Monday, November 21, 2011

Katie Flood finishes seventh as Huskies narrowly miss second national title...

TERRE HAUTE--Led by Pac-12 champion Katie Flood's (left/photo by Paul Merca) seventh place finish, the University of Washington Huskies finished a close second to Georgetown University at the NCAA cross country championships on the Lavern Gibson course.

Flood ran 19:48 over the 6k course as she was part of a large group of women that stalked early leader Silje Fjortoft of Southern Methodist, as the Norwegian faded to a 13th place finish.

Flood's seventh place finish made her the fifth Husky all-time to crack the top ten in the national title meet (Regina Joyce, Tara Carlson, Kendra Schaaf & Christine Babcock were the other four).

Also finishing in the top 20 was redshirt freshman Megan Goethals, as the Michigan native placed 18th in 20:07.

Washington's other scorers included senior Christine Babcock in 62nd at 20:44; Justine Johnson in 65th at 20:46; and, Lindsay Flanagan in 92nd at 20:58.

Eleanor Fulton was 130th in 21:16, and Liberty Miller rounded out the Husky seven at 21:28 in 163rd place.

"Katie Flood, to finish seventh-place as a sophomore, that was a great run and she ran fast," said Washington coach Greg Metcalf. "Megan Goethals has made meteoric improvement from the Wisconsin meet until now and for her to earn her first cross country All-American award is great."

Eight places was the difference between the Huskies winning their second national title, as the Hoyas won with 162 points to Washington's 170.

The eight point margin between first and second marked the closest finish since 2003, and the eighth-closest margin in the 31 year history of the meet. The narrow deficit was tough for Metcalf to bear, but he knew the Huskies left it all out on the course. "Eight points, shoot," Metcalf said, "but we were in it and put forth a championship effort. I couldn't be more proud of our women today and for how they have carried themselves all season."

"At the beginning of the year I thought our group could be pretty good, but it's about staying healthy and staying focused and building to the end," said Metcalf. "They got better every week and preseason rankings mean nothing. They fire the gun with 31 teams on the line and you find out who the best teams are and that's what's great about our sport."

The Hoyas, who were ranked as the pre-season #1 team in the country, were led by Emily Infeld's fourth place finish in 19:45.

Defending national champion Villanova finished third with 181 points, while pre-meet favorite Florida State was fourth at 189 points.

Defending champion Sheila Reid of Villanova took the victory in 19:42, outkicking Oregon's Jordan Hasay for a 6/10th of a second victory (19:41.2 to 19:41.8; cross country times are rounded up to the next whole second).

Former Husky Kendra Schaaf, now at North Carolina, finished 15th in 20:01, while Sequim native Stephanie Marcy of Stanford earned All-America honors with her 32nd place finish in 20:23.

The Washington State men's squad, in their first appearance since 2006 finished 21st with a team score of 512 points, as Wisconsin took the national title with 97 points.

The Cougs were led by Andrew Kimpel in 59th at 30:28, followed by Jono Lafler in 79th at 30:39.

Justin Englund ran 31:21 for 162nd place, followed by Andrew Gonzales in 164th at 31:23, and Todd Wakefield in 186th at 31:35.

Andrew Jordan crossed the finish in 220th at 32:06, followed by Lee George at 32:17 in 232nd.

"The guys ran their absolute hearts out. I am so proud of them," WSU Cross Country Head Coach Pete Julian said. "Every one of these teams are superstar teams: only 31 advance to the championships unlike other sports that take 64 teams. These are the very best teams and the very best runners in the country and really the world. We could have a great day and yet finish where we were ranked (27th nationally) coming in. I told the team my expectation was for them to battle while in 150th place - somewhere they are not used to being. I told them to fight, don't panic and not lose sight of the team race. But this team has never been here and every guy came off the course saying this was the hardest they have ever run."

Arizona's Lawi Lalang capped off an undefeated season, winning in 28:45. Wisconsin won the men's team title with 97 points, followed by Oklahoma State (139), Colorado (144), BYU (203), and Stanford (207) in the top five. Other West Region men's team finishes included Portland eighth (259), and WSU 21st (512), and Cal Poly 28th (680).

Bellingham's Jake Riley of Stanford earned an individual All-America honor, finishing 18th in 29:46.

Complete women's results are available here, while the men's results are available via this link.

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

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