ASU opens 2009 XC season at Kyte Invite

<p>The Arizona State University cross country team will send a small group of runners to Flagstaff, Ariz., on Saturday where they will compete in the 29th George Kyte Invitational that will be hosted by Northern Arizona at Buffalo Park. The women's 5,000m race opens the competition at 1:30 p.m. before the men run an 8,000m race starting at 2:15 p.m.</p><separator></separator><p>IN THE FIELD<br />The Sun Devil runners will be joined in the race by athletes from Arizona, host Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon, Western New Mexico, Scottsdale CC, Pima CC, Mesa CC, Glendale CC and Central Arizona.</p><separator></separator><p>NATIONALLY KNOWN<br />The U.S. Track &amp; Field, Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will release its preseason rankings for the men and women on September 16.</p><separator></separator><p>UNDER THE LIGHTS<br />In a little over one month (October 2), the Sun Devil program will be playing host to its annual ASU Invitational with this year's meet being a part of the Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa. The Friday night meet, which will be held under the lights, will have two collegiate races, seven high school races and the newly former Desert Twilight Community 5k Run. Runners of all ages and experience levels are welcome and encouraged to compete in the community run, which will start at 7:05 p.m. that night. For more information and to register, visit (search: Desert Twilight) or click on the DTXCF banner on the cross country page at</p><separator></separator><p>REWIND: 2008 KYTE INVITE<br />Arizona State competed in the 2008 George Kyte Invitational as its first meet of the season last year with the men taking second and the women third. The men, led by three Top 15 finishers, scored 57 points while the host Lumberjacks took the team title with 21 points. On the women's side, ASU was third with 85 points as all seven runners finished in consecutive order while NAU won with 21 points.</p><separator></separator><p>HISTORY: KYTE INVITE<br />In their history of competing in the George Kyte Invitational, the Sun Devils have had one individual champion and one team title recorded with both coming at the 2005 meet. Individually, <a href="">Jenna Wrieden</a> won the race in 17:56.8 which was the first of five individual wins by an ASU woman that year. The men, with four runners in the Top 10, including <a href="">Dav… Mehlhorn</a> taking fourth overall as a freshman, scored 22 points to win the team crown. That point total ranks as the (tie) fourth-best score in men's program history.</p><separator></separator><p>ON THE LINE<br />Six women and five men will make up the competing Sun Devils in Flagstaff this weekend, including three women and three men that will wear the ASU uniform in a collegiate race for the first time. The women will be represented by first-time ASU runners <a href="">Ca… Loden</a>, <a href="">Kate Lydy</a> and <a href="">Natasa Vulic</a> and will be joined by <a href="">Che… Caloia</a>, <a href="">… Greenwald</a> and <a href="">… Stringham</a>. For the men, <a href="">Matt Boughton</a>, <a href="">Ben Jankunas</a> and <a href="">Cam… Liston</a> will represent ASU for the first time with <a href="">Co… Eckelman</a> and <a href="">Dani… Lovell</a> also running.</p><separator></separator><p>FAMILIAR GROUNDS<br />One Sun Devil this weekend will be returning to his former home course as <a href="">Cam… Liston</a> runs for ASU after competing for Northern Arizona for one year. Liston was a member of the 2007 cross country and 2009 track &amp; field teams for the Lumberjacks before transferring to ASU last year.</p><separator></separator><p>WHO'S BACK - WOMEN<br />The women's 2009 roster includes 25 student-athletes with 19 of those runners returning to the program from last year. Of those 19, six are seniors, four are juniors, three are sophomores and six are back after redshirting their rookie seasons. The seniors have been a part of two NCAA four-place finishes in their careers (2005, 2007) and also helped the women's track &amp; field program to a trio of NCAA titles. The 2009 senior class includes: <a href="">Che… Caloia</a> (Phoenix), <a href="">Kryst… Duke</a> (Clovis, Calif.), <a href="">… Greenwald</a> (State College, Pa.), <a href="">Kari Hardt</a> (Queen Creek, Ariz.), <a href="">Ali Kielty</a><a href="">A… Spadafino</a> (Torrance, Calif.). (Torrance, Calif.) and</p><separator></separator><p>WHO'S BACK - MEN<br />The men's team, in contrast to the women, are young as 12 of their 17 runners are returning from last season with only one senior and four returning juniors. ASU also has four sophomores and three redshirt freshmen in the mix this season with their four true freshmen and one junior transfer. <a href="">Bra… Bethke</a> (Lake Forest, Calif.), who competed in outdoor track for the Sun Devils last spring, is the lone senior on the squad this season and will be competing in cross country for ASU for the first time after sitting out last fall following his transfer from Wisconsin. The returning juniors included <a href="">Co… Eckelman</a> (Loveland, Colo.), <a href="">Ben Engelhardt</a> (Columbus, Ohio), <a href="">Jeff Helmer</a> (Snohomish, Wash.) and <a href="">Pat… Milloy</a> (Murrieta, Calif.).</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 />ASU will take a week off from competition next weekend and return to the road for its second meet of the season as it travels to Tucson for the Dave Murray Invitational on Friday, September 18. The meet, which will be held at the Dell Urich Golf Course, will feature a women's 5,000m race at 5 p.m. and a men's 7,000m race at 5:45 p.m.</p>