Loaded Fields Await Huskies At Pre-National Meet
Oct. 14, 2009
PRE-NATIONAL MEET (TIMES APPROXIMATE)
11:00 a.m. Eastern Men's 8,000 Meter Blue Race (Featuring #14 UW)
11:40 a.m. Eastern Men's 8,000 Meter White Race
12:20 p.m. Eastern Women's 6,000 Meter Blue Race
12:55 p.m. Eastern Women's 6,000 Meter White Race (Featuring #1 UW)
1:30 p.m. Eastern Men's 8,000 Meter Open Race
2:10 p.m. Eastern Women's 6,000 Meter Open Race
ON THE COURSE: The cross country season takes another step up in intensity with the Pre-National Meet this Saturday, held on the same course that will host the NCAA Championships next month. Already considered the final regular season race, Pre-Nationals attracts the largest and highest-quality field outside of the national championships, and is the final tune-up before conference championships take center stage in two weeks.
Indiana State hosts the meet in Terre Haute, Indiana at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course, one of the few courses built specifically for cross country. With over 70 Division-I teams on both the men's and women's side traveling to Terre Haute, the fields get split into two races each and the teams are evenly distributed based on rankings. The top-ranked Washington women, the defending Pre-National Champions, are in the White Race set for 12:55 p.m. Eastern time while the 14th-ranked men will run in the Blue Race at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
The No. 1 Husky women's team is going back to Terre Haute for the first time since claiming the 2008 NCAA Championship on the course there last November. The women also turned in an historically dominant performance to win Pre-Nationals in 2008. Washington solidified its top-billing last year by blowing away the field with 36 points, 90 points ahead of second-place Villanova. It was an effort that the veteran race announcer at the time called perhaps the most incredible team display he had ever seen. This year the women will be competing against a total of 10 teams ranked in the current top-30.
The UW women's top challenges will come from 5th-ranked Princeton, No. 8 Minnesota, and No. 9 Florida. The Huskies cruised to wins over both Princeton and Florida just two weeks ago at the Notre Dame Invitational, but Washington won't quite be at full stregth this week as junior All-American Mel Lawrence and junior All-Pac-10 Lauren Saylor will be resting up this weekend, thus putting UW's depth to the test.
Sophomores Kendra Schaaf and Christine Babcock were third and fourth, respectively, at this meet last year and should each be considered among the favorites for the individual title, along with senior Katie Follett who was eighth last year and second to Schaaf at Notre Dame last time out. Juniors Kailey Campbell and Kenna Patrick, and redshirt freshman Allison Linnell and freshman Lindsay Flanagan round out UW's seven competitors. Patrick, Linnell and Flanagan will be running on the national course for the first time in college.
The Husky men meanwhile also bring a great deal of momentum into this weekend as they captured the Notre Dame Invitational title for themselves two weeks ago, defeating a large group of ranked opponents. They will be hard-pressed to win their third-straight meet this season, as the No. 14 men go up against four Top-10 teams in the Blue Race, but Washington will certainly be a factor come Saturday and look to continue their upward trajectory through the rankings. Lining up along with UW will be No. 2 Northern Arizona, No. 3 Alabama, No. 7 Oregon, No. 9 William & Mary, and four additional top-30 teams.
Washington should certainly be capable of improving on its 11th-place finish from a year ago. Seniors Kelly Spady, Colton Tully-Doyle, and Jake Schmitt give the Huskies a reliable presence at the top of the lineup. They were UW's top-three at NCAA's last year in Terre Haute when the men placed 18th. Sophomore Max O'Donoghue-McDonald and redshirt freshman Joey Bywater rounded out the top-five at Notre Dame as UW put all five of its scorers within a 21-second gap. Also competing on Saturday will be sophomore Cameron Quackenbush and redshirt freshman Rob Webster, Jr., both running on the NCAA Championship course for the first time.
WOMEN REMAIN UNANIMOUS NO. 1; MEN BREAK INTO TOP-15: The Husky women's cross country team continues to hold down the No. 1 ranking in the country, pulling in all 12 first place votes for 360 points in the most recent poll released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Huskies were the unanimous preseason No. 1 and have held the top spot since last October 7th, following their win at the Auburn Invitational. Oregon, the runner-up the past two years, has slipped to fourth after losing to Villanova, the new No. 2 team in the nation. West Virginia comes in third on the women's side. Additional Pac-10 teams in the rankings are Stanford at No. 6 and Arizona State at No. 17. The Husky men's squad made the largest leap of any team in the nation following its win at Notre Dame. Washington jumped from 22nd up to 14th, after beginning the year at No. 24 in the preseason poll. There has been a lot of movement in the men's Top-10 after defending-champ lost its home opener and dropped to seventh. Stanford is the new No. 1-ranked team, followed by Northern Arizona and Alabama. No. 19 Arizona State is the only other ranked Pac-10 team following the Cardinal, Ducks, and Huskies.
EXPECTED TO RUN: Following is a list of those Huskies expected to compete at Saturday's Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute. Teams are allowed to compete seven runners apiece. The top five finishers on each team contribute to the team score while the sixth and seventh runners can displace other team's finishers to bump up their score.
Name Year Hometown (Last School)
Christine Babcock So. Irvine, Calif. (Woodbridge)
Kailey Campbell Jr. Seattle, Wash. (Ballard)
Lindsay Flanagan Fr. Roselle, Ill. (Lake Park)
Katie Follett Sr. Fort Collins, Colo. (Fort Collins)
Allison Linnell RFr. Colts Neck, N.J. (Marine Academy of Science and Tech.)
Kenna Patrick Jr. Federal Way, Wash. (Thomas Jefferson/UPS)
Kendra Schaaf So. Craven, Saskatchewan (Lumsden)
Name Year Hometown (Last School)
Joey Bywater RFr. Lake Stevens, Wash. (Lake Stevens)
Max O'Donoghue-McDonald So. Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Prep)
Cameron Quackenbush So. Spokane, Wash. (Ferris)
Jake Schmitt Sr. Kentfield, Calif. (Redwood/California)
Kelly Spady Sr. Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak)
Colton Tully-Doyle Sr. San Diego, Calif. (Rancho Bernardo/UCSB)
Rob Webster, Jr. RFr. Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup)
LAST YEAR AT PRE-NATIONALS: A phenomenal team effort carried the No. 1 Washington women's cross country team to a dominating win at the Pre-National Meet on Oct. 18 in Terre Haute, as the Huskies placed four runners in the Top-10 despite taking on 11 ranked teams. The Huskies accumulated a scant 36 points, with second-place Villanova well back with 126 points. Minnesota, ranked fourth in the nation, was third with 198, followed by 9th-ranked Michigan State in fourth with 215, and No. 15 Florida in fifth with 233. For some perspective, in 2007 the Stanford women won Pre-Nationals with 102 points on their way to a third-straight NCAA title. The Huskies placed all five of their scoring runners in the top-20, where many teams would be happy to have one finisher. A trio of Huskies finished together in third, fourth, and fifth places, led by freshman Kendra Schaaf who covered the 6,000-meter course in 20-minutes and 15 seconds. Fellow freshman Christine Babcock was just a split second behind in fourth place, and sophomore Mel Lawrence took fifth in 20:18. Washington's two returning All-Americans were the fourth and fifth finishers on the squad. Junior Katie Follett placed 8th in 20:20, and senior Anita Campbell was 16th overall in 20:38. In the men's White Race, Washington's group took 11th out of 40 teams, and just missed upsetting two of the highest ranked teams in the country. Two spots ahead of the Huskies was Colorado, the No. 3 team in the country, which finished with 235 points to UW's 306. 11th-ranked Iowa State was 10th, with 249. Washington did outperform one ranked opponent, No. 30 Michigan State, who placed 14th. Junior Jake Schmitt led the men's team with a 27th-place finish in 24:08 for 8,000-meters. He was followed by senior Jeremy Mineau who was 48th in 24:23. A strong third for Washington was junior Colton Tully-Doyle, who placed 68th in 24:39 for his best Husky finish. Senior Jon Harding was 78th in 24:43 and junior Chris Ahl was 85th in 24:48 to round out the scoring. The women's first-place finish surpassed the fourth-place showing from 2007 as the program's best ever. The Huskies were so impressive, their top-five women averaged 20:21, which equaled the time of the second-place finisher in the women's White Race. Anita Campbell, who was UW's fifth finisher, would have been the No.1 runner for 4th-ranked Minnesota and 6th-ranked Stanford.
DAWGS SWEEP TEAM TITLES AT NOTRE DAME; WOMEN GO 1-4: Washington's top-ranked women's cross country team continued to steamroll, and the 22nd-ranked men made a major statement of their own, as both Husky teams claimed the titles at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 2. The Husky women went one through four, led by sophomore Kendra Schaaf, who won her second race of the season and fifth of her young career. Schaaf crossed the line first in 16-minutes, 31-seconds, and was followed across the line by three more UW All-Americans; senior Katie Follett taking second in 16:33, junior Mel Lawrence third in 16:36, and sophomore Christine Babcock fourth in 16:39. Junior Lauren Saylor's 23rd-place finish completed Washington's scoring with 33 points. The Husky women left nine Top-30 teams in their wake. No. 6 Princeton was second with 68 points, followed by No. 15 Florida (104), No. 22 Penn State (152), and No. 13 Arizona State (170). The win was reminiscent of UW's Pac-10 sweep last year, as the top-four today were all a part of Washington's one through six run to the league title. While the women were certainly the prohibitive favorites coming in, Washington's men's team had three higher-ranked teams to contend with out of eight total Top-30 programs. The Huskies ran to the title thanks to their impressive depth and had just a 21-second gap between their first and fifth finishers. Senior Kelly Spady, who won the season-opening Sundodger, continued his great early season with a ninth-place finish to lead the Dawgs. Spady ran 24:05 over the 8,000 meters. Close behind was senior Colton Tully-Doyle, taking 13th in 24:09. Senior Jake Schmitt and redshirt freshman Joey Bywater then crossed side-by-side in 24:22 to take 28th- and 29th-places, respectively. Sophomore Max O'Donoghue-McDonald capped the scoring with a 34th-place finish in 24:26. O'Donoghue-McDonald's 34th-place finish was by far the best of any No. 5 runner on the day. Second-place Providence's fifth-man came in 49th. When the scores were added up, the men came out ahead of 15th-ranked Providence, 113-119. 24th-ranked New Mexico and No. 20 Butler tied for third with 151 points. Arizona State took fifth (158), No. 26 Florida State was sixth (187), and 11th-ranked Tulsa took seventh (232). Wins over so many ranked teams could go a long way to helping the Huskies reach the NCAA Championships come November 23.
SCHAAF AND SPADY TAKE SUNDODGER: The season-opening Sundodger Invitational was all that the Husky cross country teams could have hoped for, as Washington captured both team and individual titles out at Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Sophomore Kendra Schaaf repeated as the women's invitational winner, and senior Kelly Spady got the first 8k win of his college career to lead the men. The No. 1-ranked Husky women cruised to an easy victory, placing their five scoring runners in the top-seven overall. They totaled 21 points, and the 24th-ranked men's squad posted 32 points in its win. Schaaf duplicated her freshman year win in nearly every way, going straight to the front and winning by a wide margin on a wet and muddy course. The main difference was this year Schaaf was nine seconds faster, breaking her own course record she set last year by covering the 6,000-meters in 19-minutes, 49-seconds. Junior Mel Lawrence, placed second for the second-straight season behind Schaaf, clocking 20:06, 17 seconds faster than last year. Next up for the Husky women was Lauren Saylor in fifth-place, then redshirt freshman Allison Linnell with perhaps the day's most pleasant surprise, as she grabbed seventh in 21:06. Junior Kenna Patrick placed eighth in 21:15, and true freshman Lindsay Flanagan was 10th in 21:18, giving the Huskies six in the top-10. In the men's race, Spady and Micah Chelimo of Alaska Anchorage led throughout, with Spady pulling away over the final 2,000-meters to win in 23:54. Husky senior Colton Tully-Doyle was very impressive taking third in 24:08, though he ran unattached. Redshirt freshman Joey Bywater was sixth at 24:16, 30 seconds faster than his 2008 time. James Cameron from Lake Forest, Calif. was the top UW freshman, placing eighth in 24:23 while competing unattached. Sophomores Cameron Quackenbush and Max O'Donoghue-McDonald crossed ninth and tenth, respectively, in 24:26 and 24:31. Sophomore David McCary had his best Sundodger yet, placing 13th in 24:39 to round out UW's scoring. McCary has gone from 84th at the Sundodger as a true freshman, to 49th as a redshirt freshman, and now all the way up to 13th. Junior Jordan Swarthout (15th), senior Chris Ahl (19th), and true freshman Bryan Tibaduiza (20th) also placed in the top-20 for the Dawgs.
UP NEXT: The first of the three legs of the cross country postseason comes on October 30, as Washington travels to Long Beach, Calif. for the Pac-10 Championships. USC hosts the conference meet this year at the Skylinks Golf Course. The Washington women will be shooting for a repeat title, though duplicating their perfect 15 point sweep from 2008 will be next to impossible. For the men, an improvement on their third-place finish would be a major feat but is a definite goal.