Battle-tested Husky Women Ready for Pac-10 Championships
Oct. 24, 2001
This Week in Husky Cross Country
Oct. 27: Pac-10 Championships, Pavilion Lakes Golf Course, Scottsdale, Ariz. Men's 8,000-meter race, 10:00 am, Women's 6,000-meter race, 11:00 am.
On the Course: Husky cross-country opens the postseason this weekend with the Pac-10 Championship sat Pavilion Lakes Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Both the men's and women's squads enter the meet on a roll following their top-10 placings at the elite Pre-National meet in Greenville, S.C. on Oct. 13. Eight Pac-10 schools sponsor both men's and women's cross-country, while USC boasts only a women's squad. This year's conference meet will be particularly competitive, with five men's and five women's teams - including both Husky squads - ranked in the top-25 national polls. Regina Joyce captured Washington's lone individual conference title, in 1982, while the 1989 women's squad and 1993 men's squad each earned team championships.
Pre-Nationals Recap: Husky senior Sabrina Monro took the individual title, and freshman Lisa Gibbs notched a top-10 finish as Washington's women's squad placed fifth in the Silver Race, one of two evenly-seeded races, at the Pre-National Meet in Greenville, S.C. In combined scoring of the two races, UW placed ninth, a stellar finish in a meet that featured 21 of the nation's top 25 teams. The Husky men also made noise with an eighth-place finish in the Black Race. The men were led by senior Jason Fayant, who finished 15th in 25:02.
Coming 'Round the Mountain: Husky senior Sabrina Monro continued her dominance of the national cross-country scene with her fourth win in as many meets as a Husky this season. Whie Monro's 23-second victory at the Roy Griak meet in September was impressive, her win at the Pre-National meet was an even greater accomplishment, coming from behind against one of the nation's best runners to beat out several elite teams on the same course which will host this year's NCAA Championship meet in November. Monro burst into the Husky spotlight with a breathtaking 54-second victory at the Sundodger Invitational, shattering the meet record by nearly 48 seconds. A native of Montana City, Mont., Monro placed second at last year's NCAA meet for Montana. She is in her last season of collegiate cross-country, but has two years of eligibility remaining in track.
Poll Patter: The Husky women's team may not have captured the title at the Pre-National meet, but pollsters rewarded their fifth-place Silver Race finish by moving Washington up three spots to 13th in last week's FinishLynx Women's cross-country rankings. Stanford took the first spot from Colorado, who dropped to 10th with a disappointing performance at Pre-Nationals. Arizona State (7th), Arizona (11th) and UCLA (22nd) all earned a top-25 ranking. Washington's mens' squad also benefitted from its top-10 Pre-National performance, jumping 16 spots to 24th in the MONDO Men's Cross-Country Rankings. Colorado retained the top spot for the fifth-consecutive week, while Stanford (2nd), Arizona (13th), Arizona State (19th) and Oregon (20th) all earned top-25 acclaim.
Old Dawg, New Dawg: After struggling to a 138th-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational, senior Jason Fayant returned to form at the Pre-National meet, netting a 15th-place overall finish in 25:02. Fayant placed among the top-two Huskies in all but one meet in 2000, and was unanimously voted captain by his teammates in the offseason. Fayant's leadership has been essential in the mentoring of surprising freshman Michael Kiter. Expected to redshirt, Kiter has instead emerged as one of Washington's top-five runners. A prep All-American and two-time state champion at Shadle Park High School in Spokane, Kiter placed 51st at the Pre-National meet in 25:37, just 90 seconds behind the leaders.
Youth Movement: The success of Washington's women's program in 2001, ranked 13th in the nation, is remarkable considering that more than half of the 13 runners who competed for the Huskies in 2000 are no longer on the roster this season. The Huskies have remained at the top due in large part to a stellar class of freshmen, five of whom were among the seven runners to help Washington to a fifth-place finish in the Silver Race at the Pre-National meet. Chief among the young faces has been Lisa Gibbs, a native of Arvada, Colo. Gibbs, the 2001 Simplot Indoor Games champion, has failed to place out of the top-10 in any race this season, and shattered her 5,000-meter personal best by over a minute at the Sundodger Invitational with a time of 16:58, the fourth-fastest time in meet history. With Gibbs, her twin sister Jamie Gibbs, and fellow frosh Camille Connelly, Laura Halvorsen and Chessa Adsit-Morris, the Huskies have a nucleus of young talent to remain among the nation's best for the forseeable future.
Meet the Coaches: Husky cross-country and track and field head coach Orin Richburg was elected by fellow coaches and U.S.A. Track and Field administrators to head the U.S. National Team at the 2001 World Championships, the most prestigious honor for a track-and-field coach in a non-Olympic year. In his 17th year at UW, Richburg is responsible for molding the Husky track squad into one of the nation's elite dual-meet teams. Fellow cross-country coach Greg Metcalf, in his fifth year at UW, has led the Husky women's squad to five-conseutive NCAA Championships, including a ninth-place finish in 1998. Metcalf is a former UW All-American in the steeplechase.