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ASU women set to race at Roy Griak Invite

September 23, 2010

Sun Devil Meet Notes (pdf)

The Arizona State University women’s cross country team will hit the road this weekend as the Sun Devils will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 25th Roy Griak Invitational to be run Saturday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. The women will run in the Jack Johnson Women’s Gold (Division I) race in the event being hosted by Minnesota.

Multimedia will once again bring the action from Minnesota to a computer screen near you as they will broadcast the 25th running of the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday. Fans can watch by logging in on their site and registration to view the event is free.

In the Rankings
The U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its second regional and national rankings this week with the Sun Devils remaining where they were last week. The men remained at No. 17 in the national poll and No. 4 in the West Region rankings while the women continued to receive votes in the national poll and stayed at No. 5 in the West.

In the Field
The Roy Griak Invitational is scheduled to feature 25 teams in the women’s race, including seven that are ranked in this week’s USTFCCCA National Top 30 and three others, including the Sun Devils, that are receiving votes. The ranked teams in the race include No. 7 Duke, No. 14 Providence, No. 15 Iowa State, No. 18 New Mexico, No. 24 Arizona, No. 27 Penn State and No. 28 Minnesota. Along with ASU, NC State and Toledo are both receiving votes. ASU will be one of three Pac-10 schools in the race as Oregon State will join the two Grand Canyon State teams.

Meet History: Roy Griak
The women have enjoyed a great deal of success over the years at the Roy Griak Invitational as they have competed in the event 10 times since 1999 and won four times with five runner-up finishes and one third-place showing. The Sun Devils last won the meet in 2005 after capturing crowns in 2003, 2001 and 1999. Since ASU did not compete in the event last year, they enter this week’s race having finished second in their last three appearances (2008, 2007 and 2006).

One of the Best
In the previous 24 Griak meets, Arizona State is one of 13 different schools that have won the invitational while being one of only five to win two or more team titles. In fact, the Sun Devils (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005) join host Minnesota (1988, 2000, 2007, 2008) and Providence (1995, 1996, 1998, 2004) as the only four-time champions. The other multiple-time champions are Oregon (1989, 1994) and Wisconsin (1992, 1997).

Individual Success
Two women have won the individual title at the Roy Griak Invitational in recent years, including Kari Hardt in 2008 and Amy Hastings in 2005. The win for Hardt was the first (and only) of her collegiate career while Hastings’ win was the final of her school-record five individual victories.

Meet Recap: 2008 Roy Griak
It has been two years since the Sun Devils competed in Minneapolis where the fifth-ranked women took second place overall while the men finished 10th as a team. For the women, Kari Hardt won the individual race crown to lead the women as she crossed the finish line in 21:19 while the remaining four scorers for the team placed in the Top 19, including Jenna Kingma (third), Ali Kielty (sixth), Haley Paul (17th) and Angela Spadafino (19th).

Returning to Race
Of the seven women that ran for the Sun Devils the last time they competed at the Roy Griak Invitational, two return this season as both placed in the Top 35 as freshmen. Lindsay Prescott covered the 6,000m course in 22:06 to place 26th overall while Kauren Tarver ran the race in 22:21 to finish 31st. Both are expected to lead the team this weekend in Minnesota.

Looking to Break Through
When Anna Sperry won the Dave Murray Invitational last year, she captured the 30th individual title in women’s program history and gave the women at least one race victory in each of the last three seasons six in the last seven. While the women have had individual success, the men are looking to break a drought that has lasted since the 2001 season when Juan Reyes won the UC Irvine-Asics Invitational. In the time between now and Reyes’ victory, the women have captured 13 race titles.

Men Win Murray Invitational
Last Friday, the Sun Devils traveled south to Tucson and competed in the Dave Murray Invitational, which was hosted by Arizona. The men won with 21 points and the women were second with 44 points. The win for the men marks their second all-time in Tucson after winning the 2008 edition of the Murray meet and also gives the program its first win since taking the ASU Invitational last year. The 21 points scored by the men, which gave them a 19-point cushion over host UA, ties for the fourth-lowest total in program history, equalling the 21 points scored to win the UNLV Invitational in 1984. The three scores lower in ASU history came at the 1999 Canyon West (15 points), the 2009 ASU Invitational (16) and the 2005 Canyon West (17).

Men Strong Up Front
In the men’s race, Engelhardt led the charge with a fifth-place showing and was followed in the Top 10 by Darius Terry (seventh), Doug Smith (eighth) and Daniel Lovell (ninth) while the Top 5 finishers was closed out by Nick Happe, who was battling sickness, took 13th. Three more men finished in the Top 21, including Steven Schnieders (18th), Matt Estlund (19th) and Sean Newport (21st).

Women Stay Together
In the women’s race, Prescott was the top finisher for ASU with a second-place finish while Alyssa Allison took ninth for the team’s only other Top 10 finish. Although there were only two in the Top 10, the remaining six Sun Devils all placed in the Top 21, including Top 15 finishes by Cherise McNair (11th), Anna Sperry (12th), Kate Lydy (13th) and Karlee Owens (14th).

Hello My Name Is...
Heading into the 2010 season, there are 44 student-athletes on the Sun Devil rosters, including 22 women and 22 men. Of those 44 runners, 17 are new to the team this season, including seven women and 10 men. The women’s newcomers include transfers Alyssa Allison (Arkansas), Eliza Gawryluk (Northern Arizona) and Hailey Hanna (Mesa CC) and freshmen Nathalie Anaya (Windermere, Fla.), Christina Price (Tucson, Ariz.), Jade Riley (Glendale, Ariz.) and Kailey Rumbo (Phoenix, Ariz.). On the men’s side, the 10 newcomers are comprised of three transfers in Michael Rodriguez (ASU’s club team), Darius Terry (Northern Arizona) and Brian Yates (Queens Univ. of Charlotte) and freshmen Garrett Baker-Slama (Tempe), Andy Cannata (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Jared Gonzales (Chandler, Ariz.), Andrew Hagler (Chandler, Ariz.), Jesus Molina (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Sean Newport (Tempe, Ariz.) and Jesus Rivera (Sedona, Ariz.).

The additions of Jade Riley and Kailey Rumbo to the Sun Devil roster this season not only gives Arizona State a pair of successful runners, but also reunites them with a pair of teammates from their days at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Camille Olson and Lindsay Prescott. The last time the four women competed on the same cross country team came in 2006 when they captured the Arizona 5A-II state title with 28 points, nearly 60 points clear of runner-up Marana Mountain View (87 points). In that state championship race, Prescott won the individual crown with Olson taking second, Riley finishing fourth and Rumbo taking 15th.

Reunited, Too
Like the women, the men’s roster has some similar schools appearing, including a pair of high school teammates and a pair of teammates from another university. Last year, Cameron Liston joined the Sun Devils after running for Northern Arizona University and, this year, he is joined on the roster by Darius Terry, who also competed NAU. A pair of freshmen also are continuing their competitive careers together as both Jared Gonzales and Andrew Hagler both join the squad after running together at Chandler High School.

With Hard Work...
One of the new additions to the program this fall is Michael Rodriguez, who debuts for the Sun Devils as a fifth-year senior. In the past four years, Rodriguez continued to train toward his goal of making the Sun Devil squad by running with the Arizona State club team and even competed in several cross country and track & field events that the Sun Devils hosted during that time. The State Press recently wrote a feature on Rodriguez (, which ran on September 15.

Welcome Back
Twenty-seven student-athletes return to the roster this year, including five seniors: Cherise McNair, Brianna Smith and Anna Sperry for the women and men’s runners Ben Engelhardt and Zeke Van Patten. Six returners are juniors with three women in Camille Olson, Lindsay Prescott and Kauren Tarver and men Dylan Hatcher, Cameron Liston and Daniel Lovell. The returning sophomores include women Courtney Golden, Catherine Loden, Kate Lydy, Stephanie Mundt, Natasa Vulic and Ashley Wimmer and men Matt Boughton, Nick Happe, Ben Jankunas, Mason McHenry and Doug Smith. The Sun Devils that were with the program last year and redshirted include women Karlee Owens, Natalie Todd and Liz Zuniga and men Matt Estlund and Steven Schnieders.

Youthful Roster
Of those 44 student-athletes on the roster this fall, only six are listed as senior (three men and three women) with only eight more runners (five women, three men) listed as juniors, giving Arizona State 30 freshmen and sophomores. The freshmen include nine true-freshmen and seven redshirt freshmen.

Take Me to Your Leader
Louie Quintana returns for his seventh year as the head coach of the Sun Devil cross country program, a program in which he took over on August 18, 2004. During his six years leading the distance group, Quintana has worked with seven individuals that earned 10 total All-America honors in cross country, including the program’s only three-time honoree Amy Hastings and, most recently, Brandon Bethke, who placed seventh nationally at the 2009 NCAA meet. On the track, his athletes have been instrumental in helping the Sun Devils capture four national titles and three Pac-10 crowns. He has worked with three individuals that have collected four NCAA titles, including Kyle Alcorn, who won the indoor 3,000m run and the outdoor 3,000m steeplechase in 2008.

Lucky 13
Heading into the season, the women’s program will look to continue it’s recent streak of success as the Sun Devils have advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships in each of the past 12 season, the third-longest active streak in the nation and the eighth-best all-time. Prior to making the field of 31 in 1998, the women had never competed as a team in the national event.

Turn Two
While the women have built an impressive streak of advancement to the NCAA meet, the men have competed in the event just six times overall, including last season, in which it placed 19th. By making the field of 31 this year, the men would advance to the national championships for the second year in a row, a feat that has happened only one other time when ASU was eighth in 2004 and 17th in 2005. The other national appearances the men made came in 1999, 2001 and 2007.

Next Time Out
A pair of meets await the Sun Devils next week as both the ASU Invitational and the Notre Dame Invitational will be held on Friday, October 1. The ASU Invitational will take place at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa with the women’s 5,000m run at 6:15 p.m. and the men’s 5,000m run at 6:30 p.m. A community 5,000m run, which is part of the Desert Twilight XC Festival, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, the men’s top runners will be in South Bend, Ind., to take part in the Notre Dame event.