Women's Cross Country Back At No. 1
Sept. 15, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Husky women's cross country team begins the 2009 season where it left off last November, ranked No. 1 in the nation. Washington was the unanimous preseason No. 1 in the poll released today by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). This is the first preseason top-billing for the program.
All 12 first place votes went Washington's way for a total of 360 points. Oregon, the runner-up the past two years, is ranked second with 344 points, followed by Florida State (331), West Virginia (329), and Villanova (311). Additional Pac-10 teams in the rankings are Stanford at No. 6 and Arizona State at No. 11.
The Husky men's squad is also in the Top-25 to start the year. Washington was voted 24th with 84 points while the two-time defending champion Ducks were voted No. 1, followed by Oklahoma State and Stanford.
The UW women were undefeated in 2008 and return their top four runners from last season and five of their top-seven which competed at NCAA's. Washington fields four All-Americans including sophomores Kendra Schaaf (12th at NCAA's) and Christine Babcock (7th), junior Mel Lawrence (25th), and senior Katie Follett (26th). Junior Lauren Saylor also was one spot away from All-American honors last year, finishing 41st at NCAA's. Schaaf was the 2008 Pac-10 Athlete of the Year after winning the conference meet in a record time, and Babcock was Newcomer of the Year. Washington swept the top-six spots at Pac-10's last year for the first perfect score in conference history.
The men bring back four of their top five runners from last year's NCAA Championships, where they placed 18th overall, the second Top-20 finish in the past three years. Washington is an experienced group on the men's side with senior Jake Schmitt leading the way along with seniors Kelly Spady, Jordan Swarthout, and Colton Tully-Doyle, all of which ran at NCAA's last year.
The season kicks off this Saturday, Sept. 19, with UW's only home meet of the season, the Sundodger Invitational. The meet runs through Lincoln Park in West Seattle beginning at 9 a.m., with the women's invitational race featuring UW at 10:25 a.m. and the men's invite at 11 a.m.