Men Second, Women Third At Pac-10 Championships
Oct. 31, 2008
Eugene, Ore. - Stanford men's and women's cross country both ran well at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, but could not overcome the top-ranked teams in the nation. Despite a late surge by the men, the No. 2 Cardinal fell to No.1 Oregon, 28-47. In the women's race, the No. 18 Cardinal settled for third place, behind No. 1 Washington and runner-up No. 2 Oregon.
Head coach Jason Dunn was pleased with both races, but not necessarily the results, saying, 'both teams performances were pretty solid, but we aren't quite where we want to be.'
The men's race was taken out hard by a trio of Oregon Ducks that included 2008 U.S. Olympian, Galen Rupp, who won his second Pac-10 title with a time of 22:55.14. However, while Rupp extended his lead, the chase pack that included five Stanford runners began to gain on the other two Oregon front-runners.
Over the last mile, Stanford freshman Chris Derrick caught Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott of Oregon to break up the leading trio, but fell just short of Luke Puskedra, who finished second. Derrick settled for third with a time of 23:38.17, setting up a potential showdown with Puskedra, who is also a freshman, for the west coasts and perhaps the nation's top rookie.
Just behind Derrick was teammate Garrett Heath, who also chased down Kiptoo-Biwott to finish fourth with a time of 23:41.18. Heath, a senior, has emerged as a force in cross country this season after a seven-time All-America career on the track for Stanford.
Dunn was particularly impressed with the redshirt freshman Riley, saying, 'he stepped up huge.'
The final scoring runner for Stanford was Elliott Heath, who finished 20th with a time of 24:17.48. Heath fell just off the end of the chase pack, but held strong to put five Stanford runners in the top-20.
Looking ahead, Stanford and Oregon will match-up twice more this season. The first will be at NCAA West Regionals, then again at the NCAA Championships.
'We have been training for the 10k distance and are looking forward to another crack at [Oregon],' said Dunn.
The women's race was dominated by Washington, with took the top six spots to finish with a perfect score of 15 points. Kendra Schaaf captured the individual title in a time of 19:24.05.
The Washington title ended Stanford's run of 12 consecutive Pac-10 titles.
Dunn called the Huskies, 'potentially one of the great teams in NCAA history.'
Oregon finished second with 55 points and the Cardinal took third with 99 points. Stanford did top a higher ranked team in No.15 Arizona State, which finished fourth with 105 points.
'We ran a lot better than we have previously so I am really pleased with the effort from such a young team, said Dunn. However, we will never be happy with third.'
For the third time in as many collegiate races, freshman Laurynne Chetelat led Stanford. Chetelat ran up front with mostly runners from Washington and Oregon to eventually finish 13th with a time of 20:32.71.
Also in the top-20 for Stanford was Katie Harrington who finished strong, placing 19th with a time of 20:45.14.
The rest of Stanford's top-seven was grouped tightly together with five runners placing from 21st to 29th.
Freshman Emilie Amaro led the group in 21st with a time of 20:47.74 just ahead of Alicia Follmar who was 22nd with a time of 20:50.94. Also under 21 minutes was Georgia Griffin who finished 25th with a time of 20:53.26.
Rounding out the top-seven for Stanford were Stephanie Marcy (27th) with a time of 21:01.80 and Alexandra Gits (29th) with a time of 21:06.12. For Gits it was her first race since the NCAA Track and Field Championships when she finished third in the 10,000 meters before an injury cost her a chance at the Olympic Trials and the early part of her 2008 cross country season.
Both Stanford cross country teams will be back in action in two weeks when Stanford hosts the NCAA West Regional at the Stanford Golf Course on November 15. The meet will go a long way deciding which teams qualify for the NCAA Championships on November 24.
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