Cross Country To Face Top Competition At Pre-Nationals

Oct. 14, 2009

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    Stanford To Compete At Pre-Nats
    The No. 1 Stanford men and No. 6 Stanford women will face their biggest regular season tests on Saturday, Oct. 17, when they compete in the NCAA Pre-Nationals. The men will look to defend their title in the White Race at 8:40 am, PST. The women will run immediately following at 9:20 am, PST, in the Blue Race. Because of the large fields both the men and women are broken up into Blue and White races. Their are also open races following the seeded races. Stanford will have two men in the open race at 10:30 am, PST.

    The Field
    The Stanford men will be the favorite in the White Race that includes a loaded field with nine ranked teams. Along with the No. 1 Cardinal, No. 4 Colorado, No. 6 BYU, No. 8 Portland, No. 12 Iona, No. 18 Iowa State, No. 19 Arizona State, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 28 Florida State and No. 30 Minnesota will be competing. The women will be one of nine ranked teams in the Blue Race. They will be joined by No. 4 Oregon, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 11 Florida State, No. 13 Georgetown, No. 19 Colorado, No. 24 Michigan State and No. 29 Iowa.

    Cardinal Sweep Stanford Invite
    Playing host to the Stanford Invitational, the Stanford cross country team took home a pair of team titles. The Stanford men ran in a pack for most of the race, earning a perfect 15 points by taking the top five places. Chris Derrick controlled the race, urging his teammates to stay packed together for the entire eight kilometers. Derrick took the title, while Brendan Gregg, Benjamin Johnson and Jacob Riley finished with him all earning identical times of 23:54. The women finished with 24 points and were led by Kathy Kroeger who placed third overall. Kroeger completed the 6,000-meter course in 20:35. Just behind Kroeger was the veteran of the women's team, Kate Niehaus in fourth. Niehaus finished with a time of 20:39 in her final Stanford Invitational. Also with top-10 finishes for Stanford were Alex Dunne, Alexandra Gits and Stephanie Marcy.

    For Starters
    The Cardinal opened their season, September 4, at the Nevada Twighlight Invitational. Running under the lights with limited squads the men took the meet title, while the women finished second. Benjamin Johnson led the men with the the individual title, covering the 6,000-meter time of 19:58. Madeline Duhon led the women with her fourth-place finish, coving the 4,000-meter course in a time of 15:40.

    Jason Dunn Returns For His Second Season
    Jason Dunn returns for his second season at Stanford. He made an immediate impact in 2008, leading the men's team to a third place national finish and a young women's team to an eighth place finish. During the indoor track season, Dunn was named the West Region's assistant coach of the year for both the men and the women. Combined in cross country and track and field, the distance runners totaled 14 All-America honors for the season under the guidance of Dunn. He will again be assisted by David Vidal who enters his fourth season. They also welcome two recently graduated All-American runners, Hakon DeVries and Garrett Heath, as volunteer assistant coaches.

    Top Returning Women
    The women return a pair of runners who were part of the championship teams of the past for Stanford. Kate Niehaus was a member of both the 2006 and 2007 NCAA championship teams, while Alex Gits was a scoring member of the 2007 team. Gits is a returning All-American, having placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters in 2008. Niehaus has also been an NCAA qualifier in track, having competed in the 5,000 meters last spring. Returning from the NCAA team last year are Niehaus, Stephanie Marcy, Georgia Griffin and Emilie Amaro. Amaro was also an NCAA qualifier in track in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

    Top Returning Men
    The Cardinal return one of the top runners in the nation in Chris Derrick. Derrick earned four All-America honors during his freshman season, which included a seventh-place national finish in cross country. Derrick is listed as a potential NCAA Champion in 2009, having earned international experience at the World Junior Cross Country Championships and setting an American Junior record in the 5,000 meters in 2009. He will be joined by returning All-Americans Elliott Heath and Jacob Riley, who were also scoring members of the 2008 cross country team that placed third nationally. Heath earned his All-America honors in the 3,000 meters indoors and the 5,000 meters outdoors. Riley who is a returning All-Pac-10 runner in cross country earned his All-America honor during outdoor track in the 10,000 meters. Also returning from the 2008 team that earned a NCAA trophy is Brendan Gregg.

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