Stanford Men Win NCAA Pre-Nationals, Women Seventh
Oct. 18, 2008
Terre Haute, Ind. - The Stanford cross country teams saw mixed results at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday in the most competitive regular season meet of the year. The men had an impressive showing, winning the Men's 8,000-meter White Race, while the women finished seventh in the Women's 6-000 meter Blue Race.
The No. 10 men's team finished with just 77 points, easily ahead of second-place No. 7 Iona who had 123 points. In all the Cardinal defeated 11 ranked teams in the White race. In addition the Cardinal had a faster team time than all of the 11 ranked teams in the Blue Race, a second heat of racing due to the high numbers of teams entered.
Head coach Jason Dunn saw the performance he expected, saying, 'I am not surprised with how things went. This is exactly what they have been showing me in practice.'
The Cardinal were led by senior Garrett Heath who finished third with a time of 23:36.4. Heath, who is a seven-time All-American as a middle-distance runner on the track came through with likely his best cross country race of his career.
'Garrett is a fifth-year; he is a really talented, tough kid and it is starting to show in cross country,' said Dunn.
Heath used a big finishing kick to move through the field to his third place position.
Less than a second behind Heath in fourth place was freshman Chris Derrick with a time of 23:37.0. The day after his 18th birthday, the highly touted frosh continued the brilliant beginning to his Stanford career.
Finishing 12th with a time of 23:48.1 was Garrett's younger brother, Elliott Heath. It was the highest team finish of Heath's young career at Stanford.
Also competing was Brendan Gregg who finished 77th with a time of 24:43.4.
The individual winner in the White race was Samuel Chelanga of Liberty who finished with an impressive 8,000-meter time of 22:51.3. His margin of victory was 44 seconds over Felix Kibioywo of Auburn who finished less than a second ahead of Heath.
The dominant performance by the Stanford men should catapult them up the national rankings from their current position at No. 10.
The women finished with 248 points for their seventh place finish. The teams were tightly bunch with third place Minnesota finishing just 50 points ahead.
Dunn was less satisfied with the women's performance, 'I did not expect this, they have been showing a lot more in practice. They did not get out well and had trouble moving up.'
The women were led by freshman Laurynne Chetelat who finished 28th with a time of 20:57.3. Chetelat has now been the top Stanford finisher in each of her first two collegiate races.
Finishing in 37th place was Katie Harrington with a time of 21:12.1. Harrington is the lone remaining All-American from last year's NCAA Championships team.
The next Stanford finisher was redshirt freshman Stephanie Marcy who finished 55th with a time of 21:19.8. It was Marcy's first major race for Stanford and she made it count with likely the best race of her collegiate career.
Also competing were Emilie Amaro who finished 106th with a time of 21:55.5 and Maddie O'Meara who finished 183rd with a time of 22:38.3.
No. 1 ranked Washington took the Blue Race with just 36 points, placing four runners in the top-10. They were trailed by second-place Villanova who had 126 points.
Brianna Fenagle of North Carolina took the individual title with a time of 20:02.4. She outdistanced runner-up, Holly Knight of Auburn by 11 seconds.
The women were without a couple experienced members of their team that Dunn hopes to get back for Pac-10's. However, he said, 'even if we don't add to our group, we can run much better than we did today.'
The Stanford cross country teams will now have a week off from competition before heading to Eugene, Ore. on Saturday, Nov. 1 to compete in the Pac-10 Championships.