Pac-10 Championships await ASU harriers saturday

<p align="justify">TEMPE, Ariz. - The championship portion of the 2007 cross country season gets underway for the Arizona State University cross country program this weekend as the Sun Devil harriers head to the Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis, Ore., for the 2007 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships. The meet opens at 9:30 a.m. with the men&#39;s 39th annual race, an 8,000m event, followed at 10:30 a.m. with the women&#39;s 22nd annual race, a 6,000m run.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">THE STAKES<br />The Pac-10 Cross Country Championships will be used to crown both the individual and team champions in each race with the Top 14 runners also earning conference accolades. The Top 7 placers will be selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team while finishers eight through 14 will earn second team honors. Team placements also will go a long way in scoring points toward potential at-large selections for the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">THE STAKES, PART II<br />The Sun Devil women, who have placed second to Stanford each of the last five years, also will seek to end the Cardinal&#39;s 11-year championship reign and become only the fourth different women&#39;s program to win the title in the 22 years it has been contested. Since the inaugural race during the 1986 season, only Stanford (13 times), Oregon (seven) and Washington (once) have won the women&#39;s team title at the Pac-10 Championships.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">HISTORY IN OREGON<br />This weekend&#39;s meet will mark only the second time the Pac-10 Championships have been held in the state of Oregon and the first time it has taken place in Corvallis. While Stanford served as the exclusive host of the meet for most of the years, 1998 served as the start of a rotating schedule which began with Oregon hosting in Eugene that year. At the 1998 meet, the Sun Devil men and women both placed fourth overall with the women&#39;s finish tying it (1987) for its best Pac-10 finish at the time while the men recorded their first Top 5 finish at the Pac-10 meet and started a streak of nine years in a row among the Top half of the league.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">IN SEARCH OF...<br />When the Sun Devils toe the start line this weekend, they will be competing for several firsts in the history of the program. Neither the men nor the women have won the Pac-10 team crown while the men have not had an individual champion crowned. The lone victory for the program came at San Francisco&#39;s Golden Gate Park in 2004 when <a href="">Amy Hastings</a> won the women&#39;s 6,000m race. A win for the women&#39;s team would make them just the fourth different school to take the women&#39;s title while a victory for the men would make it the seventh different school with a men&#39;s team title.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">IN THE RANKINGS<br />In the October 23 national rankings, the Sun Devils remained steady at their previous rankings with the women holding the No. 5 position and the men No. 25. The ranking for the women is their highest of the season and their first time in the national Top 5 since being ranked No. 5 for three weeks in a row during the 2005 season. On a regional level (October 22), the women again remained at No. 3 in the West while the men were again at No. 6.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">IMPRESSIVE RUN<br />Arizona State&#39;s women&#39;s team is No. 5 this week in the national rankings, marking the 43rd week the Sun Devils have held a place among the Top 10. Dating back to October 12, 1998, the ASU women have been ranked in the national Top 30 for 70-consecutive weeks while ranking in the Top 20 in 66 of those weeks, including the past 24 rankings. The Sun Devils have been ranked in the Top 5 on 16 occasions with No. 3 rankings on September 27, 1999, October 7, 2003, and October 13, 2003, standing as the highest the team has been ranked.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">BACK IN THE POLLS<br />The Arizona State men returned to the national rankings on October 2 for the first time since also being ranked No. 20 on October 10 last year. Ranked 25th this week, the ranking marks the 52nd time the Sun Devils have been ranked in the Top 30.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">IN THE FIELD - WOMEN&#39;S RACE<br />The women&#39;s race will feature 10 teams, four of which are ranked nationally, including all four residing in the Top 10. The No. 5 Sun Devils will join No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Oregon and No. 9 Washington in the race. Those four schools are the Top 4 ranked teams in the West Region and are followed regionally by No. 9 Washington State, No. 10 Arizona, No. 12 USC and No. 13 Oregon State.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">IN THE FIELD - MEN&#39;S RACE<br />The men&#39;s race will feature a star-studded field as five of the eight teams in the field are ranked among the national Top 25. No. 1 Oregon, No. 8 California, No. 15 Stanford, No. 19 UCLA and No. 25 Arizona State lead the way in the national polls while UO, Cal and SU are the Top 3 teams in the West Region. All eight teams are ranked regionally, including No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 ASU, No. 8 Washington, No. 9 Washington State and No. 15 Arizona.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">LAST TIME: AT PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS<br />The women placed second and the men fourth at the Pac-10 Championships held on the Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif., last year. For the women, <a href="">Cassie Bando</a> (fifth) and <a href="">Bro… Bennett</a> (seventh) led the way and earned All-Pac-10 First Team honors while <a href="">Jenna Kingma</a> (10th) and <a href="">Ali Kielty</a> (13th) earned Second Team honors. Kielty, the top freshman finisher in the race, also was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. On the men&#39;s side, <a href="">Aaron Aguayo</a> placed fourth to earn All-Pac-10 First Team honors while <a href="">Kyle Alcorn</a> placed 10th to earn Second Team honors.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">MEN TAKE TITLE<br />The Sun Devil men, after a recalculation of the team scores, won the 22nd Arizona State Invitational last Friday afternoon at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, scoring 37 points with Arizona taking second with 88 points. Originally, Arizona won the race, but one of its runners was unattached and should not have figured into the scoring. Following the adjustment, the Sun Devils claimed their first team title since winning a trio of meets in 2005: the George Kyte Invitational, the ASU Invitational and Canyon West Classic (this week&#39;s meet).</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">OFF THE COURSE<br />Three former Sun Devil women recently competed in the TUFTS Health Place 10k for Women on October 8 in Boston, Mass., which also served as the U.S. Women&#39;s 10k National Championship. In the race, <a href="">Des… Davila</a> placed sixth overall in 33:22 and was followed by <a href="">Amy Hastings</a> in 11th (33:54) and <a href="">Alvina Begay</a> in 34th (35:23).</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">VICTORY IS MINE!<br />At the Dave Murray Invitational (September 14), <a href="">Jenna Kingma</a> covered the 4,000m course in 13:42.52 to win the individual title and becoming the 15th different Sun Devil to win a cross country race in her career. The third Arizona State runner to win the meet behind <a href="">Bro… Bennett</a> (2005) and back-to-back winner <a href="">Amy Hastings</a> (2003, 2004), Kingma is now tied for fifth on the all-time victories list at Arizona State.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">GOING GLOBAL<br />Former Sun Devil All-American <a href="">Des… Davila</a> will once again represent the United States when she competes in the IAAF World Road Racing Championships set for October 14 in Udine, Italy. Davila, who placed 43rd overall and fourth on Team USA in last year&#39;s inaugural event in Debrecen, Hungary, will compete in the 20km event that sends five runners on the course for each represented nation with the Top 3 finishers from each team combining their times for an overall score. The U.S. women placed 10th last year.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">FIGHTING FOR A SPOT<br />While Davila will compete for Team USA this month, another former Sun Devil distance runner is preparing to compete for one of the first Olympic berths as <a href="">Fasil Bizuneh</a> will run in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men&#39;s Marathon on November 3 in New York City. Held around and near Central Park, the marathon will feature over 150 athletes competing for one of three spots on the Team USA roster. Bizuneh was a four-time All-American for the Sun Devils, including the first male to earn two national honors in cross country. Bizuneh also added a pair of All-America honors in the outdoor 10,000m run.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">STREAKING<br />With their selection into the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the Sun Devil women have now advanced to nine-consecutive national meets, the sixth-longest streak in the nation currently, tying them with North Carolina. BYU and Providence lead the way having made the field in 18-consecutive years while Colorado is third (15 years), Stanford is fourth (14 years) and North Carolina State is fifth (12 years) on the list.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">HONOREES<br />Last year, four women and two men earned honors from the Pac-10 Conference, including <a href="">Ali Kielty</a>, who was selected as the 2007 Pac-10 Women&#39;s Newcomer of the Year. <a href="">Cassie Bando</a> and <a href="">Bro… Bennett</a> each earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors while Kielty joined <a href="">Jenna Kingma</a> as second team selections. On the men&#39;s side, <a href="">Aaron Aguayo</a> was a first team selection while <a href="">Kyle Alcorn</a> was a second team honoree.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">REGIONALLY KNOWN<br />One man and five women each garnered NCAA All-West Region honors last year as all six individuals placed among the Top 25 at the regional race in Portland, Ore. <a href="">Aaron Aguayo</a>, despite a fall in the mud with under 600 meters remaining in the race, charged hard at the finish line to place second overall in the men&#39;s race while <a href="">Cassie Bando</a>, <a href="">Bro… Bennett</a>, <a href="">Kari Hardt</a>, <a href="">Ali Kielty</a> and <a href="">Jenna Kingma</a> all finished in the Top 25 for the women.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">FROM THE TRACK<br />During the 2007 track and field season, the distance corps played a role in helping the Sun Devil women capture all five team titles they competed for. During the indoor season, <a href="">Amy Hastings</a> won the 3,000m run to help the team to the MPSF Indoor Championship title, the program&#39;s first indoor team crown. Three weeks later, Hastings earned All-America honors in both the 3,000m run and 5,000m run at the NCAA Indoor Championships to help the team secure its first national title. Outdoors, the women won the Pac-10 for the second year in a row before claiming titles in the NCAA West Region and the NCAA Championships. Hastings earned All-America honors in the 10,000m run at the outdoor national meet.</p><separator></separator><p align="justify">NEXT TIME OUT<br />Following a week off from competition, the Sun Devils will return to Oregon, this time heading to Eugene for the 2007 NCAA West Region Championships on November 10. The Top 3 teams in the region automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships with the Top 25 runners earning all-region accolades.</p>