Cross Country Earns Top-4 Finishes at Pac-10 Meet
Nov. 1, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington's 27th-ranked men's cross country team upset two teams ranked among the national top-15 Saturday to take third place at the Pac-10 Championships at Washington State Golf Course in Pullman, in the process posting the team's top finish at the conference meet in nearly a decade.
Top-ranked Stanford won its fourth straight-title with 23 points, led by individual winner Ian Dobson and runner-up Grant Robison, the latter the two-time defending Pac-10 champ. No. 18 Oregon was second with 91 points, just two points better than third-place Washington and well ahead of 14th-ranked Arizona and 15th-ranked Arizona State, which took fourth and fifth, respectively.
Stanford also brought home the team title on the women's side, its seventh in a row. Four Cardinal runners crossed the line among the top-10 finishers, including champion Sara Bei, who beat teammate Alicia Craig to the line by just one tenth of a second to earn her second-consecutive Pac-10 title. The women's results held form, with fourth-ranked Arizona State following the Cardinal in second, 15th-ranked UCLA taking third, and Washington - unranked for the first time all season - in fourth.
'I couldn't be prouder of the way our men ran today,' said head coach head Greg Metcalf, who has sent at least one cross country team to the NCAA Championships in each of his six seasons with the program. 'I guarantee you there are some teams here who didn't think they'd see our guys two points out of second place. The leadership of our four seniors, though, is what made this possible - they have our team totally believing they can do whatever they set their minds to, and that showed in a big way today.'
Senior Eric Garner (Kelso, Wash./Kelso HS), as he has all season, led all Husky men's runners across the line in the 8,000-meter race, taking 10th in 25 minutes, 17 seconds to equal the second-best individual finish by a UW men's runner at the Pac-10 Championships since 1994. Just behind Garner were breakout sophomore Mark Mandi (Everett, Wash./Mariner HS), 15th in 25:30, senior John Russell (Mica, Wash./Freeman HS), 23rd in 25:46, and sophomore Andy Fader (Everett, Wash./Cascade HS). Freshman Carl Moe (Auburn, Wash./Auburn HS) was the team's fifth scoring runner, crossing the line 30th in 26:00.
By comparison, the Huskies placed only two runners in the top-25 last year, and none higher than 19th, while finishing fourth overall.
'These guys have set themselves up for an outstanding postseason,' Metcalf said. 'The important thing now is to stay hungry going into the NCAA Regional meet on Nov. 15.'
One team sure to be hungry at the regional meet will be the Washington women, who will be seeking to qualify for their seventh-consecutive NCAA Championships.
Key to that qualifying effort will be Norwegian Ingvill Makestad (Odda, Norway/Odda Vidaregaende Skole), who exploded onto the Pac-10 scene Saturday with a ninth-place effort in just her second-ever cross country competition, at any level. Norway's reigning 800-meter champion, the junior transfer completed the 6,000-meter course in 22:00, just 48 seconds behind Bei and Craig.
'Prior to two weeks ago, Ingvill had never run a cross country race in her life, so for her to come here today and run ninth at what is really one of the toughest meets in the country has all of us really excited,' Metcalf said of Makestad, who extended a string of 10-consecutive seasons in which the UW women have placed a runner in the top-10 at the Pac-10 meet.
Makestad was followed by three other UW runners also making their Pac-10 Championships debuts, including freshmen Amy Lia (Bothell, Wash./Bothell), 20th in 22:45; Dallon Williams (Turlock, Calif./Turlock), 26th in 23:13, and Brianna McLeod (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), 33rd in 23:30. Junior Lindsey Egerdahl (Auburn, Wash./Auburn) was fifth for the Huskies, placing 35th overall in 23:33.
Washington's cross country squads will attempt to earn automatic qualifying berths for the NCAA Championships when the teams head to Portland, Ore., in two weeks for the NCAA West Regional Meet, on Nov. 15.