Monday, November 22, 2010

Washington finishes 16th in NCAA championships

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana--Washington's hope for a podium finish were dashed at the NCAA cross country championships Monday at the LaVern Gibson course, as the Huskies finished a disappointing 16th under warm, but extremely windy conditions.

Washington rolled into Terre Haute hot on the heels of their third straight NCAA West regional title nine days earlier, but their performance in Springfield, Oregon may have been fool's gold based on their regular season showing in October at both the Notre Dame Invitational, and the Pre-Nationals race on this course, when the Huskies needed a top two finish at regionals to ensure a return trip to Terre Haute, and not have to depend on earning an at-large berth.

As she had since the Pre-Nationals, freshman Katie Flood (left/photo by Paul Merca) led the way for the Huskies with a 78th place finish in a time of 21:11.

Running in her final cross country race as a Husky, senior Mel Lawrence finished 101st in 21:21, followed by redshirt freshman Justine Johnson in 102nd in the same time. Junior Christine Babcock was 114th in 21:26, and sophomore Lindsay Flanagan rounded out UW's five scorers in 160th in 21:49, giving the Huskies a 1-5 split of 38 seconds.

Defending champion Villanova defended its national title with a low score of 120, led by individual winner Sheila Reid, who crossed the line in 20:07. Georgetown's Emily Infeld was second at 20:10, while Oregon sophomore Jordan Hasay took third in 20:13.

After Villanova, Florida State repeated its runner-up finish from 2009 with 154 points. Texas Tech took third with 165, and Georgetown took the final podium position with 167 points.

Future Pac 12 member Colorado finished sixth with 314 points, while Arizona was 11th with 372 points. Oregon was 12th with 378 points, and Pac 10 champ Stanford took 13th with 402 points.

Former Husky Kendra Schaaf, now at North Carolina, was 11th in 20:27.

Other runners with Washington connections competing Monday included Sequim's Stephanie Marcy from Stanford, who was 55th in 21:03, and Redmond's Devin McMahon from Cornell, who was 98th in 21:20.

"Coming in here, I think on a good day we could have scored under 200 points," said Greg Metcalf, the West Region Women's Coach of the Year. "It was out slow and we just were on the wrong side of it. When it breaks up and everyone's accelerating, then you're not getting by people like you should. We just didn't feel like ourselves today. We ran great at the last two races and then just didn't have much gas left today."

All-Americans a year ago, Lawrence and Babcock did not have full offseasons of training as they recovered from injuries. Without the two, UW could not have won a third straight West Region title, but neither were their usual selves today, just nine days after the hard run at Regionals. Campbell also was affected by an achilles injury since Pre-Nationals, but ends her outstanding UW career as an All-American on the track and two-time All-West Region performer in cross country. Lawrence will still have two full track seasons remaining.

"We'll return lots of pieces, walk away from this and learn," said Metcalf. "Katie, Justine, Libby, and Lindsay had never run at the NCAA meet before and for most runners it takes getting some experience to run well here. But I'm proud of our young women. We were dead at the Pre-National Meet, and came back to life."

In the men’s race, Bellingham native Jake Riley finished sixth to help Stanford to a fourth place finish.

The Sehome HS graduate stayed off the pace and found himself in the second pack with teammate Chris Derrick, and a trio of runners from Oklahoma State, as the Cardinal, ranked among the country’s top teams throughout the regular season tried to upend the defending national champs.

The Cowboys, coached by former Tumwater prep standout Dave Smith, repeated as national champions with a low score of 73 points. Florida State took a surprising second place finish with 193 points, followed by Wisconsin at 223, and Pac-10 champs Stanford fourth in 237.

Liberty’s Sam Chelanga repeated as the national champion in a time of 29:23, making a late surge to repel the challenge of former NJCAA champ Stephen Sambu of Arizona, who was four seconds back.

Oregon’s Luke Puskedra was third in 29:38.

Oregon finished sixth with 289 points, while Cal was 31st with 678 points. Future Pac 12 member Colorado was 15th with 366 points.

Among individuals with Washington ties competing in Terre Haute, Mt. Rainier HS’s Ryan Prentice of Oklahoma State was 167th in 31:46; former Skyline standout Matt Frerker was 237th in 33:10; and Stanford’s Miles Unterreiner from Gig Harbor was 239th in 33:30.

The final results from the NCAA Championships are available here.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, the NCAA, the USTFCCCA, and Indiana State University contributed to this report.

1 comment:

H Young said...

Hi Paul, just a quick add, former Redmond High standout, Devin McMahon was an idividual qualifier to Nationals. She ran outstanding and finished 98th.

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