Cross Country Heads to West Regional Championships on Saturday
Nov. 8, 2006
Eric Peterson and the men's and women's cross country teams will travel north to Porland, OR for the NCAA West Regional Championships on Saturday. The women's race will begin at 11:00 am, while the men's race will follow at 12:15 pm as qualifying for the NCAA Championships will take place at Blue Lake Park.
The field for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, held in Terre Haute, IN on Monday, November 20, will be decided on Saturday as division one cross country programs across the country will compete in regional competiiton. The top two teams for men and women will automatically qualify for the national meet, while at-large and invidividual selections will be made based on performances at the regional meets.
Last season, the men's team finished 12th overall in the team race, while Austin Ramos qualified individually for the NCAA meet. This weekend, the Bruins will look to build on the success of this season as they race for an at-large spot at Nationals.
The meet features six teams ranked in the top-30 in the country - No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 Portland, No. 19 Cal Poly SLO, No. 22 UC Santa Barbara and No. 24 Arizona.
'This is as deep as the West Region has been in recent memory,' noted Cross Country Coach Eric Peterson. 'There are really nine schools that will in some way factor into the automatic selection and the at-large selection process for qualifying for NCAA's.
'We are coming off of a very strong performace at the Pac-10 meet and are looking to build on that as we move up to the 10k distance. We feel that we have as good a shot as any of the other bubble teams to qualify for Nationals and we are going up there with the goal to compete aggressively and qualify for the NCAA Championships as a team.'
Last season, the women's team did not qualify for the NCAA Championships, but Ashley Caldwell did as an individual and went on to earn All-American honors at the National meet.
The women's race features the No. 1 team in the nation, Stanford, as well two other teams ranked in the top-10 in the country - No. 7 UC Santa Barbara and No. 8 Arizona State.
'The leadership on this team provided by Ashley and Allie has been awesome this season,' said Peterson. 'Though our team has only an outside shot at qualifying for NCAA's, those two have an excellent chance of qualifying as individuals.
'We feel that we match up very well with Oregon and Washington, and we would obviously like to improve our team position in the West Region and finish among the top-five. If the opportunity presents itself, and one of the top teams like Stanford, ASU or UCSB open the door, we want to be able to be in a position to step through and experience an upset, and in doing so, get our team back to NCAA's. We are going up to Portland with a clear idea of what the task is this weekend and we've been training well and are healthy. We are excited to have the opportunity to test ourselves.'