Husky Women's Cross Country Team Takes 5th at West Regional, Men Place 8th
Nov. 11, 2000
SEATTLE-- The Washington men's and women's cross country teams traveled to Fresno, Calif., with one goal in mind, making the NCAA championship meet, whether with an automatic or at-large bid, by competing well at the NCAA West Regional Saturday.
The No. 9 Husky women placed fifth, despite having two runners in the top 10, leaving their NCAA hopes up to the selection committee that determines at-large bids. The UW women finished one point behind fourth place Oregon with 170.
In order for the Washington women to qualify for the National meet, all four of the teams that placed ahead of them at the Regional must also go. Stanford, the West Regional Champion, and Arizona State, the runner-up, both receive automatic bids, while Arizona and Oregon must both receive at-large spots before Washington can be considered despite the Huskies' regular season victories over other NCAA qualifiers. NCAA selections will be announced before 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13.
Leading the Huskies at the West Regional were sophomore Kate Bradshaw (Issaquah, Wash) and senior Cami Matson (Kent, Wash.), placing fifth and seventh, respectively. Seniors Jen Schindler (Sacramento, Calif.), Kara Syrdal (Shoreline, Wash), and Liza English (Yakima, Wash.) finished out the Washington top five.
'Overall, we ran well considering,' coach Greg Metcalf said. 'No other team, or at least very few, could lose their top two runners and still make it to the NCAAs. I am very proud of of the way our women battled out there. Cami and Kate ran really solid. Liza had never been put in that kind of position before and she performed well despite the pressure. Susan Werner wasn't even supposed to run in this meet a week ago, and she came out and battled as well.
'We are very hopeful that we will receive an at-large bid. We knew going in that if we placed fourth, we were pretty much guaranteed a spot. Placing fifth, we will probably still qualify for the NCAAs. As long as Oregon gets in and they are not the 31st team selected, we will go. '
If per chance, the UW women were not selected to the NCAAs as a team, Bradshaw and Matson would both compete as individuals at the NCAA meet.
On the men's side, the Huskies were looking to better last year's eighth-place regional finish and surprise some teams for an outside shot at an at-large bid.
The men struggled in Fresno, mustering an eighth-place finish, behind five Pac-10 teams among others. The Husky men placed fifth at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago. UCLA was the only Pac-10 team to top the Washington men that had not previously done so this season. Stanford won the men's West Regional title, and also claimed the individual title as Pac-10 Champion Jonathan Riley won the men's race.
Sophomore John Russell (Mica, Wash.) was the UW men's top finisher, placing 25th, followed by junior Mike Hill (Bellevue, Wash.), at 32nd overall. Juniors Morgan Thompson and Jason Fayant both from Spokane, Washington, along with red-shirt freshman Eric Garner (Kelso, Wash.) rounded out the Huskies top five.
'We just didn't run very well today,' Metcalf said. 'It was kind of an off-day for our team. We should have beaten UCLA. Our future is optimistic though. We return nearly our entire team. We are getting better, we just have to, in the next year, figure out how to make it to the NCAAs. Our conference and region are not getting any easier, we just have to improve for next year.'
Teams competing in the NCAA Championships, Nov. 20 in Ames, Iowa, will be announced by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13.
Men: 25. John Russell, 31:34. 32. Mike Hill, 31:42. 47. Morgan Thompson, 32:12. 51. Jason Fayant, 32:20. 57. Eric Garner, 32:27. 77. Geoff Perry, 33:05. 90. Ben Koss, 33:42.