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ASU heads to Oregon for Pac-10 cross country meet

October 28, 2008

The championship portion of the 2008 season gets underway this weekend in Oregon for the Arizona State University cross country team as the Sun Devils travel to Springfield Country Club for the 2008 Pac-10 Championships on Friday afternoon in Springfield, Ore. The women's 23rd annual 6,000m race will open the meet with a 2:25 p.m. start time while the 40th annual men's 8,000m race will begin at 3:25 p.m.

At the start of the season, the Pac-10 Championships were originally scheduled for the Saturday, November 1. Due to the Oregon high school state meet being held the same day in Eugene, the Pac-10 meet was pushed ahead one day to Friday, October 31.

Fans will have a pair of options to watch video of the Championships on Friday from the comfort of their homes and/or offices. The Pac-10 Conference will provide live streaming video of both races which can be found on the conference's web site ( Also, if you have access to Comcast Sports Net Northwest, tune in at 3 p.m. Pacific on Friday for a telecast of the Pac-10 Championships. The telecast will open with a tape-delayed rebroadcast of the women's championship race and will then go into the men's race live at 3:25 p.m.

The Pac-10 Conference recently interviewed Ali Kielty and Yosef Ghebray (California) for a podcast prior to the Pac-10 Championships this week. To access the podcast, either visit the Conference's web site ( and navigate to the bottom right side of the front page or visit the iTunes Store and search for Pac-10 Podcast (the subscription is free of charge).

Here are six quick notes on ASU as its heads to the Pac-10 Championships:
1k - Although this is the 40th annual men's championship, the Sun Devil men will be competing in just their 25th Pac-10 race as the ASU joined the conference in 1978-79, but did not compete in the cross country championships until 1984
2k - The women are competing in their 23rd Pac-10 race after running in their first race at the 1986 championships, the first year the Pac-10 held a women's championship race
3k - Counting individual and team titles, the Sun Devils have only one victory, which came in 2004 as Amy Hastings won the women's race in San Francisco. Neither team, as well as an individual man, have won Pac-10 crowns
4k - The ASU women have finished in the Top 3 at the Pac-10 meet in each of the last nine seasons while the men have finished in the Top 5 in each of the last 10 seasons
5k - This weekend's meet marks the third time the state of Oregon has hosted the event and the second year in a row the state will hold the meet after Oregon State hosted in 2007
6k - Stanford's women (12 in a row) and Oregon's men (two) are the defending champions

The U.S. Track & Field, Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the national rankings for week five on October 28 the Sun Devil women remaining No. 15 while the men are unranked. The teams also remained No. 3 and No. 9, respectively, in the West region.

With their No. 15 national ranking, the women extended their current streak to 79 weeks in a row that they have appeared in the poll, dating back to a No. 15 ranking on October 12, 1998. Since that ranking, the Sun Devils have spent 79 weeks in the Top 30. While remaining in the Top 15 this week, the Sun Devils did see a streak of 25 weeks in a row end as members of the Top 10. The last time ASU was not in the Top 10 came September 22, 2004 (No. 22).

Each race will feature five nationally ranked teams, including the Top 2 squads in each gender, according to the October 28 USTFCCCA Top 30 rankings. The women's race features No. 1 Washington, No. 2 Oregon, No. 15 ASU, No. 18 Stanford and Oregon State, who is receiving votes. The men's race will feature No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Stanford, No. 13 UCLA, No. 24 California and No. 24 Washington.

With each team allowed to enter no more than 10 runners per race at the Pac-10 meet, the field sizes will be small, especially in the men's race as only eight conference schools are represented in cross country. While all 10 schools are represented in the women's race, the men's race will see only Arizona State, Arizona, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State (USC and Oregon State do not have teams).

The women scored 68 points to tie with Washington for third place and the men tallied 105 points to finish fifth overall at the 2007 meet that was held in Corvallis, Ore. Stanford's women won their 12th title in a row (48 points) with Oregon in second place, just four points ahead of ASU and UW. On the men's side, UO won the race with 39 points and was followed by SU (55), California (70) and UCLA (97). Jenna Kingma, Ali Kielty and Kari Hardt each earned All-Pac-10 honors by finishing fifth (first team), seventh (first team) and 12th (second team), respectively, to pace the women while Kyle Alcorn (10th) was the top men's runner for ASU, earning second team All-Pac-10 honors in the process.

The Sun Devils will send 20 runners to the start line Friday in Oregon with five women and three men returning to the meet after competing last year. Returning for the women is the entire Top 6 from 2007, including Jenna Kingma (5th), Ali Kielty (7th), Kari HardtCamille Olson (18th), Angela Spadafino (26th) and Krystal Duke (31st), along with newcomers Sunni Olding, Kauren TarverLindsay Prescott, as well as Haley Paul, who placed 26th at the 2006 meet with Washington State. On the men's side, only three return from last year, including Ben Engelhardt (26th), David Mehlhorn (68th) and Santos Castro (69th), while the remaining seven runners will be making their Pac-10 cross country debut: Nectaly Barbosa, Collin Eckelman, Dylan Hatcher, Daniel Lovell, Patrick Milloy, Thomas Petersen and Noah Shannon. (12th), and

In the four years Louie Quintana has guided the Sun Devils at the Pac-10 Championships, the women have finished no lower than third and the men no lower than fifth. In his first three years, the women placed second before tying for third last year while the men posted finishes of second (2004), fifth (2005 and 2007) and fourth (2006). In the same span, he has led both teams to record point totals in the meet, including the women's 39 points in 2005 and the men's 64 points in 2004, both resulting in runner-up finishes.

The 2008 Pac-10 Championships will mark the second time Oregon has played host to the event and the second year in a row the state has served as meet host after Oregon State held the event in Corvallis last year. The first time UO hosted the meet was in 1998 with both Sun Devil squads placing fourth while Stanford captured both team crowns. The ASU women scored 122 points with the Top 3 being comprised of Stanford (53), Washington (74) and Arizona (92) while Stanford's men scored 48 points in the win with Oregon (50) and Arizona (90) rounding out the Top 3.

Only three women's programs have won the Pac-10 meet, including Stanford (14 titles), Oregon (seven) and Washington (one) while six men's teams have captured titles, including Oregon (15), Stanford (10), Arizona (seven), Washington State (four), UCLA (two) and Washington (one).

From 1986 through 1992, the winner of the women's race hailed from either Oregon (six titles) or Washington State (one). In the 15 races since then, the winners of the race have come from the states of California and Arizona: Stanford (seven, including the last three), Arizona (five), UCLA (two) and ASU (one) have all won individual crowns.

Individually, five women and six men have placed among the Top 5 at the Pac-10 Championships. Amy Hastings has had the best performances at the Pac-10 meet for ASU, winning in 2004, taking second in 2005 and fourth in 2003, the only three-time Top 5 placer. Lisa Aguilera finished second (2000) and fourth (1999) to be the only other multiple Top 5 finisher for the women while Aaron Aguayo (third in 2004, fourth in 2006) and Fasil Bizuneh (second in 2001, fourth in 1999) are the lone multiple Top 5 placers for the men's team. The Sun Devil women have had at least one runner finish in the Top 5 at the conference meet in each of the last five years, including Jenna Kingma, who placed fifth overall last year.

The Sun Devils competed in the NCAA Pre-National Meet on October 18 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., the same course that will play host to the NCAA Championships on November.
1k - The women's team finished sixth in the 39-team white race, scoring 202 points
2k - Ali Kielty was the top finisher for the women, placing 11th overall in 20:39.8
3k - Kari Hardt also placed in the Top 20 as she finished 17th in 20:48.4
4k - The men's team scored 533 points to place 17th in the 40-team white race
5k - Patrick Milloy was the top runner for ASU, placing 51st in 24:24.9
6k - Kauren Tarver (35th) and Krystal Duke (70th), in her first race of the season, both competed in the women's open race

One day before the Pre-National meet, members of the team competed at the Mesa Thunderbird Invitational at Kiwanis Park (Tempe).
1k - Kate Lydy (unattached from ASU) won her second race in a row at Kiwanis Park as the true freshman also won the ASU Invitational two weeks earlier
2k - Cherise McNair (2nd) and Natasa Vulic (4th), both competing unattached, finished in the Top 5 in the women's 5,000m race
3k - Brandon Bethke (unattached from ASU) won his second race of the season (also won the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson)
4k - Maureen Stringham (12th in 19:57) and Daniel Lovell (4th in 15:47) were the top runners representing ASU in the races

So far this season, a member of the Arizona State program has won six races with four of those being won by a Sun Devil that was competing unattached from the team. On the women's side, true freshman Kate Lydy has won the Joe Uff/ASU Invitational and the Mesa Thunderbird Invitational while competing unattached from ASU after finishing 15th at the Dave Murray Invitational, her first race of the year. Ali Kielty opened the winning for ASU by taking the Dave Murray meet title in Tucson before Kari Hardt captured the Roy Griak Invitational after taking second at the Murray. On the men's side, Brandon Bethke, who is running unattached from ASU this season, has won the only two races he has run, the Dave Murray and the Mesa Thunderbird.

By capturing the 23rd Joe Uff/ASU Invitational (October 3), Kate Lydy continued a streak of three weeks in a row with a member of the Sun Devil women's program winning her first collegiate race. Lydy, who won the event in 18:20.3 two weeks before winning the Mesa Thunderbird Invitational in 18:11.0, followed Ali Kielty and Kari Hardt as first time collegiate winners. Kielty won the Dave Murray Invitational (September 19) before the team traveled to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational, which Hardt won on September 27.

While the Sun Devils have four women and two men on the roster this season that have earned collegiate All-America honors, only the women have accumulated the national accolade on the cross country course. Last year, both Jenna Kingma and Ali Kielty earned All-America honors in cross country -- their first in the sport -- by finishing 37th and 42nd, respectively. The team's leaders from last year will be joined this year by a pair of senior transfers with cross country All-America honors, including Sunni Olding (2004 and 2005 at Notre Dame) and Haley Paul (2005 at Washington State).

By earning a berth into the NCAA Championships as an at-large selection in 2007, the Sun Devil women extended their current streak to 10 years in a row at the national meet, keeping them tied with North Carolina for the sixth-longest active streak in the nation. BYU and Providence lead the way with 19 years in a row and are followed by Colorado (16), Stanford (15) and NC State (13).

On the track in 2008, the Sun Devil men's distance corps saw three of its runners earn All-America honors and capture two national titles. Kyle Alcorn, who recently graduated, won the 3,000m run at the indoor championships after entering the meet ranked 14th overall before heading outdoors to win the 3,000m steeplechase crown at the NCAA meet. Alcorn joined up with fellow distance runners Nectaly Barbosa (800m) and Joey Heller (1,200m) and sprinter Justin Kremer (400m) to finish second in the nation indoors in the distance medley relay and add another eight team points. In the end, those points in the 3,000m and DMR proved very needed as the Sun Devil men beat out Florida State by three points for the NCAA team championship, joining the women as national team champions at the same meet.

The Sun Devils will take a weekend off from competition before heading to Palo Alto, Calif., and the Stanford Golf Course on November 15 for the NCAA West Region Championships. The women will compete in the 6,000m race and the men in a 10,000m race with the Top 2 teams automatically earning a berth into the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on November 24. Those teams not in the Top 2 will be eligible for one of 13 at-large selections made by the NCAA Championship Committee following the regional meets.