Friday, November 14, 2014

Both Husky squads await their fates after finishing top 5 at regionals; Lystad moves on...

PALO ALTO, California--Both University of Washington cross country teams will await the decision of the NCAA cross country committee on whether or not they will advance to next week's national championships in Terre Haute, Indiana after their women's team finished fourth, and the men's team placed fifth at the Western Regional championship race Friday morning at the Stanford Golf Course.

The announcement on which 13 teams from around the country will move on will take place Saturday at noon, pacific time.  Only the top two teams from each of the nine regional races from around the country on Friday are assured spots on the line in Terre Haute on November 22nd.

One person who is assured of going to the national championship is Kirkland native Tansey Lystad (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the University of Portland, who finished sixth, covering the 6k course in 20:09, one spot ahead of the Huskies' Maddie Meyers, who ran 20:18.

"I was just trying to mix it up with the big girls.  My motto for this season is to 'make it count', and I wanted to run with them and secure a spot at nationals," said Lystad, the reigning West Coast Conference champion.

When asked about her confidence going into the regional championship, Lystad, who graduated from Inglemoor HS, she said that making it to the national championship meet during the track season gave her a big boost.

For the Huskies, freshman Anna Maxwell finished 15th in 20:42, followed by Eleanor Fulton in 25th (20:59), then Anastasia Kosykh in 41st (21:15), and Kaylee Flanagan in 43rd (21:18), giving Washington a 60 second gap between the first and fifth runners.

Washington State finished 13th with 360 points led by Abby Regan's 36th place finish in 21:13.

Gonzaga finished 16th with 413 points, led by Amelia Evans, who finished 32nd in 21:10.  WAC champion Seattle University was 18th with 501 points led by Taylor de Laveaga, who finished 63rd in 21:34.

Oregon took the team crown with a low score of 88 points, followed by Boise State's 103, with Stanford third also at 103 (Boise State's fifth runner finished ahead of Stanford's fifth to take the tiebreaker and the automatic berth to the national championship).

Pac-12 champ Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State won the race in 19:32, three seconds ahead of defending NCAA regional champ Emma Bates of Boise State.  Elise Cranny of Stanford was third at 19:46, followed by Bethan Knights of Cal at 20:00, then Pasco HS graduate Marisa Howard, last year's NCAA steeplechase runner-up from Boise State in fifth at 20:05.

In the men's 10k race, UCLA turned the tables on the Huskies, as the Bruins finished fourth with 104 points, and the Dawgs in fifth with 139, reversing the finish from the Pac-12 championship meet two weeks ago in Oakland.

Washington senior Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Paul Merca) led the Huskies with his seventh place finish in 29:49, even briefly taking the lead with less than a mile to go.

But unlike the Pac-12s, where the Huskies were able to stay in a tight pack with Nelson, the Dawgs had a 37 second gap between Nelson and fifth man Colby Gilbert, who finished 43rd in 30:23.

There was a 16 second gap between Nelson and second Husky Izaic Yorks, who was 24th in 30:02.  Following Yorks for the Huskies was Meron Simon in 32nd (30:12) and Tyler King in 33rd (30:12).

Gonzaga finished tenth with 293 points led by Troy Fraley in 36th (30:17).  Washington State was 13th with 335 points, led by Drew Jordan's 46th place finish in 30:25.  Seattle University was 24th with 684 points.  Gus Arroyo led the Redhawks with his 85th place finish in 31:10.

Stanford's Maxim Korolev won the individual title, running 29:34, one second ahead of Oregon's Edward Cheserek, who was handed his first career loss.  Eric Jenkins of Oregon was third in 29:40, followed by Portland's Scott Fauble in 29:40, and Cal's Chris Walden in fifth at 29:41.

Oregon took the team title with 60 points, followed by Portland's 71, then Stanford's 97, with UCLA fourth at 104, and the Huskies fifth with 139.

UW coach Greg Metcalf expressed confidence that both his teams would advance to the national championship meet. “I thought both of our teams did exactly what they needed to do to get to the show,” he said. “Both teams ran better over the second half of the race. They closed incredibly well. The men especially, the goal was to run as a group at the halfway point and build from there.”

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