Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Huskies move to 11th in USTFCCCA poll, plus other news...

After a tumultuous last month that saw the stock of the University of Washington women’s cross country team drop all the way down to number 20 in the last United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll, the Huskies rebounded and find themselves on the edge of the top ten.

In the poll released Tuesday, the Huskies are ranked 11th with three Pacific 10 Conference rivals ahead of them in # 4 Stanford, #6 Arizona, and #7 Oregon ahead of them.

Washington ran with the closest semblance of a full squad at last Saturday’s Pac 10 championships, as junior Christine Babcock, who was red-shirted last spring with a foot injury, competed for the first time all season in a Husky uniform, placing 19th in the 6k race, held at Jefferson Park Golf Course in south Seattle, after missing her and fellow All-American Mel Lawrence for most of the season.

In what was the closest team finish in league history, the Cardinal scored 62 points for the crown to No. 6 Arizona’s 65 and No. 7 Oregon and No. 11 Washington’s 68. The Cardinal is in the top five for the first time since September 30, 2008.

Here is video of Husky coach Greg Metcalf, recapping the Pac 10 Championships.

All four teams will prepare for the crucial NCAA West Regional cross country championships on Saturday November 13 in Springfield, Oregon, with the top two teams receiving automatic entries to the NCAA championships on November 22nd in Terre Haute, Indiana, with other teams having to wait for the NCAA to issue at-large berths on the Sunday or Monday following the Regionals.


Katie Flood (above/photo by Paul Merca), a freshman from Des Moines, Iowa, of the UW women's cross country team is the Gohuskies.com Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 25-31.

Flood was the top finisher at the Pac-10 Championships held in Seattle for the first time in 10 years at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Saturday. Flood helped the then 20th-ranked Huskies tie No. 2 Oregon for third place in the closes overall team finish in conference history.

In just her second career college race, Flood placed sixth on the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20-minutes and 13-seconds. Flood had a late start to her season, coming off a stress fracture over the summer at the end of her All-American prep career, but has quickly made up for lost time, after competing for the first time just two weeks ago at Pre-Nationals where she was 23rd.

The UW release can be read here.


Friend of the blog and UniversalSports.com writer Joe Battaglia reports that former Mercer Island HS runner, Stanford All-American and coach Dena Evans (far left/photo by Paul Merca) was named to coach Sara Hall, who with her husband, US Olympic Trials marathon winner Ryan, left coach Terrance Mahon and the Mammoth (CA) Track Club to coach himself, with advice from outside sources.

As Battaglia writes, “the one thing lost was how the decision impacted Hall's wife Sara, who suddenly found herself without a coach.”

"I felt that I would still benefit from a traditional coaching relationship, so I have decided to be coached by my college coach, Dena Evans," Sara wrote in a blog posted on Facebook. "Dena and I have worked together successfully in the past and she knows me better than almost everyone except my immediate family."

Hall will be based in the Bay Area for low-altitude training, in order to be close to Evans, who is based in the Palo Alto area.

While coaching at Stanford, Evans led the Cardinal to four consecutive Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships and finished in the top five at the NCAA Championships every year. Dena was named the 2003 NCAA and Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year, after leading Stanford to the national title.

Evans has served as team leader on two USA national cross country teams, taking the 2004 junior women’s squad led by Jenny Barringer to Brussels, Belgium, where they finished fourth.

As senior women’s team leader in 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland, she steered Team USA to a fourth place finish, led by Emily Brown’s 18th place finish, as the Americans missed the podium by three points.

Here's a link summarizing Evans' coaching career at Stanford.

Battaglia’s post can be read here.

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