Cross Country Completes Strong West Regional
Nov. 15, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - The Stanford cross country teams performed well at the NCAA West Regional from the Stanford Golf Course on Saturday. Running in very hot conditions, the men's team claimed an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 24 with a second place finish, while the women finished third to put themselves in great position for an at-large bid.
The men finished with 72 points, trailing only No.1 Oregon who had 38 points. Portland was third with 85 points. The second place finish gives the Cardinal one of the 18 automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.
'We knew that we just wanted to make it through,' said head coach Jason Dunn. 'Our goal was to be in the top two. We never want to give away a win, but we were looking to do as little work as possible to advance. Now we are heading on to nationals with a full head of steam and we are looking forward to it.'
Chris Derrick led Stanford with his fifth place finish (28:44.31). Derrick sat back in the pack and let a lead group get away from him early in the race. However, Derrick rallied late in the race to close the gap and eventually catch fellow freshman Luke Puskdra of Oregon to claim the region's top finish by a freshman.
'I had almost given up try to catch Luke [Puskedra], but then I gave it a last sprint,' said Derrick.
Galen Rupp of Oregon won the meet with a time of 27:41.24. Rupp, a 2008 Olympian, extended his lead throughout the race to win by 51 seconds.
Also in the top-10 for Stanford was Garrett Heath who finished tenth with a time of 29:19.44. Heath hung in the chase pack and finished strongly, but never made a big move.
The rest of the Stanford scorers all placed in the top-25 with Hakon DeVries leading the way in 13th (29:24.95). Also under 30 minutes were Elliott Heath who finished 21st (29:45.31) and Jacob Riley who finished 23rd (29:47.79).
The women's race was dominated by Washington who took the title with 25 points despite resting two of their top seven runners, including Pac-10 Champion Kendra Schaaf. Oregon finished second with 62 points, while Stanford was third with 91.
'We would have liked to be in the top two so that we don't have to wait on at-large bids, but as far as how we ran I think that it went well,' said Dunn. Some people stepped up and it was a really solid effort. We don't want to be in the position where we aren't in the top two, but I think we will be OK and get through.'
Alex Kosinski of Oregon took the individual title with a 6,000-meter time of 19:59.01. Her teammate, Nicole Blood finished second with a time of 20:01.23 before five Huskies placed three through seven.
Laurynne Chetelat was the top Stanford finisher in ninth place with a time of 20:17.34. The Stanford freshman has been the team's top finisher in each of her first four collegiate races.
Katie Harrington finished strong to place 11th overall for Stanford with a time of 20:20.09.
The fifth and final scorer for the Cardinal was Georgia Griffin who finished 28th with a time of 20:49.13.
The Cardinal will next compete at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. on Monday, November 24. The men have already automatically qualified, while the women are in great position to get an at-large bid when they are announced on Sunday.