An open race for both men and women (non-scored) will be held at 8:30 a.m. The championship races begin at 10 a.m. with the men's 8,000-meter, followed by the women's 6,000-meter competition at 11 a.m. An awards ceremony will take place at noon. This year marks the 33rd-annual race for the men and 16th annual for the women. ASU's women have turned in two-straight runner-up finishes at the conference meet, while the men will look to improve upon three-straight fourth-place finishes. Meet results will be available on www.thesundevils.com.
The Pac-10 Field --
Eight Pac-10 schools sponsor both men's and women's cross country, while USC only sponsors a women's team (Oregon State does not sponsor either). Both races will be highly competitive, with five men's and five women's Pac-10 teams ranked in the latest Top-25 national polls. The men's field includes No. 2 Stanford, No. 13 Arizona, No. 19 Arizona State, No. 20 Oregon and No. 24 Washington. Contending for the women's team title will be No. 1 Stanford, No. 7 Arizona State, No. 11 Arizona, No. 13 Washington and No. 22 UCLA. Stanford's women's team has won five straight Pac-10 titles, while the Cardinal men have captured four of the last five crowns, including the 2000 title.
ASU Men's Preview --
Junior All-American Fasil Bizuneh and sophomore Juan Reyes have traded positions as ASU's top finisher at three meets this season, and will once again look to lead the 19th-ranked Sun Devil men at the Pac-10 meet. Reyes won the UC Irvine Invitational and finished second at the Roy Griak meet, before placing 21st at the Pre-National Invitational. Bizuneh notched a third-place finish at the Roy Griak and placed fifth at the NCAA Pre-Meet. As a team this season, ASU's men placed second at both the UC Irvine, while finishing eighth at the Roy Griak Invitational and ninth at the NCAA Pre-Meet. This year's ASU squad also features three runners who competed at last season's Pac-10 meet: Reyes (16th), senior J.R. Cox (30th) and junior Ronnie Buchanan (38th). Freshman JJ Duke will also provide the Sun Devils with some solid depth, having finished among the top four Sun Devils in three meets this season.
ASU Women's Preview --
Leading the way for the seventh-ranked Sun Devil women will be senior All-Americans Lisa Aguilera and Kelly MacDonald. Both will be competing in their third meets of the season, having turned in outstanding performances at the Roy Griak and Pre-National Invitationals. Aguilera and MacDonald finished 2-3 at the Roy Griak in September, before finishing third and seventh, respectively, at the Pre-National Invitational at Furman University. As a team, ASU's varsity has yet to finish lower than third, winning the Roy Griak, placing second at the UC Irvine Invitational and finishing third at the Pre-National Invitational. Last year, Aguilera set the ASU women's record for Pac-10 finish, placing second, while MacDonald finished 10th in 1999. The Sun Devils will also be relying upon senior Brianna Torres (18th at 2000 Pac-10s), junior Cody Sohn (33rd at 1999 Pac-10s) and freshman Desiree Davila to close the gap between Aguilera and MacDonald.
Course Information --
The 2001 Pac-10 Championships mark the first time a cross country meet has been held at the Pavilion Lakes Golf Course, therefore no course records have been set. Both course terrains are mainly flat and include grass, with small patches of dirt and light gravel.
Directions to Pavilion Lakes Golf Course --
From the North 101 Loop, exit Indian Bend Road (exit 44). Turn left on Indian Bend, heading west and driving past Pavilions shopping mall. Turn right at Pima Road, then turn right at the driveway with a United Artists sign. The golf course will be on your left after passing Fiddlesticks. The course is approximately 11 miles from the ASU campus.
Sun Devils in the Polls --
In the latest FinishLynx Women's poll released Oct. 15, ASU's women dropped from fourth to seventh following the NCAA Pre-National Invitational. The women are second in West Regional rankings, behind only No. 1 Stanford. The men also fell in the national rankings, moving from 15th to 19th in the latest MONDO Men's Poll released Oct. 16. The men are fifth in the West Region behind No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Portland, No. 3 UC Santa Barbara and No. 4 Arizona.
ASU At The 2000 Pac-10 Championships --
Arizona State's fourth-ranked women's cross country team finished second, while the men took fourth-place at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships at Lincoln Park in Seattle, Wash., Saturday, Oct. 28. Lisa Aguilera led the way for the ASU women with a second-place individual finish, running the 6,000-meter course in 20:19.95. Her runner-up performance is the best Pac-10 finish ever for an ASU woman, and the Sun Devils' team finish matched their best all-time. Arizona's Tara Chaplin took medalist honors in 20:10.67. With 51 points, the women's team title went to Stanford, which placed three runners in the top-six. Arizona finished third with 79 points. ASU followed close behind with 67 points. Mary Duerbeck contributed with a seventh-place showing, as did Brianna Torres finishing 15th. The ASU men were led by Garrett Jensen, who completed the 8,000-meter course in 24:15.32 to take 15th-place. Juan Reyes was right at Jensen's heels with a 16th-place finish in 24:17.01. With 114 team points, the Sun Devil men finished in fourth-place for the third consecutive year. Stanford, Oregon and Arizona finished in the top three spots with 21, 66 and 70 points, respectively. Stanford's Jonathon Riley earned medalist honors in 24:39.59.
ASU Pac-10 History--
The 1998 season saw the ASU men post their best Pac-10 finish (fourth), a place which they matched in 1999 and 2000. The men's record point total is 82 set in 1999. ASU's female harriers set their best Pac-10 finish and point total in 1999, placing second with 62 points. Last season, ASU equaled that runner-up finish with 67 points. The Sun Devils' recent rise toward the upper echelon of the Pac-10 has only occurred since Walt Drenth's tenure as head coach. Prior to 1998, ASU's men finished last for six straight seasons and the women finished last three consecutive times. 1986 marked the only year the men had finished as high as fifth, while the highest women's team finishes were back-to-back seasons in 1986 (fifth) and 1987 (fourth). Individually, Lisa Aguilera holds the women's school record placing second in 2000, while Todd Lewis owns the men's best finish, third, at the 1991 meet. Fasil Bizuneh's fourth-place finish in 1999 stands tied with Dan Fisher (1986) as the second-highest men's finish.
Last Time Out --
ASU's fourth-ranked women finished third in the Women's Purple race, while the 15th-ranked men finished ninth in the Men's Gold competition at the Furman Invitational/NCAA Pre-National Invitational hosted by Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Sat., Oct. 13. In a preview of next month's NCAA Championships, senior Lisa Aguilera finished third (21:05) and senior Kelly MacDonald finished seventh (21:29) on the 6,000-meter course. Also scoring for ASU were senior Brianna Torres (30th), junior Cody Sohn (35th) and freshman Desiree Davila (65th). On the men's side, ASU's ninth-place finish in the 8,000-meter Gold race was bolstered by junior Fasil Bizuneh, placing fifth (24:25). Also scoring for ASU were sophomore Juan Reyes (21st), junior Ronnie Buchanan (41st), freshman J.J. Duke (77th) and senior J.R. Cox (87th).
Women Win '01 Roy Griak Crown --
For second time in three years, ASU's women's cross country team won the 6,000m race title at the University of Minnesota's Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, Saturday, Sept. 29. The women combined for 109 points at the prestigious annual meet, while the ASU men tallied 267 points to place eighth in the men's 8,000m competition. Both ASU teams had two of the top three finishers in each race, as seniors Lisa Aguilera and Kelly MacDonald took second and third on the women's side, while sophomore Juan Reyes and junior Fasil Bizuneh finished two-three, respectively, on the men's side. ASU's women, who won their first Roy Griak title in 1999, were led by Aguilera's third-straight runner-up finish at the meet.
Head Coach Walt Drenth --
In his sixth year at the helm of the Arizona State cross country program, Walt Drenth continues to take the Sun Devils to unprecedented heights. Last year Drenth was named the USTCA West Region Women's Coach of the Year and for the second-straight season earned Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year honors. Drenth has guided ASU to school record conference, regional and national finishes (including the teams' first four NCAA team appearances), while producing three All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans. 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 nine-time conference coach of the year and four-time district coach of the year, and has led nine squads to the NCAA Championships. Included in Drenth's ASU coaching staff are graduate assistant Corey Ihmels and volunteer assistant Michelle Borgert.
Up Next --
Following the conference meet, ASU will focus on qualifying for nationals at the NCAA West Region Championships hosted by the University of Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson, Ariz. The top two teams and the top four individuals not appearing on those teams in each region receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships in Greenville, S.C., Monday, Nov. 19. Thirteen additional teams and two additional individuals will later be granted at-large bids for the NCAA meet.