ASU Harriers head to Indiana for NCAA pre-nationals

<p>The Arizona State University cross country program will be back in action this weekend as the No. 19 men and No. 17 women travel to the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 2009 NCAA Pre-National Meet, hosted by Indiana State University. The meet, which will feature six races and many of the top teams in the nation, will be run on the same course that will host the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships on November 23. The men will run in the 'white' 8,000m race at 11:40 a.m. ET while the women will run the 'white' 5,000m event at 12:55 p.m. ET on Saturday.</p><separator></separator><p>ONE 'HALL' OF A RUN<br />On April 7, 1984, the Arizona State men's 4x800m relay team of Pete Richardson, Eddie Davis, Treg Scott and Mike Stahr combined to clock a time of 7:08.96 to not only with the meet title at the Sun Angel Track Classic in Tempe, but also set an American and collegiate record in the process. The record of 7:13.8 was run by Kansas State in 1970 before four schools broke the mark on April 24, 1982. Villanova broke the 12-year old record with its run of 7:12.29 before the Sun Devils took over the record, one that still stands today. Richardson (1:47.5), Davis (1:47.8), Scott (1:48.1) and Stahr's (1:45.6) record has stood 25 years with the closest any other team has come being a mark of 7:11.17 run by Penn State in 1985. With such a stellar record, Arizona State will welcome the relay into its Hall of Fame this weekend, making it the second time an ASU relay has been enshrined, joining the team of Cliff McKenzie, Gerald Burl, Tony Darden and Herman Frazier, who, in 1977, set the world, American and collegiate record in the 4x400m relay in 3:01.74.</p><separator></separator><p> SPEAKING OF SPEED<br /> ...members of that record 4x400m relay will be on campus this weekend as the 1977 NCAA Outdoor Championship team will hold a reunion while also being honored at the Arizona State-Washington football game on Saturday. The 1977 team won the first national title in the history of the program and held that distinction until 2007 when the women won the indoor and outdoor crowns. The men were joined by the 2008 men's team as national champions when the younger edition of the Sun Devils brought home the NCAA Indoor title at the same time the women won their second.</p><separator></separator><p> NATIONALLY KNOWN<br /> The U.S. Track &amp; Field, Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its first national rankings (week three) on October 13 with both Sun Devil squads finding a position in the Top 20 after strong showings at the Notre Dame Invitational (October 2). The women, who finished fifth at Notre Dame, slipped to No. 17 (were at No. 13) while the men, unranked heading into that weekend, jumped into a tie for No. 19 after taking third.</p><separator></separator><p> MEET INFO - PRE-NATIONALS<br /> The NCAA Pre-National Meet is divided into three races for each gender, including the white, blue and open runs. Teams entered into the meet are sorted into the white and blue races based upon their national and regional rankings with the men running against 34 other squads the women against 36 others. All men's races will be 8,000m while the women will run a 5,000m course.</p><separator></separator><p> ON THE LINE<br /> Both teams will be one of at least 10 nationally ranked teams in their races with six other programs currently ranked ahead of Arizona State in both races. The men (No. 19) will have No. 1 Stanford, No. 5 Colorado, No. 6 BYU, No. 8 Portland, No. 12 Iona and No. 18 Iowa State in their race while the women (No. 17) will compete with No. 1 Washington, No. 5 Princeton, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Florida, No. 12 Baylor and No. 15 Syracuse.</p><separator></separator><p> RECAP: 2009 NOTRE DAME INVITE<br /> In South Bend, Ind., the ASU men took third place and the women fifth place with both finishing ahead of a handful of teams ranked higher than them. On the men's side, <a href="">Bra… Bethke</a> took runner-up honors by one second to lead the men as ASU scored 143 points with only No. 22 Washington (113) and No. 15 Providence (119) finishing ahead of the unranked Devils. ASU also finished ahead of ranked teams in No. 24 New Mexico, No. 20 Butler, No. 26 Florida State, No. 11 Tulsa, No. 30 Princeton and No. 28 Notre Dame. On the women's side, <a href="">Kari Hardt</a> led the way with her 18th-place finish to help ASU score 170 points as the No. 13 team in the nation took fifth overall with No. 1 Washington winning (33 points). ASU did finish ahead of No. 3 Florida State and No. 12 Providence in the meet.</p><separator></separator><p> RECOUNT, PLEASE<br /> Following the meet, the men were awarded fifth place, but it was discovered that one of ASU's scoring runners, <a href="">Pat… Milloy</a>, was left out of the results. After confirmation of his finish, the results were redone and ASU moved ahead of both New Mexico and Butler to help the Sun Devils chances of competing in the national meet later this season.</p><separator></separator><p> RECAP: 2009 ASU INVITATIONAL<br /> The ASU Invitational was part of the Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival that featured 11 races and over 2,400 runners on the night. In the collegiate races, the Sun Devils swept both team titles with the men scoring a near-perfect 16 points and the women taking the crown with 30 points, giving ASU a sweep for the first time since 2005. <a href="">Dani… Lovell</a> led the charge for the men with his third-place finish while <a href="">Bria… Smith</a><a href="">Allie Kieffer</a> also competed in the women's race and was second overall. was the top female finisher in fourth place. Running unattached from the team,</p><separator></separator><p> REWIND: 2008 PRE-NATIONALS<br /> Last year in Terre Haute, the women finished sixth in a 39-team race while the men took 17th in the 40-team field. <a href="">Ali Kielty</a> led the way for the women as she finished 11th overall and <a href="">Pat… Milloy</a> (51st) was the top runner for the men on the day.</p><separator></separator><p> RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS<br /> Of those returning Sun Devils, five enter the season with at least one individual All-America honor earned while representing Arizona State either in cross country or on the track. For the women, both <a href="">Kari Hardt</a> and <a href="">Ali Kielty</a> have earned the national honor in cross country as Hardt finished 39th overall last year and Kielty took 42nd in the 2007 meet. On the men's side, <a href="">Bra… Bethke</a> earned his first All-America honor as a Sun Devil by finishing fourth at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track &amp; Field Championships in the 5,000m run; <a href="">Mason McHenry</a> was an indoor All-American in 2009 while competing in the 800m run; and <a href="">Ne… Barbosa</a> collected a pair of honors during the 2008 track seasons, first as a member of the national runner-up indoor distance medley relay before earning All-America accolades outdoors in the 800m run.</p><separator></separator><p> HELLO! MY NAME IS...<br /> Six women and five men make up the newest members of the Sun Devil roster with two of those women and one man joining the program after transferring to Arizona State this summer. The two women that transferred in include senior <a href="">Allie Kieffer</a> (West Islip, N.Y.), who comes to ASU from Wake Forest, and junior <a href="">Anna Sperry</a>, (Simi Valley, Calif.) who comes to the Valley from BYU, while the men's lone transfer is <a href="">Zeke Van Patten</a><a href="">Kevyn Murphy</a> (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), <a href="">Karlee Owens</a> (Arroyo Grande, Calif.), <a href="">Natal… Todd</a> (St. Louis, Mo.) and <a href="">Liz Zuniga</a> (West Covina, Calif.) for the women and <a href="">Matt Estlund</a> (St. Charles, Mo.), <a href="">Nick Happe</a> (St. Charles, Mo.), <a href="">… Schnieders</a> (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and <a href="">Doug Smith</a> (Corvallis, Ore.), who formerly ran at Western Oregon University. The remaining four women and four men are all true freshmen this fall and include (Roxbury, N.J.).</p><separator></separator><p> LET'S REVIEW: 2008 SEASON - WOMEN<br /> Advanced to their 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Cross Country Championships and placed 14th overall (381 points)... appearance streak at the national meet currently stands as the third-longest in the nation while their streak also ranks as the eighth-longest in NCAA history... earned a berth into the national meet by finishing fourth overall at the NCAA West Region Championships (128 points) after taking fourth in the Pac-10 Championships (105 points)... individually, <a href="">Kari Hardt</a> led the team much of the year as she was the top finisher in each of the three championship races... she earned her first All-America honor by placing 39th overall at the NCAA Championships (20:42.10), was an All-West Region selection by placing 10th (20:18.96) at the regional meet and was a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree for finishing ninth in the league meet (20:26.57)... Hardt also was one of two women to win an individual race on the season as she captured the title at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota (21:18.40) two weeks after <a href="">Ali Kielty</a> won the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson (13:39.62) to lead the women to the team title as well... Kielty also was an award winner as she was a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree while joining <a href="">Jenna Kingma</a> as a member of the All-West Region team... academically, Kielty earned recognition, along with the team, from the USTFCCCA while Kielty, Kingma, <a href="">A… Spadafino</a> and <a href="">… Stringham</a> were Academic All-Pac-10 honorees... Kingma was inaugural recipient of the Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Women's Cross Country, presented by Toyo Tires.</p><separator></separator><p> LET'S REVIEW: 2008 SEASON - MEN<br /> Posted a pair of eighth-place finishes in their two championship appearances, scoring 198 points at the Pac-10 Championships before scoring 290 points in the NCAA West Region Championships... <a href="">Pat… Milloy</a> was the top runner of the men during the season as he was the first across the line in four races, including the championship events where he placed 28th in the Pac-10 (24:32.61) and 42nd in the region (30:23.11)... similar to the women, the men also won the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson after taking second at the season-opening George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff... academically, the men's team earned recognition from the USTFCCCA... seven Sun Devils also earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors, including a first-team selection for <a href="">Th… Petersen</a> and second-team picks for <a href="">Ben Engelhardt</a> and <a href="">Dani… Lovell</a>.</p><separator></separator><p> NEXT TIME OUT<br /> The final tune-up event for the Sun Devils will come next Thursday (October 22) at 9 a.m. when several athletes compete in the Mesa Thunderbird Classic at Riverview Park in Mesa. Eight days later, the Sun Devils will travel to Long Beach, Calif., for the 2009 Pac-10 Championships, hosted by USC, on October 30.</p>