Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lambie & Stanford repeat as Pac-10 champs; Kiptoo-Biwott wins conference crown to lead Oregon...

Teresa McWalters & Arianna Lambie of Stanford pull away from the pack in Saturday's Pacific-10 Conference cross country championships in Corvallis, Oregon. Lambie won her third straight Pac-10 harrier crown. /photo by Paul Merca

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Top-ranked Stanford captured its 12th-consecutive Pac-10 women's title with 48 points at the Pacific-10 cross country championships at the Trysting Tree Golf Course Saturday.

Meanwhile, Cardinal senior Arianna Lambie made history by becoming just the second woman to win three-straight Pacific 10 individual cross country titles.

Under ideal conditions, Lambie's winning time of 19:40.7 over the 6,000-meter course was just four-hundredths of a second faster than runner-up teammate Teresa McWalters. Second-ranked Oregon finished second with 64 points, barely edging No. 5 Arizona State and Washington, which tied for third with 68 points.

Anita Campbell and Katie Follett both posted top-10 finishes, leading the No. 9 Husky women's cross country team to a tie for third at the Pac-10 Championships in a talented and tightly bunched women's field.

Campbell's sixth-place finish in 20:10 garners her first team All-Pac-10 acclaim for the first time, after earning second team honors a year ago. Follett came in ninth in a time of 20:26, nearly three full minutes faster than her time one year ago.

Freshman Marie Lawrence also earned All-Pac-10 second team honors with a 13th-place finish, adding to her outstanding rookie campaign. Lawrence was third among all frosh.

Barely missing out on making it four Huskies on the All-Conference team was junior Amanda Miller, who placed 15th in a new personal-best time of 20:38, her first time under 21-minutes. Senior Trisha Rasmussen also broke the 21-minute barrier, finishing 25th overall and fifth for UW in a time of 20:56. Rounding out the UW's top-seven was sophomore Brooke Anderson in 37th-place (21:19) and freshman Lauren Saylor in 41st-place (21:27).

Andrea Brown was 58th in 21:54; Dani Schuster 59th in 21:59, and Anna Imperati 62nd in 22:04 for Washington.

"This is as good as I've ever seen the Pac-10," said head coach Greg Metcalf in regards to the women's field. "We had raced Oregon and Arizona State earlier this year and they beat us pretty solid, so we are very pleased with what our women did today, that was a pretty monstrous step forward for our women's program.

The Washington State women's cross country team was led to a fifth-place team finish by Isley Gonzalez, who placed eighth.

Gonzalez clocked a 20-minute, 26.6 second time on the 6,000 meter course for the Cougars.

"Honestly, it was a little surprising and I am still in shock," said Gonzalez. "All of the training paid off."

Sophomore Sara Trané (20th, 20:47) and junior Meghan Leonard (23rd, 20:55) were followed across the finish line by senior Collier Lawrence (36th, 21:19) and sophomore Lisa Egami (51st, 21:44) to round out the top five scorers for the women. Sophomore Chelsea VanDeBrake (60th, 22:02) and freshman Ashlee Wall (65th, 22:06) also scored for the Cougars. The other WSU women competing were freshman Amanda Andrews (75th, 22:39) and sophomore Marisa Sandoval (83rd, 23:06).

"That is the best that Isley Gonzalez has run in a Cougar uniform," said WSU Head Coach Jason Drake. "Overall, this was the the best race the women have had since I have been here."

The No. 1-ranked Oregon men won their second-straight Pac-10 title with 39 points. Duck teammates Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott and Galen Rupp finished one and two overall, with Kiptoo-Biwott's winning time at 22:54 over the 8,000-meter course.

Number 15 Stanford placed second with 55 points as they placed three runners in the top-six. No. 8 Cal was third with 70 points, No. 19 UCLA was fourth with 97 points, and No. 25 Arizona State took fifth with 105 points. The Huskies finished with 162 points.

Harding, a junior, led the men for the third time in four meets this year, finishing 20th in 23:34. Running second for the Dawgs in a surprise performance was junior Caleb Knox, who had never before placed in UW's top-five, and had not competed at the Pac-10 Championships since his freshman year in 2004. Knox finished 31st in a personal-record time of 23:52.

"Caleb is making steady progress and you could tell he was calm, cool, and collected on the starting line, and he went out and ran a very solid second half of the race and did a very good job," Metcalf said."

Sophomore Kelly Spady and freshman Max O'Donoghue-McDonald were 35th, and 36th, respectively, and senior Carl Moe was fifth for UW in 40th place. Sophomore Colton Tully-Doyle had one of his strongest Husky outings since transferring from UC Santa Barbara, as he placed 45th in a time of 24:25. Sophomore Riley Booker rounded out UW's top-seven in 49th-place with a time of 24:36. Brian Govier was 59th in 24:40, and Chris Ahl 65th in 24:54.

"Coming in we were probably supposed to be sixth," said Metcalf of the men. "Jon Harding came in and ran solid, but right now we're just not entirely healthy. We're battling through some nagging pains and we've got two weeks to get it straightened out. A year ago we walked into the Pac-10 Championships and finished sixth and wound up 12th in the nation. But we've just got to go build some more momentum and get fresh and emotionally ready to go at Regionals. For our men to get to the NCAA Championships we've got to run much better than we did today. It's kind of gut-check time."

For the Cougars, junior Andrew Jones was 23rd (23:43), senior Alex Grant finished 30th (23:49), and junior Drew Polley crossed the line just behind at 34th (23:54), to help the Cougars to a seventh place team finish. Other top finishers included sophomore Daniel Geib (48th, 24:15) and sophomore Dominic Smargiassi (57th, 24:34). Rounding out the scorers for the WSU were senior Chris Concha (64th, 24:50) and freshman David Hickerson (67th, 24:58). Senior Chris Williams (74th, 25:32) also competed for the Cougars.

"Andrew Jones, Alex Grant, and Drew Polley all had good days," Drake said. "It was nice to see Alex run a little better than the last race."

The next race for both the Huskies and Cougars is the NCAA West Regionals in Springfield, Oregon on Saturday November 10th, hosted by the University of Oregon. A top two finish will automatically earn a berth in the NCAA Championships on November 19th in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Please click here to see the photo gallery of the men's race, and here for the women's race from the Pacific-10 Conference cross country championships.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and the Pacific-10 Conference all contributed to this report.

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