Stanford Ready For NCAA Cross Country Championships
Nov. 22, 2009
The NCAA Championships
The 2009 NCAA Championships will take place, Monday, Sept. 23, at 9:08 a.m. with the men's race. The women's race will follow at 9:58 a.m. Indiana State will host the meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.
On the Air
The NCAA Championships will be broadcast live on Versus, beginning at 9:00 a.m. It is the first time that the meet will be covered live on national television. In addition to the Versus coverage a live webcast will be available on ncaa.com. Tune in to see if the Cardinal men can capture the NCAA title and watch the Stanford women who are also podium contenders.
The No. 1 Stanford men enter the national meet undefeated and looking to notch its fifth national title in program history. The Cardinal have been dominant in every meet so far this season and now will face its toughest test at the NCAA's.
The men are led by sophomore Chris Derrick who individually is also undefeated this season. Included in his victories are an impressive come from behind win over Samuel Chelanga of Liberty who owns the NCAA record for 10,000 meters on the track and a trumph at the Pac-10 Championships when Derrick set the conference record for 8,000 meters.
Joining Derrick up front has been Elliott Heath who was the West Regional runner-up and third at both the Pac-10 Championships and Pre-Nationals. Heath would be a legitimate No.1 on almost any other team, but instead joins Derrick as perhaps the nation's best duo.
2009 has been a breakthrough year for Justin-Marpole Bird who has posted top-10's in every meet this year. His third place finish at the NCAA West Regional completed the 1-2-3 sweep for the Cardinal. Marpole-Bird and Jacob Riley have traded off as the 3/4 runners for Stanford this season. Riley who was rested at the regional meet should be ready to go and is experienced at 10,000 meters where he was an All-American in track.
Completing the Stanford squad are Brendan Gregg, Miles Unterreiner and Benjamin Johnson. All three are capable of being scoring runners as each has been at some point this year. Gregg has experience at the NCAA Championships, while Unterreiner and Johnson are both redshirt freshmen.
The Cardinal are expected to be tested by No.2 Oklahoma State, who they have yet to face this season. In addition, Alabama, Colorado, Northern Arizona and others have strong teams capable of knocking off Stanford. Individually, Chelanga is expected to be the toughest test for Derrick. The Liberty senior was the NCAA runner-up last year after dueling with Oregon's Galen Rupp until the final straightaway and will be looking to avenge his earlier loss to the Stanford star.
The Stanford women enter the national meet ranked No. 10 in the nation, but have shown potential to rank much higher when fully healthy as they are expected to be on Monday.
The Cardinal women are without a true No. 1 runner with as many as five ladies capable of leading the team. Kate Niehaus, Alexandra Gits, Stephanie Marcy, Kathy Kroeger and Alex Dunne all could be Stanford's top runner at the NCAA meet.
Niehaus and Gits are Stanford's most experience runners, having been part of the Cardinal NCAA title teams of the past. Niehaus was a member of both the 2006 and 2007 teams, while Gits was the fifth runner in 2007. Both have battled injury at times this year, but when healthy shown the ability to run at an All-America level.
Stephanie Marcy finished as the Cards top runner at the NCAA Regional meet with a ninth place finish. The redshirt sophomore has been Stanford's most consistent runner over the last two years and also should be in All-America contention.
A pair of freshmen complete Stanford's projected top five. Kroeger was Stanford's top runner at the Stanford Invitational early in the year and returned from injury at the Regional meet to earn All-Region honors. Dunne was also an All-Region runner as well as being a top finisher the last time Stanford ran in Terre Haute at Pre-Nationals.
Because of the injuries this season both Georgia Griffin and Madeleine O'Meara have been scoring runners for most of the year. Each has championship experience and is capable of running inside the top five and helping Stanford to a low score.
No. 1 Washington enters the meet as the favorite after winning both the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA West Regional. The Huskies are the defending NCAA Champions and return almost its same team from a year ago. Individually, Jenny Barringer of Colorado is the favorite after her dominating performance at Pre-Nationals.
Last Year At The NCAA's
In 2008, the Stanford men returned to the podium with a third-place finish. Chris Derrick led the men with a seventh-place individual finish to comlete his brilliant freshman season. Garrett Heath completed his career with a 33rd-place finish to earn his first All-America honor in cross country of his career. The Cardinal trailed Oregon and Iona for the title. The Stanford women placed eighth led by Katie Harrington who placed 57th. Washington won the NCAA title with just 79 points, while the Cardinal had 299.
Stanford Men Win The Pac-10 Title
The No. 1 Stanford men continued their dominance this season by taking the Pac-10 championship in convincing fashion. The Cardinal captured the 12th conference championship in team history. Stanford scored 28 points, to unseat Oregon as the Pac-10 Champion. The Ducks finished second with 45 points, a year after winning both the Pac-10 and NCAA titles. Stanford was led by Chris Derrick who captured the individual title in record time. The Stanford sophomore covered the 8,000-meter course in a time of 22:35.41 to break the record of 2008 U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp of Oregon by nearly 20 seconds. Elliott Heath, Jacob Riley and Justin Marpole-Bird each had top-10 finishes as well.
Stanford Women Place Fourth At Pac-10's
The Stanford women finished fourth in the conference, just one point behind third-place Arizona State. The Cardinal were running without two of their top runners, Kathy Kroeger and Kate Niehaus. In addition, freshman Alex Dunne could not finish the race after pulling up just 500 yards short of the finish. No. 1 Washington won their second consecutive conference title with 35 points, while the Oregon had 42. The Sun Devils finished third with 110, just one point ahead of Stanford with 111. Alex Gits led Stanford with her 10th-place finish, while Stephanie Marcy placed 11th and Madeleine O'Meara placed 18th.
Stanford Men Win Pre-Nats
The Stanford men showed they will be a team to be reckoned with in 2009 after dominating the ISU Pre-National White Race from Terre Haute, Ind. Stanford scored just 47 points to easily defeat second place Colorado who had 130. Chris Derrick led the Cardinal with the individual title, while Elliott Heath placed third. Derrick had the fastest time of the day and established himself as a contender for the individual NCAA title. Justion Marpole-Bird also had a breakthrough race, finishing 10th overall. The Cardinal had the fastest team time of the day when factoring in the Blue Race as well.
Women Fifth At Pre-Nats
The Stanford women also ran well at Pre-Nationals, placing fifth in the Blue Race. The Cardinal women had a trio of finishers right next to each other with Alexandra Gits, Stephanie Marcy and Alex Dunne finishing 15-17th. Stanford finished with 206 points in a race won by Colorado with 94.
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.
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 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.