Friday, November 9, 2012

Oregon's Hasay and Arizona's Lalang win NCAA West Regional crowns...

SEATTLE--On a cool and sunny day in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood, Oregon's Jordan Hasay (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Arizona's Lawi Lalang took home the individual titles Friday at the NCAA West Regional cross country championships at Jefferson Park Golf Course.

In the day's opening women's 6k race, Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo freshman Laura Hollander, who entered the meet undefeated, took to the front early, with pursuit from Hasay and Oregon teammate Alexi Pappas, going through the first of three laps in 6:23, extending her lead to five seconds at the 3000 meter mark, crossed in 9:36.

At 5k, crossed in 16:04, Hasay chipped a second off the lead, with Pac-12 champ Kathy Kroeger of Stanford establishing herself in third.

In the team race, Oregon established itself up front early with the host Washington Huskies and Arizona in pursuit, while Stanford's scoring runners were content to let things play out.

In the final kilometer, Hasay's experience won out, as she reeled Hollander in, running 3:08, to cross the line first in 19:16, opening up a victory margin of six seconds over the CP/SLO freshman.

Pac-12 champ Kroeger was third in 19:27, followed by Arizona State's surprising Shelby Houlihan in 19:50, with Stanford's Cayla Hatton rounding out the top five in 19:51.

The Ducks maintained their position up front, winning the team title with a low score of 64 points, 21 points up on runner-up Stanford's 85 points, who got the automatic bid to the national championships on a tiebreaker.

Arizona was third with the identical score of 85, with the host Huskies fourth with 96 points.

Washington was led by Katie Flood, who had a bounceback race, finishing 15th in 20:05.  Megan Goethals was 17th in 20:09, with Justine Johnson one place back in the same time.  

Lindsay Flanagan was 21st in 20:10, and Liberty Miller closed out the scorers in 25th at 20:16.

Washington's strong finish and strength of schedule this season should get the Huskies into the national championships in eight days in Louisville.

Gonzaga finished 14th with 354 points, led by Emily Thomas' 40th place finish in 20:45.

Washington State was 19th with 545 points, as Ruby Roberts led the Cougar charge, running 20:57.  Seattle University was 23rd with 655 points, led by Hannah Mittelstaedt's 76th place finish in 21:20.

Eastern Washington's lone runner was Berenice Penaloza, who was 145th in 22:16.

Like the Pac-12 championships two weeks ago in Santa Clarita, the race was a runaway with Arizona's Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu taking charge after an opening two miles, run with a large pack in 9:49.

Among those hanging on to the large pack behind the Wildcat duo were WAC champion Erik Barkhaus of Seattle University and Joey Bywater of the host Huskies.

In fact, Barkhaus was in third at 18:13 with two laps to go in this 10k race, before he faded.

Lalang and Sambu finished the 10-k course in 29:02, and 29:38, respectively.

Oregon's Trevor Dunbar was third in 29:43, with Stanford's Joe Rosa fourth at 29:44, and UCLA's Lane Werley fifth in 29:49.

Bywater cracked the top ten in 29:53 to nab eighth place.

Making a late charge on the final lap, Washington State's Australian import Todd Wakefield finished a surprising 14th  in 30:01, one spot ahead of Barkhaus, clocked in the same time.

Behind Bywater, Rob Webster Jr was 27th at 30:19, followed by Tyler King (40th, 30:27), Aaron Beattie (41st, 30:28), and Aaron Nelson (49th, 30:32).

Stanford easily won the team title with 45 points, with Portland a strong second at 107 points.

UCLA took third with 128 points, followed by Oregon at 135, followed by the Washington Huskies in fifth at 165, as they may be on the bubble for an at-large spot in next week's national championships.

Washington State, who was looking to make their second straight trip to the national championships, finished a disappointing seventh with 223 points, obviously hampered by team leader Andrew Kimpel's 98th place finish, as he showed the effects of the hamstring injury sustained before the Pac-12 championships.

Gonzaga was 14th with 401 points, led by Chris Boyle's 66th place finish in 30:52, and Seattle University was 16th at 451 points.

Wakefield and Barkhaus will most likely advance to next week's national championships as individual competitors, based on their top 25 finish, with Bywater going as an individual if the Huskies don't advance as a team.

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