XC’s Shelby Houlihan Wins NCAA West Regional Title
STANFORD, Calif.—Arizona State cross country’s senior Shelby Houlihan won the 2014 NCAA West Regional 6k on Friday at the Stanford Golf Course, becoming ASU’s second-ever winner of the event.
The senior held off Boise State’s Emma Bates, and her Pac-12 foes Elise Cranny from Stanford and California’s Bethan Knights to win the race in 19:31.6.
Houlihan will now try to become ASU’s first NCAA Cross Country Champion, competing at the meet on Saturday, Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. Redshirt junior Ryan Herson, who finished eighth in the men’s 10k race, will join her, becoming ASU’s first male competitor at the national meet since 2010.
“Shelby ran a great, solid race today, facing some of the toughest competition in the country, and she’s in a very good place to do well next week,” head coach Louie Quintana said. “And Ryan is our first qualifier from the men’s team since 2010. It’s a great story, with him starting off walking on to the team and now qualifying out of the toughest conference and region in the country. We’re really hoping he can become an All-American next week. It’s very special for both of them.”
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Houlihan joins Lisa Aguilera, recent inductee into the ASU Hall of Fame, who won the race in 2000. The win marks Houlihan’s third of the season, starting when she defended her title at the Roy Griak Invite (Sept. 27), and followed by the Pac-12 Championships (Oct. 31).
She is the first Sun Devil to win three races in one season since Pac-10 All-Conference honoree Lynn Nelson won four during the 1983 season.
Joining Houlihan with All-Region honors is junior Adriana Olivas, who finished in 20th in 20:48.3.
As a team the No. 24 Sun Devil women finished in eighth with 215 points.
Freshman Kirsten Olling finished in third for ASU and 46th overall at 21:18.9, while junior Cristina Juan Torres finished in 61st at 21:32.2, and the final point scorer was sophomore Jenna Maack in 87th at 21:57.2.
“On the women’s side, it almost feels like we ran out of magic,” Quintana said. “We had so many returners, but they weren’t the ones running for us today. The group that stepped up ran so well this year, but they ran out of steam at the end. We got pinched at the start and had a lot of ground to make up, but we ran out of time. Everyone worked hard, and Adriana earning All-Region honors bodes well for her return next season. And of course, Shelby was phenomenal.”
In the men’s race, Herson and redshirt sophomore CJ Albertson each earned All-Region honors as they finished in eighth and 25th, respectively, with times of 29:46.4 and 30:03.4.
“The guys ran out of their minds,” Quintana said. “We finished just 16 points behind Washington, and finishing with just 155 points is extremely low for us at a regional meet. We easily ran one of our best races in years today, and it was really an inspired effort. Ryan (Herson) and CJ (Albertson) earned All-Region honors, and Bernie (Montoya) was three seconds away from finishing in the top-25 as well. Ryan Norton and Daniel Wong also ran the best race of their lives today. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s performance.”
As a team, ASU finished in sixth with 155 points, with scores from sophomore Bernie Montoya finishing in 30th at 30:08.7, redshirt junior Ryan Norton in 41st at 30:18.3, and redshirt junior Daniel Wong in 51st at 30:28.5.
“We’re disappointed that we missed qualifying for the national meet, but the future is very bright for the men’s team,” Quintana added. “We’re going to get better, we’ll have a lot of very strong runners who redshirted this year, and when we get them, we’re going to be very, very talented.”
8. Arizona State—215 points
Women’s 6k Individual
1. Shelby Houlihan—19:31.6 (WEST REGION CHAMPION)
20. Adriana Olivas—20:48.3—All West-Region Honoree
46. Kirsten Olling—21:18.9
61. Cristina Juan Torres—21:32.2
87. Jenna Maack—21:57.2
94. Anna Long—22:03.3
133. Payton Schutte—22:36.7
6. Arizona State—155 points
8. Ryan Herson—29:46.4* NCAA QUALIFIER
25. CJ Albertson—30:03.4—All West Region Honoree
30. Bernie Montoya—30:08.7
41. Ryan Norton—30:18.3
51. Daniel Wong—30:28.5
82. Jeff Bickert—31:07.9
83. Cody Brazeal—31:09.3