Stanford Set To Host NCAA West Regional

Nov. 11, 2008

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    The 2008 NCAA West Regional will be contested at the Stanford Golf Course on November 15. The first race will be the women's 6,000-meter race at 11am and will be followed by the men's 10,000-meter race at 12pm.

    The top two teams in each race qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships, along with the top four individuals not on qualifying teams. In addition, teams around the country are competing for 13 at-large berths, which will be awarded based on a season-long points system developed by the NCAA, with priority toward top regional placers. Historically, the West Region has received several at-large bids.

    The 2007 West Regional race was won by host, University of Oregon, with 47 points. The Ducks went on to win the 2007 national title. Oregon outdistanced second-place Portland and third-place Stanford to capture its second consecutive regional title.

    The top six teams from the 2007 West Regional advanced to the NCAA Meet: Oregon (1st), Cal Poly (11th), Portland (14th), California (16th), Stanford (19th) and Arizona State (26th).

    This season, the west is loaded once again with seven ranked teams and several others, which will be looking to earn automatic and at-large bids to the NCAA Championships.

    Oregon, led by defending regional champion Galen Rupp, is ranked No. 1 in the country and the favorite for its third straight regional title. However, the Ducks should face strong competition from No. 3 Stanford and No. 4 Portland.

    The Cardinal came up short in their first attempt to knock off the top-ranked Ducks at the Pac-10 Championships, losing 28-47. However, running at home at the Stanford Golf Course and stretching the distance to 10,000 meters will give Stanford renewed confidence. This season, the Cardinal has been led by senior leader Garrett Heath and freshman sensation Chris Derrick.

    The Pilots chose not to run the NCAA Pre-National meet and enter the West Regionals as a bit of an unknown. However, Portland gave Oregon a solid race at the early season Bill Delinger Invitational, losing 49-56, but taking down No. 5 and eventual SEC champ, Alabama, which finished third with 62 points. Portland is coming off its 30th consecutive West Coast Conference title and will be led by Dellinger Invitational and WCC champion, David Kinsella.

    Other ranked teams competing will be No. 19 Cal Poly, No. 20 California, No. 23 Washington, and No. 26 UCLA. Cal Poly is the Big West champion, while Washington and Cal tied for third at the Pac-10 Championships with UCLA just two points behind, in fifth.

    The top three individuals from last year's West Regional will be back in 2008. Defending champion Rupp, runner-up Kinsella, and third-place Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott of Oregon will be joined by other top-10 finishers, Josef Ghebray (eighth) and David Torrence (ninth) of Cal and Hari Mix (10th) of Stanford.

    Freshmen Derrick, Oregon's Luke Puskedra and Portland's Alfred Kipchumba figure to be in the mix in their first NCAA regional.

    The 2007 West Regional was won by Stanford with just 33 points. The Cardinal has captured the last nine West Regionals and the last three NCAA titles. Oregon finished as runner-up, followed by Arizona State and Washington.

    In addition to the Cardinal, the West was well represented at last year's NCAA Championships as Oregon finished as the national runner-up and Arizona State also won a trophy, finishing fourth. Washington (eighth) and UC Santa Barbara (19th) gave the West a total of five teams at last year's national meet.

    This year, No. 1 Washington has taken the nation by storm after dominating performances at the NCAA Pre-Nationals and the Pac-10 Championships. The Huskies scored just 36 points at Pre-Nats and then scored a perfect 15 points at the conference championship. Kendra Schaaf leads the Huskies after capturing the Pac-10 individual crown in her freshman season.

    Despite being swept at Pac-10's, Oregon remained No. 2 in the nation. The Ducks were led by Lindsey Scherf who finished seventh. They remain a threat for a big upset over Washington.

    Laurynne Chetelat

    No. 11 Stanford will look to continue its streak of regional titles from its home course. The Cardinal are a much different looking team, having lost 2007 regional champ, Teresa McWalters and Pac-10 champion Arianna Lambie to graduation. The Cardinal was third at the Pac-10 meet and were led by freshman Laurynne Chetelat in each of her first three races this season.

    The only other ranked team is No. 16 Arizona State, but Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona each received votes and will be looking for a big race to move into at-large consideration for the NCAA championships.

    The top returning individual is Nicole Blood of Oregon, who finished second at last year's West Regional. Other top returners are Alex Gits of Stanford (third), Anita Campbell of Washington (fourth), Alexandra Kosinski of Oregon (fifth), Katie Follett of Washington (seventh), Jenna Kingma of Arizona State (eighth) and Dana Morgan of Portland (ninth).

    In addition to Schaaf, Washington boasts freshman Christine Babcock who was third at Pac-10's. The Washington rookie duo and Chetelat figure to mix it up with the strong core of returners.

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