Friday, November 14, 2008

NCAA West Regional cross country meet preview...

Eastern Washington, the University of Washington, and Washington State University will all send athletes to compete in Saturday’s NCAA West Regional championships at the Stanford Golf Course, beginning with the women’s 6 k race at 11 am.

Naturally, the buzz centers around the nation’s number one collegiate team, the Washington Huskies. Coach Greg Metcalf told Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times that he will rest Pac-10 champ Kendra Schaaf for Saturday’s contest, along with one other runner from his traveling squad of nine runners.

Coach Jason Drake traveled to Stanford eight women, and will have a decision to make over which one to sit on Saturday. The Cougars have an outside shot at qualifying for the NCAA championships on November 24th in Terre Haute, but will need an outstanding effort Saturday to grab one of the at-large berths to the national championship.

Pac-10 steeple champ Sara Trané (above/photo by Paul Merca) of WSU has a strong chance to advance as an individual.

Besides Washington and Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State are the teams projected to advance from the West Region to the NCAAs.

Senior Amber Nickelson will be Eastern’s lone representative in the women’s race.

One hour later, the men toe the line for the 10 k race over the Stanford Golf Course. Oregon, led by US Olympian Galen Rupp is the clear favorite to take the team title, followed by West Coast Conference champ Portland, led by Inglemoor grad David Kinsella, and host Stanford.

The Washington Huskies, led by senior Jeremy Mineau, will need a perfect race to position themselves for an at-large berth in the big dance, despite tying Cal for third place at the Pac-10 meet two weeks ago. Besides the Dawgs, the Bears of Cal and the Mustangs of Cal Poly-SLO are the teams scrapping for the at large entries.

At best, Eastern Washington is a long shot to get their teams into the national title meet. However, the Eagles’ Paul Limpf, who has run solidly all season long, has a strong chance to advance to nationals as an individual, along with teammate Alex Smyth, and Washington State’s Drew Polley.

Links to the team releases of Eastern Washington, Washington & Washington State are available by clicking on the team’s name.

Below is the .pdf copy of host institution Stanford’s press release.

Stan 08 Xc Regional Preview
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Look for’s coverage of the NCAA West Regional Championships!

Incidentally, here's a link to the USTFCCA's cross country central, which will be updated regularly on Saturday as results from around the country come in. Click here to visit the site...
NOTE: The sports information offices of Washington, Washington State, and Eastern Washington all contributed to this report.

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