Huskies Look To Secure NCAA Bids At West Regionals
Nov. 12, 2009
2009 NCAA WEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, November 14 Springfield Country Club Springfield, Ore.
9:45 a.m. Men's 10,000 Meters
10:45 a.m. Women's 6,000 Meters
ON THE COURSE: With just one race remaining before the national meet, Washington will take its two ranked cross country teams south down I-5 to Springfield, Oregon to compete in the NCAA West Regional Championships, hosted by Oregon this Saturday morning. The top-ranked Husky women's team will be looking to defend its Regional crown with a controlled effort, as they are virtually assured of an NCAA bid. The 17th-ranked men's team is also in a solid spot for nationals but must run well on Saturday to solidify that spot.
The top-two finishing teams in both the men's and women's races earn automatic spots at the NCAA Championships, which are just nine days after Regionals on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Indiana. The West Region is one of nine Regions across the country, which account for 18 auto qualifiers, then 13 at-large spots are awarded to round out the field.
Oregon hosts the Regional meet in nearby Springfield, at the Springfield Country Club. The men's race will be up first at 9:45 a.m. Regionals marks the first race where the standard men's distance increases from 8,000 to 10,000 meters, the same length as the national meet. The 6,000-meter women's race will follow at 10:45 a.m.
The No. 1 Husky women are coming off a Pac-10 title run two weeks ago in Long Beach, California. They've won 10 consecutive races, but the recent Pac-10 win was the closest of any of those 10. The Huskies outkicked the Oregon Ducks down the stretch, and will face the 5th-ranked Ducks again on Saturday. Oregon has the home course advantage, but the last time UW ran at the Springfield Country Club they swept the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, and Kendra Schaaf set the course record.
Both the men's and women's fields include 28 teams, highlighted by each of the Pac-10 squads. The No. 1-ranked Stanford men will be favored, and are followed in the rankings by No. 3 Oregon, No. 7 Portland, No. 13 Arizona State, and the Huskies at No. 17. Cal Poly and UCLA are also receiving votes. After Washington on the women's side comes No. 5 Oregon, No. 14 Stanford, No. 16 Arizona State, No. 24 Arizona, and No. 27 California.
Last year the women cruised to the Regional title with a tight pack of five women finishing in a row from third through seventh-place, led by Christine Babcock. Junior Mel Lawrence (4th last year) and senior Katie Follett (5th) return from UW's top-five last year. Schaaf rested at Regionals last year but will be running on Saturday. Junior Kailey Campbell and freshmen Kayla Evans and Lindsay Flanagan are also expected to compete.
Senior Kelly Spady is UW's top returner for the men. He was 24th last year and fellow senior Jake Schmitt was right behind in 26th. Junior Jordan Swarthout is coming off his best race of the year at Pac-10's, placing 30th, and was 36th a year ago. Senior Colton Tully-Doyle could see a big one year jump, as he was 100th one year ago but has been UW's No. 2 finisher at every race this year. While the lineup may change, it would be the first 10k run for Joey Bywater, David McCary, James Cameron, and Cameron Quackenbush, while Max O'Donoghue-McDonald will run his first since the 2007 Regional meet.
The full NCAA Championships field will be announced on NCAA.com this Sunday.
WOMEN REMAIN NO. 1; MEN REMAIN IN TOP-20: The Husky women's cross country team continues to hold down the No. 1 ranking in the country, pulling in 10 of the 12 first place votes for 357 points in the most recent poll released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) following the conference championships. For the first time all year, two voters saw fit to drop the Huskies from the top spot after UW had a close win at Pac-10s, and Villanova picked up two first-place votes. 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. After UW and Villanova, No. 3 is held by Florida, No. 4 by Princeton and No. 5 by Oregon. The Huskies have already defeated all three of those teams. Other ranked Pac-10 teams include No. 14 Stanford, No. 16 Arizona State, No. 24 Arizona and No. 27 California. The Husky men's team is currently 17th heading into Regionals, down slightly from their seasno-high No. 13. The men started the year at 24th, then climbed to 22nd after the Sundodger, and made a big leap up to 14th following their Notre Dame victory. Washington will face three Top-10 teams at West Regionals in No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Oregon, and No. 7 Portland.
EXPECTED TO RUN: Following is a list of those Huskies expected to travel to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA West Regional Championships. Seven runners per team will be chosen from the following groups. 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) 2008 Regional Finish
Christine Babcock So. Irvine, Calif. (Woodbridge) 3rd
Kailey Campbell Jr. Seattle, Wash. (Ballard) 1st Race
Kayla Evans RFr. Tacoma, Wash. (Bellarmine Prep) 1st Race
Lindsay Flanagan Fr. Roselle, Ill. (Lake Park) 1st Race
Katie Follett Sr. Fort Collins, Colo. (Fort Collins) 5th
Mel Lawrence Jr. Reno, Nev. (Reno) 4th
Allison Linnell RFr. Colts Neck, N.J. (Marine Aca. of Science and Tech.) 1st Race
Lauren Saylor Jr. Clovis, Calif. (Buchanan) 61st (2007)
Kendra Schaaf So. Craven, Saskatchewan (Lumsden) 1st Race
Name Year Hometown (Last School) 2008 Regional Finish
Joey Bywater RFr. Lake Stevens, Wash. (Lake Stevens) 1st Race
James Cameron Fr. Lake Forest, Calif. (Mission Viejo) 1st Race
David McCary So. Kirkland, Wash. (Juanita) 1st Race
Max O'Donoghue-McDonald So. Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Prep) 46th (2007)
Cameron Quackenbush So. Spokane, Wash. (Ferris) 1st Race
Jake Schmitt Sr. Kentfield, Calif. (Redwood/California) 26th
Kelly Spady Sr. Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak) 24th
Jordan Swarthout Jr. Olympia, Wash. (Capital) 36th
Colton Tully-Doyle Sr. San Diego, Calif. (Rancho Bernardo/UCSB) 100th
LAST YEAR AT REGIONALS - WOMEN TAKE TITLE; MEN REACH NATIONALS: The top-ranked Washington women's cross country team won its first Regional Championship since 1992, running to an easy win at the Stanford Golf Course. The men placed fifth which turned out to be a perfect spot for an at-large bid to NCAA's. The Husky women's top-five finished in the No. 3 through No. 7 spots within 11 seconds of each other. The Huskies outpaced No. 2-ranked Oregon, scoring 25 points to Oregon's 62. 11th-ranked Stanford was third with 91 points. Washington and Oregon earned the two automatic bids into the NCAA Championships. Despite resting Pac-10 Champion Kendra Schaaf and Lauren Saylor, the Huskies still had plenty of depth to capture the team title. Freshman Christine Babcock led the team in third place, covering the 6,000-meter course in 20:02. Rolling across the line behind Babcock were sophomore Mel Lawrence (4th; 20:03), junior Katie Follett (5th; 20:08), senior Anita Campbell (6th; 20:12), and senior Amanda Miller (7th; 20:13). Also turning in a great performance was senior Michelle Turner who was 15th in 20:24. The men's team also had a strong showing, placing fifth, as No. 1 Oregon won the title with 38 points, followed by third-ranked Stanford in second-place with 72. No. 4 Portland was third with 85, then came 20th-ranked Cal with 116 and Washington with 122. The Huskies finished ahead of 26th-ranked UCLA, who was sixth with 145, and 19th-ranked Cal Poly, who took seventh with 184. All seven teams would qualify for nationals. Senior Jeremy Mineau turned in an outstanding performance as the men moved up to 10,000-meters. Mineau was eighth overall in 29:06 for the second Top-10 Regional finish of his career. Three more Huskies finished in the Top-30, led by junior Kelly Spady in 29:48 for 24th-place. Junior Jake Schmitt was 26th in 29:53 and senior Jon Harding placed 28th in 29:56. Rounding out the top five was Jordan Swarthout, who was 36th in 30:15.
WASHINGTON'S REGIONAL HISTORY: Last season, the Regional meet was a mere formality for the Husky women, and they ran together as a pack and picked up a dominating 37 point victory. It was the first Regional title for the women since 1992, and the third overall. Washington also took team titles in 1989 and 1992. UW's win snapped a string of nine-straight by Stanford. Christine Babcock led a wave of five Huskies that all crossed within 11 seconds of each other. Babcock was third, followed by Mel Lawrence in fourth, Katie Follett in fifth, Anita Campbell in sixth, and Amanda Miller in seventh. The men qualified for Nationals in 2008 with a fifth-place finish, as seven West Region teams advanced to Terre Haute. Senior Jeremy Mineau was eighth overall, leading the men to a 122 point total. Historically, the women have finished in the top-five every year since 1989. Husky legend Regina Joyce is the only Husky male or female to win a Regional crown, doing so in 1980. The Husky men have never won Regionals, but have finished second six times, including five-straight seconds from 1987-1991. UW's best individual performance on the men's side was Simon Baines, who ran second in 1993.
WOMEN DEFEND PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP: It may not have been perfect as it was in 2008, but in the end the No. 1-ranked Washington women's cross country team was crowned Pac-10 Conference Champions for the second year in a row in Long Beach on Oct. 30. The 13th-ranked men's squad placed fourth. After being dead-even with the 8th-ranked Oregon Ducks with 400-meters to go, Washington poured it on down the homestretch and scored the win, accumulating 35 points to Oregon's 42. The Huskies have now won back-to-back titles for the first time in program history, and ran their undefeated streak to 10 races. Kendra Schaaf, the defending Pac-10 individual champion, went out fast and led for much of the race. Schaaf, though, began fighting a slight knee twinge and on the final loop of the 6,000-meter course she was overtaken and dropped back to fifth. But the 2008 Pac-10 Athlete of the Year dug down over the final stretch and surged back up to finish second in 19-minutes, 46-seconds. Oregon senior Nicole Blood won her first Pac-10 title in 19:41. Earning top-five finishes for the second-straight year was Mel Lawrence and Christine Babcock. Katie Follett, battling illness, gutted out an eighth-place finish that was key to the team win. The final points of the win came from Kailey Campbell's 16th-place finish to cap UW's scoring. Campbell reinjured an ankle midway through the race and at one point stopped running for several seconds, but she refused to call it quits and passed a number of runners down the stretch, including sprinting past Oregon's No. 5 runner at the finish. Redshirt freshman Allison Linnell also had an excellent Pac-10 debut, placing 19th, and junior Lauren Saylor took 25th to complete UW's top-seven. After the Huskies and Ducks, Arizona State placed third with 110 points, ahead of No. 12 Stanford which had 111. The Husky men were led to a fourth-place finish by senior Kelly Spady, who had a career-high 10th-place finish, covering the 8,000-meter course in 23:25. Fellow senior Colton Tully-Doyle also had his best-ever Pac-10 run, placing 23rd in 23:50. Washington's third, fourth, and fifth runners all crossed together with senior Jake Schmitt, junior Jordan Swarthout, and redshirt freshman Joey Bywater placing 29th through 31st. Top-ranked Stanford justified its top billing with a 28-point victory. The second-ranked Ducks were second with 45, followed by 16th-ranked Arizona State with 88 points and the Huskies with 119. Washington outpaced UCLA (122) and 21st-ranked Washington State (163), California (180) and Arizona (193).