Monday, August 30, 2010

Husky women's squad ranked #1 in USTFCCCA West Regional pre-season poll...

The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the first regional rankings of the 2010 cross country season, and the Washington Husky women's cross country team is ranked number one in the West Region's pre-season poll.

The regional rankings are a reflection of a team's strengths entering the year based on returning and new runners on each squad as selected by a representative in each region. A total of 15 teams in each region are ranked. The Huskies rank No. 1 in the West Region, ahead of a Pac-10 heavy group including No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Arizona, and No. 5 Arizona State. The Huskies have won the last two NCAA West Regional Championship titles.

On the men's side, the Huskies were ranked eighth out West, a bit of a surprise considering they placed fourth at Regionals last year and were 18th at the NCAA Championships. But Washington did lose three seniors from the top of their lineup, so voters may want to see how it responds with new personnel.

Washington State's men's squad is ranked #14 in the West Region pre-season poll, as the Cougars are expected to be led by Andrew Kimpel, who was 54th at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in March in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The Huskies and Cougars face off against each other on Friday in Ephrata.

The national rankings will be released Tuesday. You can read the USTFCCCA's regional rankings here…


For those of you who were watching Italian television's online feed of the Rieti meeting, you well know that you didn't see the final event of the meet, the men's 3000 meter run, as the meet ran slightly behind schedule and didn't make the two-hour television window, as a soccer match involving FC Barcelona took precedence.

Anyway, thanks to the power of YouTube, you can see Washington State University grad Bernard Lagat run his 7:29.00 to supplant Bob Kennedy as the American record holder in this event.

The video is below:


Finally, here's Seattle Pacific's release on their season opening meets in Fairbanks, Alaska on Thursday and Saturday against Northwest Nazarene & Alaska Faribanks, and the Lake Padden Relays Saturday in Bellingham, hosted by Western Washington.

On the women's side, the Falcons graduated five of their top six women from their 2009 squad, including three-time NCAA champ Jessica Pixler, who is now attending graduate school at the University of Colorado.

Included in the men’s group are sophomores AJ Baker (AuGres, Mich) and Andrew Van Ness (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue Christian HS), who were among the Falcons’ five scorers at last fall’s GNAC Championships. Sophomores Will Harrison (Tucson, Ariz.) and Gavin Brand (Suwanee, Ga.), who rounded out SPU’s top seven at conference, also are heading to Alaska, as are junior veteran Daniel Hamilton (Missoula, Mont.) and freshman Evan Bradford (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

All of them will be in pursuit of their Northwest Nazarene counterparts who finished ahead of them at the 2009 GNACs.

Junior veteran Natty Plunkett (Bellevue, Wash./Newport HS) heads the SPU women’s contingent. Plunkett was 11th at the GNAC meet last October, out-leaned at the finish line by Northwest Nazarene’s Jacelyn Puga for the 10th and final spot on the all-conference team. Puga is back for her senior season.

Joining Plunkett will be fellow juniors Kelsey Brown (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Krysta Carrick (Tokyo, Japan) and freshmen Allison Cutting (Sequim, Wash./Sequim HS) and Robyn Zeidler (Plymouth, Minn.) Cutting won the Washington state high school Class 2A title as a Sequim jumior in 2008.

Northwest Nazarene will be a strong test for the Falcon men. In last year’s GNAC championships, the Crusaders finished fourth with 99 points, one spot ahead of SPU (138 points). A top-four finish at conference would have guaranteed SPU a trip to regionals. Seattle Pacific finished well ahead of Fairbanks (eighth with 219).

On the women’s side at conference, NNU was fourth (114) and Fairbanks was seventh (196). SPU, anchored by five now-graduated standouts, was second with 48.

The full release from Seattle Pacific can be read here...

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, and the USTFCCCA all contributed to this report.

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