Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cardinal sweep Pacific-10 Conference cross country titles...

SEATTLE--A hotly contested Pacific-10 Conference women’s cross country championship came down to the wire as the Stanford Cardinal wrested the title away from the two-time defending champion Washington Huskies at Jefferson Park Golf Course in south Seattle.

The temperature at race time was 46 degrees with light rain falling intermittently during the women's race but throughout the entire men's race.

At the start of the women’s 6-kilometer race, a pack of eight were positioned in the front, led by Oregon’s Alex Kosinski, Cal’s Deborah Maier, Kathy Kroeger, Jessica Tonn and Stephanie Marcy of Stanford, with Oregon’s Jordan Hasay (left/photo by Paul Merca) close by stalking the lead pack.

The real race was situated behind the lead pack as runners from Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, and the Huskies positioned themselves behind their lead runners.

On the final lap, Hasay, a former US junior champ in cross country and a 2008 US Olympic Trials finalist at 1500 meters as a high schooler, began asserting herself, and pulled away from Kroeger, taking home individual honors in 19:45, five seconds ahead.

Maier hung on for third in 20:02, with Kosinski taking fourth at 20:10.

Stanford’s Stephanie Marcy took fifth at 20:13, with Washington freshman Katie Flood leading the way for the Dawgs in 6th at 20:14.

Arizona’s Jennifer Bergman led the Wildcat charge with her seventh place finish at 20:16, with Stanford’s Tonn in the eight spot (20:17), Lindsay Prescott of Arizona State in ninth (20:18), and the Huskies’ Mel Lawrence rounding out the top ten in 20:23.

Arizona packed three straight runners behind Lawrence, while the Huskies squeezed Justine Johnson (15, 20:32), Kailey Campbell (18, 20:34), and recovering Christine Babcock (19, 20:36) in the top 20, with the Dawgs the first team to have five across the line, giving the partisan Washington crowd hope that this year’s version of the Huskies could squeeze out a third straight conference crown, with a 22 second spread between lead runner Flood and final scorer Babcock.

Stanford’s Georgia Griffin in 21st (20:39), and 2008 Pac 10 10000 meter track champ Alex Gits (26, 20:44) sandwiched two runners each from Oregon and Arizona, and proved to be the difference in the ninth ranked Cardinal getting the team title with 62 points.

The sixth ranked Wildcats of Arizona took second with 65 points, and the #2 ranked Ducks tied with the 20th ranked Huskies for third with 68 points.

Washington State finished ninth with 252 points, led by Ruby Roberts, a freshman from Kingston, who was the top Cougar woman to cross the finish line at 37th place in a time of 21:07. The other WSU women scoring at the championships included Caroline Austin 48th (21:31), Sarah Bobbe in 58th (21:45), Allison Clark 63rd (21:57), and Courtney Zalud 72nd (22:16).

In the men’s 8k championship race, it was a runaway for the #1 ranked Stanford Cardinal, as they replicated their 1-2-3 finish from the Pre Nationals meet two weeks ago.

Minnesota native Elliott Heath (on the right/photo by Paul Merca) got credit for the win as his torso crossed the line first in 23:01, with Bellingham’s Jake Riley second and Chris Derrick finishing third in the same time.

Oregon’s Luke Puskedra was fourth in 23:06, and reigning NJCAA cross country champ Stephen Sambu of Arizona fifth in 23:07.

A trio of seniors—Cal’s Michael Coe (23:13); Oregon’s Matthew Centrowitz (23:17); and teammate AJ Acosta (23:44) went 6-7-8, while Gig Harbor’s Miles Unterreiner finished ninth at 23:49 for the Cardinal, and teammate JT Sullivan rounded out the top ten in 23:49, and the team title for Stanford.

Stanford took the win with 25 points, with the Ducks second at 56 points.

Cal was a distant third at 86 points, with UCLA fourth at 101 points.

Arizona State was fifth with 143 points, while Pete Julian’s Washington State squad took sixth with 158 points.

Jono Lafler, a junior from Maple Valley, was the first WSU man to cross the finish line, taking 20th place in a time of 24 minutes 3 seconds. The rest of the Cougar scorers included Andrew Kimpel in 32nd at 24:22, Justin Englund 36th in 24:30, David Hickerson 37th in 24:31, and Andrew Gonzales 41st in 24:40.

The Huskies were seventh with 181 points, running without junior Max O’Donoghue-McDonald, whose back problems kept him out of the meet, and Arizona was eighth with 195 points.

Rob Webster from Puyallup led the Huskies with his 27th place finish in 24:16. James Cameron finished 35th in 24:26, followed by Joey Bywater in 39th at 24:37. Michael Miller in 43rd at 24:44, and Cameron Quackenbush in 48th at 24:48 rounded out the Washington scorers.

All of the Pac-10 schools will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships in two weeks, as the University of Oregon will host the NCAA West Regional championships on November 13th in Springfield, Oregon.

Complete results from the Pacific-10 Conference championships are available here, while a replay of the meet can be viewed at media partner Flotrack.org.

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