Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The road to Terre Haute runs through Sacramento for Friday's NCAA West Regional race...

The road to Terre Haute, Indiana and the NCAA cross country championships on November 23rd goes directly through Sacramento, California as Washington's five Division I schools--Washington, Washington State, SeattleU, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington--vie for team and individual spots at Friday's NCAA West Regional race at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course, hosted by Sacramento State University.

The men's 10k race gets the meet going at 10:30 am, followed by the women's 6k at 11:45 am.

A solid performance in Sacramento by the Washington women's squad , currently ranked #12 in the USTFCCCA national polls on Friday should put the Huskies in next week's national title race, with #1 ranked Arizona, the Pac-12 champ as the Dawgs' most formidable opponent, though they can't overlook #15 Oregon, #17 San Francisco, #18 Stanford, #25 Boise State, and #26 Arizona State.

The Huskies will be bolstered by the presence of All-American Megan Goethals (left/photo by Mike Scott), who made her season debut at the Pac-12 meet in Colorado, after spending most of the season out with a stress fracture.

The Washington men's squad, currently ranked #29 in the USTFCCCA national polls have a bit of a road to climb if they want to go to Terre Haute.

#4 Oregon, #6 Stanford, #10 Portland, #28 Arizona State and unranked Boise State, who beat the Huskies at last month's Bill Dellinger Invitational are the squads that Washington will have to contend with.

Courtesy of media partner, here's an interview with UW coach Greg Metcalf previewing the NCAA West Regionals:

Washington State's men's squad, coming off their best performance of the season with a sixth place finish at the Pac-12 championships, might have the best shot of the other four Washington schools to sneak into the NCAA championship conversation, though they will have to beat at least two nationally ranked squads to be considered.  The Cougs will be led by Todd Wakefield, who qualified for the NCAA meet as an individual last year, and Andrew Gonzales, who has been their #1 runner for most of this season.

There are nine regional meets where the top two teams automatically qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute. After those 18 teams, 13 at-large teams are selected based on how well they’ve competed this season against the automatic qualifiers. For an individual to make it, they must be one of the first four individual runners to place, and finish in the top 25 overall in their region. will be on hand to cover the NCAA West Regionals.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Eastern Washington, Washington State, and Sacramento State Universities contributed to this report.

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