WASHINGTON SWEEPS PAC-10 WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The No. 1 ranked Washington Huskies proved worthy of their national ranking at the Pac-10 Women's Cross Country Championships on Friday afternoon, sweeping the top six positions on the Springfield Country Club course, with UW's Kendra Schaaf and her course-record 19:24.05 taking first overall.
'I just wanted to go out and run,' said Schaaf. 'The strategy is we're stronger when we are all running together. That's how we usually run.'
It was the first time in Pac-10 history, men's or women's, that a team swept the top spots in the conference championships and Washington's total team time was 1:39:12.24, for an average individual time of 19:50.45.
Washington won with a perfect 15 points, Oregon placed second with 55 points and Stanford took third at 99 points. Arizona State recorded 105 points for fourth place and Washington State's 188 points was good for fifth. Oregon State earned sixth with 192 points and Arizona followed in seventh (199), California in eighth (209), USC in ninth (212) and UCLA in 10th (271).
The previous course record of 19:57 was annihilated by Schaaf who sprinted out to first off the starting line and did not relinquish her lead throughout the race.
Schaaf, a freshman from Craven, Saskatchewan, built a commanding lead early with at least 60 meters separating her from the pack a mile into the race. Her lead grew to more than 100 meters as the competitors passed the half-way point. Just past the 3000 meter mark, the unofficial team scores showed Washington, with Schaaf leading the way, at 19 points and Oregon in second with 42 points.
Schaaf, who took third at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., had more than 25 seconds on the field heading into the final 1000 meters and the Huskies were running a commanding 1-6 in the race. With a just 500 meters remaining, the Huskies pushed away from the field with a firm lock on the top six positions and had seven of the top 12 finishers in the end.
Oregon's Lindsey Scherf was the top non-Washington finisher, taking seventh with teammate Nicole Blood behind her in eighth. Also in the top-10 were the Arizona State duo of Kari Hart (ninth) and Ali Kielty (10th).
The Huskies' title snaps a streak of 12-straight seasons with the Stanford Cardinal taking home the conference crown.
- Joe Waltasti