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Cross country set to kick off season in Flagstaff

September 01, 2011


The Arizona State University cross country programs will open up the 2011 campaign this weekend at the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz. The meet, hosted by Northern Arizona, will get underway Saturday at Buffalo Park and is the first of eight scheduled competitions on the Sun Devil slate this season. The competition will consist of two races, with the women’s 5,000-meter race getting underway at 1:30 p.m. to be followed by the men’s 8,000-meter run.

Meet History: George Kyte
Historically, the Sun Devils have had one individual winner and one team victory at the George Kyte Invitational with both coming at the 2005 event. The individual victory was recorded in the women’s 5,000-meter run by Jenna Wrieden as she covered the course in 17:56.8. The team victory was recorded by the men that same year as the Sun Devils scored 35 points for the win.

A Look Back: 2009 George Kyte Classic (Women)
The Sun Devil women scored 42 points at last year’s George Kyte Classic en route to a second place finish. All five scorers on the side finished within the top-15 and within 18 seconds of one another. The team was paced by Lindsay Prescott, who crossed the line in 18.49.1 in sixth place. She was followed closely by teammates Anna Sperry (18:49.5) and Alyssa Allison (18:50.1) in seventh and eighth, respectively. Kauren Tarver (19:06.1) and Karlee Owens (19:06.8) rounded out the point-scoring individuals for the Sun Devil harriers in 10th and 11th place. Arizona won the race with a team total of 29 points.

A Look Back: 2009 George Kyte Classic (Men)
The Arizona State men’s squad went just about five wide across the finish line with all the point scorers finishing within one second of each other as the team finished with 75 points and a fourth-place overall placement. Daniel Lovell came across the line first in the 19th in a time of 28:12.4, just ahead of a slew of other Sun Devils that included Doug Smith (28:12.7, 20th), Darius Terry (28:12.9, 21st), Cameron Liston (28:13.1, 22nd) and Ben Engelhardt (28:13.3, 24th). Northern Arizona took home the team title with 31 points.

Playing Host
Arizona State University will host the first-ever Pac-12 Conference Championships on Oct. 29, in Litchfield Park, Ariz., at thw Wigwam Golf Resort. With the addition of the University of Colorado and the University of Utah, the conference formally known as the Pac-10 will open its championship season with the cross country championships hosted by the Sun Devils. More meet information will be provided as it is made available, so be sure to stay tuned.

A Reforming of the Guard
The coaching structure for the 2011 season will feature a slight shift as Louie Quintana will return for his eighth season as head coach for the Arizona State cross country program and will oversee the men’s team. Ryan Cole, an assistant coach to Quintana for the past three seasons, will assume the role of head coach for the ASU women’s squad. Quintana will also see over the men’s middle and long distance runners during the track and field season while Cole will be the assistant coach for the women’s middle and long distances.

Louie Louie
Coming into his eighth season as a head coach for Arizona State cross country, Louie Quintana has put together quite the program since taking over in August 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 Brandon Bethke who placed seventh nationally at the 2009 NCAA Championships. 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 3,000-meter run and the outdoor 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2008.

No Lump of Cole
Ryan Cole has built up a reputation as one of the most promising and exciting up-and-coming young coaches in the nation and being named as the head coach for the women’s cross country team for the 2011 campaign is a testament to that. The first-year coach began working with the Arizona State program during the 2007-08 campaign and had served as an assistant ever since. In that time, Cole worked with the ASU women’s distance teams serving under Coach Louie Quintana while also handling many of the daily administrative aspects of the Arizona State program and working with the management of home meets. Cole has been an active recruiter during his tenure, bring in a solid class of athletes for the current season, and will be a welcomed addition to the ASU coaching staff.

Welcome to the Show
The Arizona State cross country rosters feature a total of 34 student-athletes (18 men, 16 women). Of that total, there will be 16 new faces gracing the Sun Devil uniform. The women’s squad features eight freshmen in Macy Bricks (Clovis, Calif.), Taylor Conway (Brookfield, Wis.), Shaina Corbin (Ashland, Ohio), Shelby Houlihan (Sioux City, Iowa), Mackenzie Maki (Wichita, Kan.), Carly Paracholski (Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada), Payton Shutte (Portland, Ore.) and Kayla Springford (Dracut, Mass.). On the men’s side, another eight student-athletes will don the maroon and gold for the first time in 2011 in Garrett Baker-Slamma (Phoenix, Ariz.), Andy Cannata (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Domenic D’Acquisto (Redding, Calif.), Andrew Hagler (Chandler, Ariz.), Ryan Herson (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Jesus Molina (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), Daniel Wong (Tucson, Ariz.) and Heyden Wooff (Camarillo, Calif.).

Senior Leadership
With the large amount of new faces on both cross country teams this season, the seniors on both squads will provide some valuable experience to the youngsters. That being said, both teams are still quite young across the board and the senior leadership is at a premium. On the women’s side, just two student-athletes return in 2011 as seniors in Lindsay Prescott and Kauren Tarver. Prescott established herself as one of the top runners in the conference last season and Tarver has been a staple on the travel team throughout most of her career at ASU. On the men’s side, Cameron Liston, Daniel Lovell and Brianne Pierre represent the lone threesome of seniors. Lovell has already established himself as one of the prominent distance runners in Sun Devil history and has taken on a captain’s role already early in the season.

Local Affair
One of the keys to building one of the top running programs in nation is the ability to recruit well from the areas around you. The Sun Devil men’s team has taken the task seriously and will field seven Arizona natives on the 2011 roster, several of whom will be expected to play a large role on this year’s team. Senior Daniel Lovell hails from Anthem, Ariz., and will be among the teams top runners this season in addition to his role as a senior on the team. Garrett Baker-Slama (Tempe, Ariz.), Matt Boughton (Phoenix, Ariz.), Cameron Liston (Chandler, Ariz.) and Daniel Wong (Tucson, Ariz.) are some others that could play a pivotal part as the season progresses.

Top Honors
Not only is the ASU cross country team looking to get things accomplished on the athletic side of things in 2011, but they have also started to put in work in the classroom as well. Four members of the Sun Devil women’s squad and three men will take classes as part of Barrett, The Honors College, during the 2011-12 academic calender. Barrett, which has been named among the top honors colleges in the nation, enrolls nearly 30 Sun Devil student-athletes in its highly selective program with almost a quarter coming from the cross country programs.

In The Rankings
The Sun Devil men’s team opened up the 2011 season ranked No. 29 in the preseason coaches poll U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men finish the season unranked last year, but a strong recruiting class and the return of a solid core of runners has the team set up nicely for a climb up the rankings this season. The women’s squad remained unranked and did not receive any votes in the poll.

2010: Season in Review – Men
Ben Engelhardt took 51st at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., narrowly missing All-American accolades in his final race as a Sun Devil. Engelhardt paced Arizona State program throughout the season, guiding the squad to a fifth-place finish at both the NCAA West Regional Championships and the Pac-10 Conference Championships. Engelhardt earned second-team All-Conference honors at the conference meet, placing 14th overall. The Arizona State men won the team title at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson early in the season and remained consistent as the year wore on as they made a push for a bid at the NCAA Championships.

2010: Season in Review – Women
A young Arizona State women’s squad competed hard throughout the season, clocking strong team results finishing second at both the George Kyte Invitational and the Dave Murray Invitational to start out the season. Lindsay Prescott paced the team throughout the year, taking home a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Pre-National Meet as well as leading the Sun Devils across the line at the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA West Regional Championships. The ASU women took home seventh at the conference championships and 13th at the regional competition.