Beavers Head For A Big Meet

Sept. 29, 2004

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2

Oregon State at Willamette Invitational;Salem, Ore.; 10 a.m.

Oregon State will run in its biggest meet so far this season when the Beavers visit the Willamette Invitational this Saturday in Salem. The meet at Bush Pasture Park is set to begin at 10 a.m., with OSU's race set for approximately 10:45 a.m.

The meet is expected to draw about 20 teams at the NCAA Division I level; they will race with junior colleges, clubs and open entries. There will also be a race for Division II, Division III and NAIA runners and men's races with similar fields.

'It's considered one of the biggest meets in the country and one of the more prestigious meets in the country,' OSU head coach Kelly Sullivan said. 'It will be a big field, it will simulate more of what an NCAA Regional meet would be like. It's a great course, it's fast. If the weather stays nice this week, we'll have some chances to run some personal bests and all that sort of stuff.'

This week has been a bit of an adjustment for the Beavers. Last weekend was the first time since the season began with the Pier Park Invitational on Sept. 10 that OSU didn't compete, and classes began at Oregon State on Monday.

'I think for the ladies, last week was the first week that we didn't have a meet so I think we'll be anxious to get out again,' Sullivan said. 'I like what we've done the last week-and-a-half. It will be interesting to see how they adapt their first week back in class; that's always an interesting thing. They've been able to just go out and run and eat and sleep and that stuff.'

The Willamette Invitational is in its 30th year, but it was during Sullivan's tenure as the host Bearcats' head coach that the event grew from a field of small colleges to a Division I attraction. In the past few years, the field has included teams from as far afield as Iowa and Auburn; this year Washington, Portland, Portland State, Idaho, Boise State, Nevada, Santa Clara and San Diego will be among the competitors.

'Everybody wants to go to a meet in Oregon,' Sullivan said. 'And it's a great spectator's course; you can watch about 80 percent of the race. It's fast, and it's also one of those courses that doesn't beat you up. If you do all that travel, it's not compounded by running on a course where the next day you get up and can barely walk.

'I'm not a big fan of travel, so when I was at Willamette our program got to the point where it needed to be in a big meet to simulate nationals. Instead of jumping on a plane or jumping in a van and travelling forever ... it was kind of like the old baseball thing, `If you build it, they will come.' That's kind of what we did with that meet. I never dreamt that it would get as big and popular as it has. Last year, Iowa was there and the year before, Auburn flew out. It was the first time an SEC school, or a Big Ten school, in any sport had been in the Salem community. I think it's something the community of Salem has a lot of pride in now.'

The Beavers will run the meet's limit of 12 entrants, including a transfer who was added to OSU's lineup last week. Taylor Bryant, a graduate student with a year of eligibility remaining, ran for Oregon in both cross country and track last season; she just missed the Pacific-10 final in the 1,500 meters.

OREGON STATE'S LATEST MEET: Oregon State placed seventh in the 11-team field at the Washington Invitational women's cross country meet Sept. 18 at Seattle's Lincoln Park. The Beavers' top finishers among the 118 runners were Neoma Palmer in 14th place and Ashley Younce in 16th.

Idaho won the team title with 40 points while Washington was second with 54. With its 165 points, OSU was just 12 points out of a fourth-place tie in the meet.

'I was pleased with how we did,' OSU coach Kelly Sullivan said. 'We definitely can run better, which is really, really encouraging. It's like I told the ladies - I don't think there's a program in the country that has potential to improve as much as we do based off youth and inexperience. We ran against some pretty good kids.'

It was just the Beavers' second cross country meet in 17 years. Oregon State revived its women's cross country and track programs this fall after dropping the sport following the 1987-88 school year.

Individual champion was Sarina Monro of Club Northwest as she covered the 6,000-meter course in 20 minutes, 9.97 seconds. Palmer finished in 21:43.02 and Younce in 21:47.68; Palmer was running her first race of the season after earning NCAA Division III All-America honors at Bowdoin last year and Younce had placed third at the Pier Park Invitational a week earlier.

'I was really pleased with Neoma in her debut and Ashley backed up what she did a week ago,' Sullivan said.

OSU freshman Kaitlin Poggi was 51st in 22:56.09 while fellow frosh Lauren Denfeld - who had been recruited as a middle-distance prospect - was 63rd in 23:13.56. Jean-Marie Peterson, who had an outstanding prep career but chose OSU for academics and did not compete during 2003-04, was 94th in 24:17.33.

'Kaitlin, in her first college race, did great job,' Sullivan said. 'And so far, Lauren has been the biggest surprise in our program; she never ran cross country in high school but was soccer player and went to state the last two years in the 300 hurdles. It was Jean-Marie's first competitive race in over a year-and-a-half and she went out a little too anxious and paid for it, but within a month she'll be one of our top 3-4 runners.'

'We're doing it with smoke and mirrors right now, but we're having fun doing it.'

HEAD COACH KELLY SULLIVAN: Kelly Sullivan came to Oregon State in January, 2004 to re-start OSU's program after being head cross country and track and field coach at nearby Willamette University, a Division III school in Salem, Ore., since 1997. Sullivan was also an assistant coach at Auburn from 1984-96, and head coach at Clackamas Community College (Ore.) from 1980-84.

Sullivan, 47, guided Willamette's teams to three top-10 national finishes in cross country and track and coached 23 All-Americans, including five individuals who won national championships. At Auburn, he coached 36 All-Americans and at Clackamas he coached 24 NJCAA All-Americans.

Sullivan was an All-American in the steeplechase and cross country at Willamette before graduating in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in History and Education. A native of Nehalem, Ore., he graduated from Neah-Kah-Nie High.

OREGON STATE TAKES TO THE ROAD: Oregon State will spend at least the first season of its revived cross country and track programs without a home course or track. The Beavers will run in one meet in Corvallis, the Oregon State Track Club Invitational at Avery Park on Oct. 23; that's during OSU's Homecoming Weekend.

OREGON STATE INDIVIDUAL FINISHES: Here's where Oregon State runners have finished in meets this fall:

MARCIE AKERDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	36th of 54	21:43Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runTAYLOR BRYANTDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runTARA BURNSIDEDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runMACY CAMPBELLDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runERIN CLARKDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runNICOLE CRAWFORDDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runLAUREN DENFELDDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	14th of 54	20:02Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	63rd of 118	23:13.56STACEY FISCHERDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	34th of 54	21:29Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runJAIME FULLERDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	38th of 54	21:46Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	106th of 118	25:08.69JULIE GARCIADate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runNOELLE HARERDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	28th of 54	20:58Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	83rd of 118	23:53.70ASHLEY LARSONDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runKATIE MAGNUSONDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runNEOMA PALMERDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	14th of 118	21:43.02MEGAN PEROZZIDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runJEAN-MARIE PETERSONDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	94th of 118	24:17.33KAITLIN POGGIDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	51st of 118	22:56.09LISA ROBERTONDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	25th of 54	20:37Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	101st of 118	24:40.00ANGIE SABUCODate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000) - did not runSept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runALLIE SCHROEDERDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	47th of 54	22:56Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	115th of 118	26:33.10KELSEA SCHWINGDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	51st of 54	24.30Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000) - did not runTARA STIREWALTDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	42nd of 54	22:04Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	11th of 118	25:53.30HEATHER WALESDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	35th of 54	21:36Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	105th of 118	25:02.10MICHELLE WILSONDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	22nd of 54	20:25Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	88th of 118	24:01.82ASHLEY YOUNCEDate	Event (meters)	Place	TimeSept. 10	at Pier Park Invitational (5,000)	3rd of 54	18:42Sept. 18	at Washington Invitational (6,000)	16th of 118	21:47.68
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