Sun Devil Women's Team, Men's Duo Headed to NCAA Championships
Nov. 20, 2002
On The Starting Line
The 2002 cross country season comes to a close Monday (Nov. 25) with the running of the NCAA Championship meet, hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind. The national meet will consist of 31 teams (18 automatic qualifiers and 13 at-large berths selected Monday, Nov. 18) and 38 individuals. The Sun Devil women will compete, as will JJ Duke and Fasil Bizuneh in the men's race as automatic individual qualifiers.
The ASU women held onto its No. 17 national ranking for the third week in a row following a second-place finish at the 2002 NCAA West Region meet. The men, for the first time this year, fell out of the rankings. The men were No. 22 heading into the regional competition where they finished fifth. The team received 32 votes, six away from the No. 30 spot in the poll. The rankings, released Monday, are the final polls of the 2002 season.
In Search of All-America Honors
Fasil Bizuneh will run in the NCAA Championships Monday and try to do what no Sun Devil harrier, male or female, has been able to accomplish in the 41 years of men's and 24 years of women's cross country at Arizona State: garner All-America honors three times in his/her career. Bizuneh and Lisa Aguilera (1998-01) hold the distinction as being the programs' only two-time award winners.
About the NCAA Championships
The complete championship field was announced Monday with 18 teams earning automatic berths after placing in the Top 2 at the regional meet and 13 at-large selection. The Sun Devil women earned an automatic bid after placing second in the west region while the men, who were fifth in their region, did not qualify as a team. The Championships will be contested in Terre Haute, Ind., with the women running 6,000m and the men running a 10,000m course. Here is a list of the qualifying teams:
Women's Automatics: Arizona State, Arkansas, BYU, Colorado, Columbia, Florida State, Georgetown, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Providence, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Villanova and Wake Forest. At-large: Ball State, Duke, Indiana, Marquette, Michigan State, North Carolina, Northern Arizona, Penn State, UCLA, Virginia, Washington, William & Mary and Wisconsin.
Men's Automatics:Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Eastern Michigan, Georgetown, Iona, Missouri, North Carolina State, Northern Arizona, Northwestern, Oregon, Providence, SMU, Stanford, Tennessee, Villanova, William & Mary and Wisconsin. At-large: Butler, BYU, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Montana State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M and Weber State.
Looking Back: The 2002 NCAA Championships
Both the men and women's teams earned a berth in the national championships last year and posted Top 25 finishes. The women, making their fourth appearance in as many year, totaled 554 points to finish 23rd overall. The men, making just their second NCAA appearance, compiled 477 points to capture 20th.
NCAA History: Sun Devil Women
As a team, the women will be making their fifth-consecutive and fifth overall appearance in the NCAA Championships. The 1998 season marked the first time the Sun Devil women qualified for the event where they tied for 23rd place. A year later, the team improved to a 12th-place finish before ending 2000 with a program record sixth-place. Last year, the team concluded the season with a 23rd-place finish.
New Faces, Better Results?
The seven members of the women's squad that will compete at the NCAA meet this week are nearly a brand new team in comparison to last year's seven that finished 23rd in the nation. On the 2001 squad, three seniors led the way. This year at the regional meet over the weekend, three freshmen led the charge. Last year, four seniors helped the team succeed while five of the 2002 members are in their true or redshirt freshman campaigns.
NCAA History: Sun Devil Men
Arizona State has sent four individual qualifiers to the national meet prior to the 2002 event. In 1974, Larry Lawson and Mike Elder ran in the event and finished 16th and 145th, respectively. Laswon's national finish, which earned him All-America honors, is the second-best finish for the program behind the 11th place posted by Todd Lewis in 1991. The fourth individual qualifier was Mike Stahr in 1984. Stahr finished the meet in 101st.
Last Time Out: 2002 NCAA West Region Championships
The team standings in the women's race nearly mirrored the recent Pac-10 Championships with Stanford taking first, ASU second and Oregon fifth. The only variation between the two races was UCLA taking third and Washington fourth in the region, a reverse of the conference meet. For the men, Stanford and Oregon went one-two, just like the Pac-10 meet, while ASU again was the third conference team to finish. Unfortunately for the men at the regional race, Cal Poly and Portland finished third and fourth and bumped the Sun Devils out of the national meet.
Individually on the women's side, the Sun Devils received another consistent performance from true freshmen Jessica Scalzo (eighth) and Amy Hastings (10th). Anna Masinelli made the most noise by finishing third on the team and 13th overall, her best finish of the year. Rounding out the scorers for ASU were Desiree Davila (18th) and Cody Sohn (23rd). All five also earned all-region honors.
For the men, JJ Duke, the 2001 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, shot to the front of the finishers for the Sun Devils and claimed 11th with Fasil Bizuneh right behind him in 13th. Ronnie Buchanan (30th), Aaron Aguayo (32nd) and Ryan Warrenburg (39th) also scored.
Walt Drenth, Arizona State's head coach, will take his 12th team to the NCAA Championships, the seventh at the helm of the Sun Devil program...the final season rankings marked the first time since the week of the 2000 Pac-10 Championships that the men's team has not held a spot in the national Top 25...the women, who finished the year at No. 17 in the national polls, have held a ranking every week since the week of the 1998 Pac-10 Championships, a span of four seasons.
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