Cross Country Makes History at NCAA West Regional
Nov. 15, 2003
PORTLAND, Ore - Led by outstanding seniors, Washington's 20th-ranked men's cross-country team on Saturday earned its best NCAA West Regional finish since 1994, placing fourth in a 26-team field at Blue Lake Park in Portland. The Husky women were equally impressive, upsetting a pair of top-25 teams to earn a third-place finish, their best since 1999.
With only the top-two teams in each race earning automatic NCAA Championships berths, the Huskies must await Monday's announcement of the 13 provisional berths to the national meet, scheduled for Nov. 24 in Waterloo, Iowa. Provisional bids are awarded based on performances at the regional, as well as at other major meets throughout the season.
Five Huskies earned All-West Region honors for finishing among the top 25 scorers, including 21st-place men's finisher Eric Garner (Kelso, Wash./Kelso), fifth-place women's finisher Ingvill Makestad (Odda, Norway/Odda Vidaragaende Skole), 13th-place women's finisher Lindsey Egerdahl (Auburn, Wash./Auburn), 20th-place women's finisher Amy Lia (Bothell, Wash./Bothell) and 26th-place women's finisher Dallon Williams (Turlock, Calif./Turlock).
'I'm so proud of how our teams ran today,' said seventh-year cross country coach Greg Metcalf. 'Some people thought that since our women have four freshmen in our top-eight we'd be in rebuilding mode this season. These women showed today that we did rebuild -- fast. As for the men, those guys knew exactly what they had to do and did it. Both of these teams deserve to be at the national meet, without a doubt.'
Top-ranked Stanford's men's and women's teams swept the team and individual titles for the third-straight season. The Cardinal men captured their ninth-consecutive men's regional title, placing five runners in the top six for a score of 18. Ian Dobson edged Stanford teammate Ryan Hall for the individual title, covering the 10,000-meter course in 29 minutes, 32 seconds. No. 15 Cal Poly-SLO placed behind the Cardinal with 110 points, followed by 27th-ranked Arizona (132) and Washington (162).
The Stanford women, led by two-time regional champion Alicia Craig in 20:06 for 6,030 meters, finished with 45 points, ahead of No. 15 UCLA (69), Washington (94) and 11th-ranked Arizona State (112).
Garner, the UW's top finisher at every varsity race this season, paced the Huskies again in 31:17, good for 21st. After falling behind early on in the muddy, wet conditions, Garner took surged towards the lead pack, pulling his teammates along with him. Sophomore Mark Mandi (Everett, Wash./Mariner) ran second for the Huskies, placing 32nd in 30:29, while freshman Carl Moe (Auburn, Wash./Auburn-Riverside) -- in his first-ever 10,000-meter competition -- placed 35th, in 30:33.
On the women's side, it was Makestad carrying the torch for the Huskies, as she did in a ninth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago. Knowing it would be difficult to make up ground given the wet course conditions, Washington charged to the front of the pack early and held on for the impressive third-place finish.
Makestad came across the finish line in a near-dead heat with USC's Iryna Vashchuk, a fellow Norweigian against whom Makestad has competed for years. Just as she did in winning the 800 meters at this year's Norwegian national championships, however, Makestad edged Vashchuk at the line, taking fifth to equal the best finish by a UW woman at the regional meet since 1995.
Just behind Makestad was junior captain Egerdahl, whose 13th-place finish, in 20:52, was a seven-spot improvement over her performance at last year's regional. Three freshmen completed the top-five for Washington, including Lia, 20th in 21:01; Williams, 26th in 21:12; and Brianna McLeod (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), 37th in 21:43.
'This may be the most significant day in the last 10 years for this program,' said Metcalf, whose team is celebrating 35 Years of Husky Cross Country. 'These is something these folks can be proud of for a long time.'