Defending NCAA Champions Open 2004 Season At USF Invitational
Sept. 3, 2004
Stanford, Ca - Since winning the school's first NCAA Cross Country titles in 1996, Stanford University has dominated the collegiate cross country scene at every level establishing itself as the premier men's and women's cross country program in the United States. In 2003, Stanford solidified its reign of supremacy in collegiate cross country with two dominating performances at the NCAA Championships. For the second time in eight years, Stanford University reached the pinnacle in collegiate cross country by winning the men's and women's NCAA Division I titles in 2003 in Waterloo, Iowa. Stanford, who swept the men's and women's national titles in 1996, became the only university in the history of the NCAA to win dual championship titles in the same year on two separate occasions adding to the impressive list of accomplishments of Stanford Cross Country.The Stanford men have finished first in four of the last eight NCAA Championships, including national titles in 1996, 1997, 2002 and 2003. In that same eight year span, Stanford has finished second (1998, 2001) and fourth (1999, 2000) twice. At the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional levels the results are even more amazing. Stanford has won eight consecutive NCAA West Regional titles and seven of the last eight Pac-10 Conference championship titles. The Cardinal men have garnered numerous individual accolades since 1996 as well, including 35 All-America honors, four Pac-10 Athlete of the Year winners (2000-2004) and four Pac-10 individual champions (2000-2004).In the last eight years, the Stanford women have captured NCAA titles in 1996 and 2003, finished runner-up twice (1997 and 2002) and placed third three times (1998-2000). At the Pac-10 Championships, the Cardinal women have won eight consecutive team titles. Stanford has dominated the competition at the NCAA West Regional Championships as well, winning seven of the last eight titles. Since 1996, Cardinal women have earned 22 All-America awards, three Pac-10 Athlete of the Year honors (1999, 2002, 2003) and four Pac-10 individual champions (1999, 2001-2003).In 2004, the Stanford contingent will attempt to add to the many team and individual awards achieved by the great Cardinal runners of the past and continue its powerful presence in collegiate cross country.Stanford opens the 2004 season on Saturday (9/4. 9:00 a.m.) at the USF Invitational at Golden Gate Park.Men's OutlookAny university would be hard-pressed to duplicate the record setting performance by Stanford at the 2003 NCAA Championships and to replace one of the greatest cross country teams in NCAA history. At last year's championship meet, Stanford placed six runners in the top-13 for a winning team score of 24 points. The 150 point margin of victory over second place Wisconsin was the largest in NCAA history. Six of the seven runners from last year's Stanford team have graduated, but a large group of young, talented student-athletes are prepared to fill the void and continue the supremacy established by prior Cardinal teams.Ryan Hall enters his senior year at Stanford as the top returning cross country runner in the nation after finishing runner-up individually at the NCAA Championship meet in 2003. Hall, the 2003 Pac-10 Cross Country Athlete of the Year, is a two-time cross country All-American and will be a major contender for a top finish at the NCAA Championships in 2004. In addition to senior leadership, Hall will provide the Cardinal with veteran NCAA Championship meet experience after helping lead Stanford to the past two cross country national titles.'Ryan Hall is undoubtedly one of the top collegiate cross country runners in the United States and he will be a major factor in the success of our team in 2004,' said Men's Cross Country Coach Andrew Gerard. 'After his outstanding season last year, he has proven that he belongs at or near the front of the pack in every race.'Chris Emme returns from a junior cross country season in which he finished in the top seven at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships. On the track, Emme was the 2004 Pac-10 runner-up in the 10,000 meters and competed in the 3000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The senior from The Woodlands, TX will be a significant contributor for Stanford cross country in 2004.The Cardinal will rely heavily on a junior class loaded with talent, but light on NCAA experience. Neil Davis was the 2002 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year and finished in the top-10 at the 2002 and 2003 NCAA West Regional Championships. As a freshman in 2003, Davis competed in the 5000 meters at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.Peter Meindl was an All-Pac-10 selection in cross country as a freshman in 2002 and competed for Stanford at the 2002 NCAA Championship meet helping the Cardinal win the national title. Meindl redshirted the 2003 cross country season. David Vidal returns from the 2004 track and field season in which he developed into one of the top 3000 meter steeplechase runners in the Pac-10 Conference. Vidal finished in the top five two times during the 2003 cross country season. Robert Smitson returns from a redshirt season in 2003, but was a member of the Stanford title winning teams at the 2002 Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships. Former Pac-10 800 meter champion Justin Romaniuk and Russ Martin will provide depth to the strong junior class.Like the Stanford junior class, the Cardinal sophomores are prepared to display their exceptional talent at the NCAA championship level. Jacob Gomez had a solid cross country season in 2003 competing for the winning Cardinal team at the Pac-10 Championships. Gomez continued his success during the track and field season by qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 5000 meters. Brett Gotcher developed into one of the top 10,000 meter runners in the country during the 2004 track and field season and helped Stanford win the Pac-10 cross country title in 2003. Jonathan Pierce is poised for a breakthrough cross country season after setting a freshman school record in the 3000 meter steeplechase last year. Pierce was the Bronco Cross Country Invitational individual champion in 2003. Steven Dewitt, Rolf Steier and Sean Drake competed as freshman last year and will contribute significantly for the Cardinal in 2004.After not competing their first year on The Farm, redshirt freshmen Neftalem Araia, Forrest Tahdooahnippah, Joaquin Chapa, Lauren Jespersen and Russell Brown will make an immediate impact during their first year of competition in 2004. Araia enjoyed a great indoor track and field season qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 5000 meters with a time 0f 13:56.99. Tahdooahnippah gained international experience by competing for the United States at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium where he was the No. 2 runner for the U.S. Team. Chapa was one of the top middle distance runners in the Pac-10 Conference during the 2004 track and field season and will look to carry that success into the cross country season. Brown competed in the 1500 meters for the United States at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Grosseto, Italy. Jespersen was a two-time Footlocker National Championship finalist in high school.'This year's Stanford team is markedly different from the 2003 NCAA title winning team,' says Gerard. 'We don't have the senior experience like last year, but we do have incredible junior and sophomore talent that has prepared patiently to step into the spotlight and compete at the highest level.'Once again, Stanford has cornered the market on the nation's top high school distance runners. This highly touted group of freshmen will keep the Stanford program at the top of the collegiate ranks for many years. The list includes Hakon DeVries (Hopewell Junction, NY), Jacob Evans (Watsonville, CA), Garrett Heath (Winona, MN), Hari Mix (Charlottesville, VA), Kevin Pellegrino (Klamath Falls, OR), and Greg Williams (West Chester, PA).DeVries was a 2002 Footlocker National Championship finalist and a two-time New York state champion in the two mile. Evans was a California state meet finalist in cross country and track and field. Heath was a two-time Footlocker National Championship finalist and a two-time Minnesota state cross country champion. Mix was the 2003 Virginia Cross Country Runner of the Year. Pellegrino and Wall were two of the top middle distance runners in Oregon during the past two years. Williams was a Pennsylvania all-state performer in cross country and track and field.Although young, the Stanford men's cross country team is primed for big performances in 2004. The Cardinal harriers are prepared to take over the reigns of the Stanford machine and continue the Stanford supremacy at the Pac-10 Conference and NCAA Championship meets.Women's Outlook
The Stanford women's cross country team will have a familiar look in 2004. The 2004 women's roster is nearly the same as last year's squad that won the NCAA cross country title for the second time in eight years. In 2004, the Stanford pool of talent is one of the strongest in school history as all seven members of the title winning 2003 NCAA Championship team return, including five All-Americans and two runners that finished in the top six individually at the NCAA meet. In fact, the Cardinal return every reserve from last year's team as well. With an abundance of All-Americans and a highly touted freshman class, a successful defense of the NCAA cross country title is possible for the Stanford Cardinal in 2004.One of the most talented senior duos in the NCAA will lead the Cardinal in 2004. Along with exceptional talent, big meet experience and senior leadership, Alicia Craig and Sara Bei bring with them a total of 12 All-America awards.Since her arrival at Stanford in 2001, eight time All-American Alicia Craig has distinguished herself as the premier collegiate long distance runner in the United States. Craig has been named a cross country All-American every year at Stanford and has finished sixth and third individually at the last two NCAA Cross Country Championship meets. Craig returns for her senior year after a great junior cross country campaign in which she was the NCAA West Regional individual champion and named the NCAA West Regional Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. The success for Craig continued during the 2004 track and field season as she was the NCAA and Pac-10 champion in the 10,000 meters for the second consecutive season. During the 2004 track and field season, Craig became the collegiate record holder setting the all-time NCAA record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 32:19.97. Craig concluded her 2004 track and field season by placing fifth in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials, the highest finish among all collegiate runners in the race.'Alicia Craig is clearly one of the most outstanding student-athletes in the NCAA,' said Women's Cross Country Coach Dena Evans. 'She has consistently performed at an elite level since coming to Stanford and she is a huge reason for the success of Stanford Cross Country at the Conference and national championship meets.'Sara Bei returns for her senior year after a breakthrough cross country and track and field season last year. During the 2003 cross country season, Bei was named the Pac-10 Athlete of the Year, was the Pac-10 individual champion for the second consecutive year, and finished third individually at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors and lead Stanford to the national title. During the 2004 track and field season, Bei finished runner-up in the 5000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, placed second in the 3000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships, was the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional champion in the 5000 meters, and was named a three time All-American.'Sara has distinguished herself as one of the top middle distance runners in the NCAA,' says Evans. 'She is an ideal leader for our team and will play a huge role in the team performances of Stanford at championship meets.''The presence of Alicia and Sara in our lineup makes Stanford a contender for top team honors in any race,' continued Evans.Seniors Anita Siraki and Jeane Goff will provide valuable veteran experience after competing at the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Championship meets, helping the Cardinal win the national title in the latter. Siraki is one of the top 10,000 meter runners in the Pac-10, while Goff is considered one of the best 3000 meter steeplechase runners in the nation. The return of junior Kristin Cohoon after a redshirt season in 2003 will be an added bonus for the Cardinal.After contributing significantly as freshmen last season during Stanford's NCAA title run, the Stanford sophomore class will be a very important factor for the Cardinal throughout its championship quests in 2004.Arianna Lambie was named the 2003 Pac-10 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year after placing third individually at the Pac-10 Championships. Lambie was Stanford's fourth runner and 24th overall at the 2003 NCAA Championships earning All-America honors for her efforts. During the 2004 track and field season, Lambie was the No. 1 ranked freshman in the NCAA in the 1500 meters with a school record time of 4:13.14, the seventh fastest time in Pac-10 history.Katy Trotter was a cross country All-American in 2003 after placing 21st at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish by a freshman at the meet. Trotter finished sixth at the Pac-10 Championships, tenth at the NCAA West Regional Championships, and was a first team All Pac-10 selection. Trotter was the No. 1 ranked freshman in the NCAA in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a school record time of 10:07.55, the third fastest time in Pac-10 history.Amanda Trotter was Stanford's fifth runner at the 2003 NCAA Championships enabling the Cardinal to capture the national title. Trotter was a second team All Pac-10 cross country selection as a freshman and was one the top 3000 meter steeplechase and 5000 meter runners in the Pac-10 during the 2004 track and field season.Teresa McWalters returns from a shortened freshman year in which she finished in the top five in two races before injuries ended her cross country season. When she is in top form, McWalters has the potential to be one of the best young cross country runners in the nation.Celia Smalls, Julie Allen, Leah Sawyer, Casey Nevitt, Carolyn Penner and Jia Hou will provide additional depth from the sophomore class. Smalls was a member of the winning Stanford teams at the 2003 Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships. Allen was a Pac-10 Championship qualifier in the 5000 meters during the 2004 track and field season.'Our sophomore student-athletes performed exceptionally last year as freshmen,' says Evans. 'After the success they enjoyed last season, I think they realize they belong among the elite collegiate runners in 2004.A strong freshman class featuring many of the top high school runners in the United States will bolster the Cardinal lineup in 2004. The new additions to Stanford include Lindsay Allen (Pleasant Hill, CA), Shannon Bergstedt (Minnetonka, MN), Lauren Centrowitz (Arnold, MD), Lindsay Flacks (Calabasas, CA), Katie Harrington (Carmel, IN) and Katie O'Neil (Boise, ID). Allen was a two-time top five finisher at the California state cross country championship meet and set the national high school record in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the 2004 U.S. Junior National Championships. Bergstedt was the 2003 Minnesota state cross country champion and won seven state titles in the 1600 and 3200 meters in track. Centrowitz was a two-time Maryland state cross country individual champion and was one of the top high school middle distance runners in the United States. Flacks was a 2003 Footlocker National Championship finalist and was the California state champion in the 3200 meters as a senior. Harrington placed fourth at the 2003 Footlocker National Championships and was the Indiana state cross country champion as a junior. O'Neil led her high school team to two cross country state titles and one track state championship.With the entire NCAA Championship team intact from last year and the addition of one of the top freshmen recruiting classes in the country, the Stanford women's cross country team will once again be a major contender for Pac-10 and NCAA titles, continuing its impressive championship title streak.
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
TOMORROW | 7:00pm PTLive