Men 10th, Women 16th At NCAA Cross Country Championships
Nov. 23, 2009
Terre Haute, Ind. - A day of great expectations did not go as planned for Stanford at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday morning at the LaVern Gibson Championships Golf Course. The No. 1 and previously undefeated men suffered a rough day and fell to tenth, while the women placed 16th.
Stanford sophomore Chris Derrick placed third overall with a time of 29:14.8 to lead the Cardinal. Derrick earned the fifth All-America honor of his young career, including his second in cross country.
Derrick who had been undefeated on the year ran in a chase pack behind Samuel Chelanga of Liberty for most of the race. Chelanga built a big lead and Derrick could not rally in the same fashion as the Pre-National meet when he came from behind to defeat the collegiate 10,000-meter record holder.
Chelanga took the NCAA title, while David McNeil of Northern Arizona was the runner-up. Derrick, McNeil and Barnabus Kirui of Mississippi made up the chase pack with McNeil having the best kick of the three, but Derrick holding strong for third.
Also earning All-America status for Stanford was Elliott Heath who finished 37th. It is the third career All-America honor for Heath. Heath was in the mix up front through five kilometers before beginning to drop back in the pack; however he remained strong to finish with a time of 30:19.4.
Also running well was Jacob Riley who placed 54th with a time of 30:30.5. After sitting out the regional meet, Riley returned to just miss an All-America honor.
Rounding out the top five for Stanford were Miles Unterreiner in 117th (31:05.3) and Justin Marpole-Bird in 216th (32:23.5). Marpole-Bird was in the midst of a breakthrough season, which included a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional in his first ever 10k.
Oklahoma State took the team title with 127 points, while Oregon was second with 143 and Alabama third with 173. Stanford totaled 354 points to place 10th in a 31 team field.
The women's race was won by Angela Bizzari of Illinois in a bit of a surprise. Heavily favored Jenny Barringer of Colorado faded and then collapsed in the middle of the race, before gathering herself to finish well back in the field.
Kendra Schaaf of Washington earned the runner-up position, while Susan Kuijken of Florida State faded down the stretch to finish third.
For a second consecutive race, the Cardinal women were led by Stephanie Marcy, who just missed All-America honors, placing 53rd with a time of 20:57.4. The redshirt sophomore has come on strong at the end of the year to establish herself as a capable No. 1 runner.
Following Marcy was a pair of freshmen, Kathy Kroeger and Alex Dunne. Kroeger finished 63rd with a time of 21:03.3, while Dunne was 73rd with a time of 21:08.1. Both freshmen look to have bright futures with the Cardinal.
Completing the scoring for Stanford were Kate Niehaus in 140th and Georgia Griffin in 171st. Niehaus completed her decorated cross country career with a time of 21:35.0, while Griffin stopped the clock at 21:50.5.
Also finishing was Madeleine O'Meara in 246th. She covered the 6,000 meters in a time of 23:16.1.
Alexandra Gits started the race, but was unable to finish. Gits had been a late scratch at the NCAA West Regional meet, but tried to give it a go on Monday.
It was a tough conclusion to an otherwise outstanding season for the Cardinal. The bright side for both teams is its youth as all seven men and six of the seven women will be returning in 2010. With title aspirations squashed, the teams can look to the bright future of the programs that will be once again competing for NCAA titles in 2010.