Thursday, November 19, 2009

NCAA Cross Country Championship links...

Here's a series of links to get you ready for Monday's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana:

First is an announcement from UW assistant coach Jason Drake on the Husky track & cross country teams' Twitter page inviting fans to watch the viewing of the NCAA Cross Country Championships at the Ram Restaurant at the University Village Mall, just north of the UW campus.

Next is Washington State's media release announcing that senior Lisa Egami (above/photo by Paul Merca) was selected as an at-large competitor for Monday's race after her 11th place finish in last Saturday's West Regionals in Springfield, Oregon.

"Going to nationals is just an amazing way to finish off my college cross country career," Egami said. "It has been my goal all season to make it to nationals and I'm so excited to compete in Terre Haute next week. After making nationals last spring, I just really wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't a one-hit wonder and I could make it to nationals again. I have always thought of myself as more of a track runner but I knew that I could compete with the women runners in the region, and really wanted to show myself that I could be a competitive cross country runner."

You can read the WSU release here

Joe Darda has a great feature on Washington senior Jake Schmitt and his preparation for Monday's race, and how running the 2006 Pac-10 cross country meet as a Cal sophomore was a wake up call for him.

After a period where he had to sit out, due to Pac-10 transfer rules, he's made two appearances at the NCAA outdoor championships, and claimed All-America honors indoors last season with his ninth-place finish in the 5000.

"That was huge," he says of his first All-American honor. "That's why I transferred. That's why I came to Washington, to compete at nationals, to be an All-American. I really felt like it had all come to fruition, and it was really nice to be able to look back on my first couple years and see my growth."

You can read Darda's story here

The Husky women's team have a giant target on their back as the defending NCAA champions. Here's a link to a video by KING 5's Lisa Gangel, featuring Husky senior Katie Follett and UW coach Greg Metcalf.

The University of Portland Pilots, who were led by Gig Harbor's Tommy Betterbed, are now ranked #4 in the USTFCCCA polls entering the NCAA championships.

The Pilots jumped from seventh to fourth with 317 points to move ahead of the now No. 6 Colorado, No. 8 Oregon and No. 13 Northern Arizona. Portland defeated the Ducks by 25 points at Regionals. Stanford remained the top team in the poll and has had the ranking for the last six polls. The Cardinal earned 11 first-place votes to take the top spot with 359 points, while Oklahoma State is No. 2 with 349 points and Alabama is No. 3 with 326 points.

You can read the Portland release here...


To get you ready for Saturday's D2 nationals, here's the link to Seattle Pacific's release, as the Falcons bid for a spot on the podium, led by senior Jessica Pixler, who is bidding for her third straight national title, in what may be an epic battle against Shippenburg State sophomore and 2009 USA junior national champ Neely Spence.

Senior Jane Larson will chase yet another All-American honor. And a pack of five Falcons -- fellow seniors Kate Harline , Lisa Anderberg, and Suzie Strickler and sophomores Natty Plunkett and Mary Williams will follow as closely as they can in an effort to snare yet another piece of hardware for the SPU trophy case.

The SPU release can be read here…

Western Washington University's Kelven "Pee Wee" Halsell has been voted the 2009 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Halsell directed the Vikings to a GNAC title and a national-qualifying second-place finish at the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships.

The award is the fourth men's cross country GNAC Coach-of the Year award for Halsell, who was also selected in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

You can read Western's release here...

Don't forget that you can watch Monday's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships live on Versus (Channel 34 or 626 in HD on Seattle area Comcast) starting at 9am on Monday, if you can't make the viewing party at the Ram. You can also watch the streaming video via or will cover the NCAA championships for the second consecutive year. We get into Terre Haute Saturday night, and will attend the press conference and the workouts on Sunday, and the race (naturally!) on Monday!

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