Two races await ASU harriers
Sun Devil Meet Notes (pdf)
For the second year in a row, the Arizona State University cross country team will compete in a pair of meets on the same day with the program's top men's runners competing in the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind., while the remaining men and several women will compete in the program's lone home meet of the year, the 25th ASU Invitational, at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa. Both meets will take place on Friday with the men running at UND competing at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. Arizona) and the home races starting at 6:30 p.m. (women) and 6:45 p.m. (men).
In the Rankings
The U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its third regional and national rankings this week. The men slipped into a tie for No. 18 in the national poll with Michigan State and remained No. 4 in the West Region rankings while the women are unranked in the national poll and stayed at No. 5 in the West.
Meet Info: ASU Invite-Desert Twilight
For the second year in a row, the ASU Invitational will be run in conjunction with the Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival, an event that will hold 17 races, including 14 high school, two collegiate and one community race. The first race of the day starts at 4:30 p.m. and the last race starts at 8:45 p.m. Admission for all spectators is free.
Join in the Fun
The Desert Twilight Community 5k Run will be held once again this year and is again open to all runners. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be run on the identical course used by the high school and collegiate competitors. Runners can register on-line (search Desert Twilight on Active.com) and on the day of the race at the registration area.
In the Field: ASU Invite
Eight collegiate teams are scheduled to compete on Friday night in the ASU Invitational with all but two hailing from the state of Arizona. Along with runners from ASU, Arizona and Northern Arizona, the other teams slated to run include the ASU Running Club, Grand Canyon, Navajo Technical College (N.M.), Pima CC and Western New Mexico.
Meet History: ASU Invite
The Sun Devil men and women have won their home meet four teams each in the previous 24 years with both squads sweeping the top team placements in both 2003 and 2009. The men have won titles in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 while the women captured the crowns in 1988, 2000, 2003 and 2009. A team win this year for either squad would mark the first time ASU had won back-to-back home meets. Individually, the women's race has been won by a Sun Devil three times while the men's champion has been an ASU athlete four times. The women's individual winners from ASU include Brooke Bennett in 2005, Amy Hastings in 2003 and Mary Duerbeck in 1997 while the men's winners include Phillip Prince in 2000, Todd Lewis in 1991 and 1988 and Dan Fischer in 1986.
Meet Recap: 2009 ASU Invite
The Sun Devil men and women swept the team titles in the 24th ASU Invitational last year with the men scoring 16 points, the second-best total in program history, while the women totaled 30 points to nip El Paso CC by one point. The men were led by Daniel Lovell, who took third in the race, while the women were paced by Brianna Smith, who finished fourth overall.
Meet Info: Notre Dame Invite
For the 55th year, the Notre Dame Invitational will be contested and, once again, will be held on the Notre Dame nine-hole golf course on the South Bend campus. The men's blue division race - the race ASU is entered - will be the final race out of the starting boxes and will start at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. Arizona).
In the Field: Notre Dame
Just as the women did in Minnesota last week, the men will face a challenging field of competitors as nine of the 20 teams in the field are currently receiving votes in the USTFCCCA national rankings, including eight in the Top 30. Ranked 18th this week, the Sun Devil men are the fifth-highest ranked team in the field behind No. 3 Oregon, No. 5 Alabama, No. 14 Villanova and no. 16 New Mexico. The remaining ranked teams include No. 21 Florida State, No. 27 Butler, No. 30 UCLA and Washington, which is receiving votes.)
Meet History: Notre Dame
The men are making their second appearance in the Notre Dame Invitational after racing in the event for the first time last year.
Meet Recap: 2009 Notre Dame
At the 2009 Notre Dame Invitational, the unranked men finished third overall with 143 points and trailed only No. 22 Washington (113) and No. 15 Providence (119) while upsetting No. 24 New Mexico (151) and No. 20 Butler (151) as Brandon Bethke led the charge as the race runner-up over 8,000m. In the women's competition, the No. 13 Sun Devils finished fifth (170) and trailed No. 1 Washington (33), No. 6 Princeton (68), No. 15 Florida (104) and No. 22 Penn State (152) in the standings as Kari Hardt led the way with her 18th-place finish in the 5,000m.
First of Two...or Three
The Notre Dame Invitational will be the first of two -- and perhaps three -- meets the Sun Devil men will run in the Hoosier State. Following this week's event, the Sun Devils will be back in Indiana in two weeks as they will travel with the women to the NCAA Pre-National meet in Terre Haute, Ind., the site of the 2010 NCAA Championships. Should the Sun Devils earn an automatic or at-large selection into the national meet, they will return to Terre Haute on Monday, November 22 for the NCAA event.
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.
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.
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 (statepress.com), which ran on September 15.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Sun Devils will have a week off from competition before traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., for the NCAA Pre-National Meet on October 16. The event is held annually at the host site of the NCAA Championships and this year will once again be hosted by Indiana State. Start times and which race (white or blue) for the men and women will be released the week leading into the meet.