Harriers Head to Portland for Regional Championships

Nov. 7, 2006

Meet Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - The 2006 season is nearing a close for the Arizona State University cross country team as the Sun Devils head to Blue Lake Park in Gresham, Ore., for the 2006 NCAA West Region Championships on Saturday (November 11). The meet, which is used as the selection tool for the NCAA Cross Country Championships on November 20, will see the women run a 6K race starting at 11 a.m. before the men close out the event with their 10K run at 12:15 p.m.

In the latest USTFCCCA rankings, released October 30, the Sun Devil women were ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 3 in the West Region while the men were receiving votes in the national poll while sitting No. 7 in the West.

The West Region has several highly ranked teams set to compete this weekend, with six men's teams and four women's teams entering the meet ranked in the national Top 30 according to the USTFCCCA. The men's race includes national No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Stanford, host and No. 9 Portland, No. 19 Cal Poly, No. 22 UC Santa Barbara and No. 24 Arizona while the women's race features No. 1 Stanford, No. 7 UCSB, No. 8 Arizona State and No. 29 Washington.

Every team in the field will be looking to finish in the Top 2 placements as the first and second place finishing teams earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Cross Country Championships on November 20 in Terre Haute, Ind. After the regional competitions have concluded, the NCAA will select 13 at-large teams for the national event. On an individual level, the Top 25 finishers in each regional race will earn All-Region accolades while the Top 3 finishers in the race not on one of the teams selected for nationals will gain entrance into the NCAA meet.

Last year, the West Region meet was held at Stanford with the women finishing second and the men third with both eventually earning a berth into the NCAA Championships. The women were led by six all-region finishers, including Amy Hastings (second), Victoria Jackson (seventh), Anna Masinelli (10th), Jenna Kingma (13th), Rachel Ellison (16th) and Cassie Rios (25th). Corey Randall, who also competed in the meet, returns this season with Kingma and Rios. On the men's side, Casey Burchill finished third overall with Ryan Warrenburg (seventh) also earning all-region honors. Two runners that competed last year are back this season, including Joey Heller (26th) and Kal Clark (72nd).

During the 2003 season, the West Region meet was held in Gresham, Ore., with the women placing fourth and the men eighth in the event. The women, who would go on to earn a berth into the NCAA Championships, were led by Amy Hastings, the race runner-up. One woman that competed that day and will run again this weekend is Corey Randall, who placed 33rd in 2003. For the men, Aaron Aguayo was the top finisher, placing 28th, while one other runner that will compete this weekend, Kal Clark, placed 75th.

Starting in 1999, the Sun Devil women started a run of strong finishes at the regional meet, placing in the Top 3 in six of the seven races during that span. The lone time the team did not place in the Top 3 was the last time the regionals were held in Gresham (2003). During the seven-year span, the women have finished second four times and third twice. On the men's side and also dating back to a resurgence in 1998, the Sun Devils have finished in the Top 5 six times with the lone exception being an 8th-place finish in Gresham in 2003. ASU placed third one year ago after a program-record runner-up finish in 2004 and also placed third in 1999. The men finished fourth once and fifth twice during the span.

The women will look to earn their ninth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships while the men will seek to build on their recent appearances, trying for their third in a row. The women, competitors in the event each year since the 1998 national meet, are coming off their first trophy finish, placing fourth in the national last year in Terre Haute. The men, following back-to-back berths into nationals, will look for their fifth overall appearance.

The Sun Devils competed in the 2006 Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago with the women taking second place for the fifth year in a row and seventh in the last eight meets while the men moved up one spot from last year to place fourth overall. The women were led by Cassie Rios (fifth) and Brooke Bennett (seventh), both of which earned All-Pac-10 First Team honors, while Jenna Kingma (10th) and Ali Kielty (13th) were second team honorees. Krystal Duke (16th) rounded out the Top 5 scorers for the women. In the men's race, Aaron Aguayo led the way with a fourth-place showing to earn first team honors while Kyle Alcorn was a second-team honoree in 10th place. The men's Top 5 was rounded out by Joey Heller (17th), Jeff Helmer (43rd) and Kal Clark (48th).

Three women and three men made their Sun Devil debuts at the Dave Murray Invitational with all six running well. On the women's side, true freshman Kari Hardt placed third overall and second among Sun Devil runners in her first collegiate race while both Krystal Duke and Ali Kielty competed in their first races after redshirting the 2005 season, finishing eighth and fourth, respectively. True freshmen Mikias Gelagle and Jeff Helmer also competed in their first collegiate races and placed seventh and 15th, respectively, while Kyle Alcorn, who sat out 2005 after transferring into the program from Oregon, placed fourth overall and second on the Sun Devil squad in his first action with ASU.

The Sun Devils will be looking to extend recent streaks of competing in the national championships this season with the women in search of their ninth-consecutive appearance and the men looking for their third in a row. Dating back to 1998, the women have competed in every NCAA Championship meet, placing in the Top 25 each time and recording Top 10 finishes three times, including the last two years. The men have made the 32-team field four time, including the last two meets, and have placed among the Top 20 every time.

Last year, five women and one man earned All-Pac-10 honors with just one of the women returning for the 2006 season. On the women's side, Amy Hastings and Anna Masinelli each collected first team honors while second team selections went to Rachel Ellison, Victoria Jackson and Jenna Kingma, the lone returning runner. The men saw Ryan Warrenburg collect second team honors.

The 2006 roster features 20 women and 17 men with three women and six men coming to Tempe as true freshmen. For the women, 13 runners return from last year with three of the women coming off a redshirt season while the men return 11 athletes with five entering the season following a redshirt campaign. The women will return six athletes that competed in either the Pac-10, West Region and/or NCAA Championships, including Brooke Bennett, Whitney Lemieux, Jenna Kingma, Corey Randall, Cassie Rios and Angela Spadafino. The men have four runners back that competed in the championship meets including Kal Clark, Eric Dall, Joey Heller and David Mehlhorn. The men also will bring back Aaron Aguayo, who competed in all three meets in 2004, and Kyle Alcorn, who competed for Oregon in 2004.

Six women and seven men are on the roster for their first cross country season with the Sun Devils in 2006, including three women and six men entering as true freshmen. For the women, the rookie class includes Whitney Blue, Kari Hardt and Jenn Schraven while the men's freshman class includes Collin Eckelman, Ben Engelhardt, Mikias Gelagle, Jeff Helmer, Garrett Kelly and Patrick Milloy. The women's newcomers also include junior transfers Jenny Cohen (Scottsdale CC) and Sereena Harmon (Paradise Valley CC) and the addition of D'Metra Macedon, a member of the 2006 track and field team. The lone non-rookie on the men's side is Kyle Alcorn who joins the squad after sitting the 2005 season following his transfer from Oregon.

Last year, Whitney Hardt completed her redshirt freshman season with the Sun Devils and ran in four races, including the Pac-10 Championships. This year, she welcomes her younger sister Kari to the team. The addition of the younger Hardt marks the second time in as many years that siblings have appeared on the ASU roster after JJ Duke and younger sister Krystal Duke were teammates in 2005.

The Sun Devil rosters boast 12 women and seven men hailing from the state of Arizona with another five and three, respectively, calling California home. The two remaining women and four of the remaining seven men call the eastern portion of the United States their home. For the women, the Sun Devils have one runner each from Ohio and Vermont (the most eastern representative on the roster) while the four eastern men hail from Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio.

Each team has selected two captains for the season. The women's captains are Corey Randall and Cassie Rios while the men will be led by Aaron Aguayo and Eric Dall.

Louie Quintana returns for his third season at the helm of the Sun Devil program in 2006 and will look to continue the recent trend of success the Sun Devils have enjoyed under him. The 2006 USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year for Women's Distance Track & Field, Quintana's runners made great strides in 2005 with his women playing a vital role in the program's first 'Triple Crown' as ASU secured trophy finishes (Top 4) at all three NCAA Championships (third at the indoor NCAA meet and fourth at both the NCAA cross country and NCAA outdoor track & field meet). His harriers also struck gold on the track, including national titles for Amy Hastings in the indoor 5,000m run and Victoria Jackson in the outdoor 10,000m event. His women also played a vital role in the success of the Sun Devils at the Pac-10 meet as three individual champions and 71 points scored helped secure the team's first conference team championship crown.

Based upon results from this weekend, the Sun Devils will next head to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 20.

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