Nearly 4,000 Runners Set To Compete At Stanford Invitational

Sept. 22, 2004

Stanford, Ca - One of the top cross country meets in the Western United States will take place on Saturday (Sept. 25) at the Stanford Golf Course (2nd hole) when the 31st annual Stanford Invitational is held with nearly 4,000 runners competing.

This annual event is co-hosted by Palo Alto High School. Races will begin at 9:30 a.m. as many of the top high school runners from California and the Western United States will compete for top honors. In the late afternoon (4:10 p.m.), the nation's finest collegiate runners will compete on the Stanford Cross Country Course. Universities representing each NCAA division, as well as a selection of NAIA and junior college teams are scheduled to compete. In all, 22 races will be held in college and high school competition.

The college races will feature nearly 800 student-athletes representing 50 teams. The men will compete at 8,000 meters, while the women will race 6,000 meters. Also, both men and women will compete at 4,000 meters.

Several of the nation's top teams and individuals will duel for first place honors in the women's division. Stanford enters the Invitational with a #1 national ranking, and all the pieces to win a second straight NCAA title. Sara Bei and Alicia Craig serve as the backbone of a Cardinal squad that returns all seven members of the 2003 NCAA title winning team, including five All-Americans. Stanford opened the 2004 season with a convincing victory at the USF Invitational. Stanford will see the challenge of UCLA, which placed four runners in the Top 10 last year to upset the Cardinal to win the Stanford Invitational 6000 meter title. The Bruins are again strong this year with a #8 pre-season national ranking. Look for Alison Costello and Jenna Timinsky to headline the Bruins' efforts in 2004. Costello finished fourth at the Stanford Invitational last year. Costello won the 2004 United States Junior Cross Country title and later competed at the World Junior Championships in Belgium. Timinsky finished seventh at the Stanford Invitational last year. Costello and Timinsky started the 2004 season with Top 10 finishes at the recent USF Invitational. UCLA finished second as a team behind Stanford.

California features a trio of outstanding runners including Bridget Duffy, who was a 2003 NCAA All-American and Cal's Most Valuable Performer as a freshman last year. Also expect top results from Abby Parker and Lindsey Maclise. UC Santa Barbara is the defending Big West champion. The Gauchos, who competed at the NCAA's last year, are again the favorite to win the league title. Last year at the Big West Championships, UCSB took the top four spots with Stephanie Rothstein, Lauren Christman, Costelle Smith and Desiree Leek. Rothstein was voted the 2003 Big West Athlete of the Year. Karin van Rooyen and Rachel Collins will lead the running attack for SMU. Collins was the 2003 WAC Freshman of the Year while van Rooyen gained All-American honors at the NCAA's in 2003. The University of Kentucky will send a strong contingent to Stanford in 2004. The Wildcats finished second in league competition last year, and this year are led by Allison Grace, who was recently named SEC Female Cross Country Athlete of the Week for her first place effort in leading Kentucky to the team title at the Woodford Trials.

The men's competition will be just as exciting as the women's competition. Stanford is the two-time defending NCAA champion, and are again prime contenders this year. The Cardinal is ranked #2 in the pre-season national poll. Ryan Hall will lead a strong offensive attack for the Cardinal in 2004. Hall enters his senior year as the top returning cross country runner in the national after finishing second at the NCAA Championships last year. For his efforts, Hall was named an All-American and Pac-10 Cross Country Athlete of the Year. UCLA, which finished second to Stanford in the 4,000 meter run last year at the Stanford Invitational, returns five of its top six runners led by Erik Emilsson, Jon Rankin and Ben Aragon. At the recent USF Invitational, Rankin finished seventh to help lead UCLA to a second place team finish behind Stanford. Cal Poly won the Big West title last year and finished 13th at the NCAA's. Nick Zoetewey and Brandon Collins are just two of the top runners for the Mustangs. UC Santa Barbara is picked to finish second behind Cal Poly at the Big West Championships this year. Look for strong results this year from UCSB's Jeff Gardina. Kentucky heads west for top competition at the Stanford Invitational in 2004. The Wildcats competed at the NCAA's last year, and although they lost several key runners to graduation last year, the Wildcats will be strong and young this year. Andre Silva, a freshman, competed in his first collegiate race at the recent Woodford Trials, and finished first. California will also field an excellent team in 2004. The quartet of Girmay Guangul, Ozzie Pina, Giliat Ghebray and Kevin Davis will lead the Golden Bears this year. Ghebray was voted Most Inspirational while Davis gained Most Improved honors for California last year.

2004 Stanford Cross Country Invitational
Schedule of Events

High Schools
9:30 a.m. - JV Girls - Divisions 3, 4, 5 (3,000 meters)
9:50 a.m. - J.V. Boys - Divisions 3, 4, 5 (3,000 meters)
10:10 a.m. - Varsity Girls - Division 5 (5,000 meters)
10:40 a.m. - Varsity Boys - Division 5 (5,000 meters)
11:05 a.m. - Varsity Girls - Division 4 (5,000 meters)
11:35 a.m. - Varsity Boys - Division 4 (5,000 meters)
Noon - Varsity Girls - Division 3 (5,000 meters)
12:30 p.m. - Varsity Boys - Division 3 (5,000 meters)
12:55 p.m. - J.V. Girls - Divisions 1 & 2 (3,000 meters)
1:15 p.m. - J.V. Boys - Division 1 & 2 (3,000 meters)
1:35 p.m. - Varsity Girls - Division 2 (5,000 meters)
2:00 p.m. - Varsity Boys - Division 2 (5,000 meters)
2:25 p.m. - Varsity Girls - Division 1 (5,000 meters)
2:50 p.m. - Varsity Boys - Division 1 (5,000 meters)
3:15 p.m. - Varsity Boys - Division 1 Seeded (5,000 meters)
3:40 p.m. - Varsity Girls - Division 1 Seeded (5,000 meters)

College Races
4:10 p.m. - Women (5,000 meters non-scored race)
4:35 p.m. - Women (4,000 meters scored race - short course)
4:55 p.m. - Men (4,000 meters scored race - short course)
5:15 p.m. - Women (6,000 meters scored race - long course)
5:45 p.m. - Men (8,000 meters scored race - long course)
6:15 p.m. - Men (8,000 meters non-scored race)

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