Saturday, November 15, 2008

Babcock leads Washington to NCAA West Regional harrier title...

STANFORD, Calif.--Eleven seconds.

Eleven seconds was all it took for the top ranked University of Washington Huskies to cement the victory at the NCAA West Regional cross country championships at the Stanford Golf Course Saturday morning, scoring 25 points for a convincing win over second ranked Oregon, who scored 62 points.

Stanford (91) and Arizona State (124) rounded out the top four teams.

Washington State, which needed a strong showing to be considered for an at-large berth to the national championships, finished a disappointing tenth with 328 points.

With Kendra Schaaf sitting out today’s meet, the question became who would walk away with the individual title.

Fellow Husky freshman Christine Babcock (above, leading/photo by Paul Merca), the national high school record holder at 1600 meters took out the race, and led up until the final kilometer when first, eventual winner Alex Kosinski of Oregon, then teammate Nicole Blood passed her.

Kosinski, the former national prep record holder in the 1600 won the race in a time of 20:00, followed by Blood at 20:02.

In a scene eerily similar to the proceedings a fortnight ago came a sea of purple, as Babcock led a stream of five Huskies across the line. Babcock finished in 20:03, followed by sophomore Mel Lawrence in 20:04. Cross country all-Americans Katie Follett (20:08) finished fifth, followed by Anita Campbell in 20:13.

One second behind Campbell was fellow senior Amanda Miller to round out the Husky scorers.

For the Cougars of Washington State, Sara Trane was the top finisher in 29th place (20:52). Amber Nickleson of Eastern Washington finished 166th in 23:17.

Babcock played down the importance of Saturday’s race, stating that “My goal today was just to qualify as a team. It was just another day. Our plan was just to get in the top two and get into the nationals”

Husky coach Greg Metcalf said that he wanted his charges to go out aggressive, but at the same time temper that aggressiveness. “I wanted to walk away feeling like we didn’t have to go to the well. Over the last 1000 meters, everyone was running within themselves, with no one digging in.”

He praised senior Michelle Turner, who finished 15th in 20:24, and sophomore Kenna Patrick, who finished 37th in 21:13.

In the men’s race, it was all Galen Rupp, as the 2008 US Olympian destroyed the field by fifty seconds, winning in 27:42.

Former Inglemoor standout David Kinsella, representing the University of Portland finished a strong fourth place, running 28:44.

Washington senior Jeremy Mineau finished eighth, running 29:07, leading the Huskies to a fifth place finish, as the Ducks of Oregon took the team title with 38 points. Stanford (72), Portland (85), and California (116) finished ahead of Washington’s 122 points.

Eastern Washington senior Paul Limpf finished 11th in 29:18, and all but assured himself of an individual entry to the NCAA championships on November 24th in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Washington State finished ninth with 298 points, and Eastern Washington was 20th with 565 points.

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