Cal's Duffy Earns All-America Honors at NCAA Championships

Nov. 24, 2003

WATERLOO, Iowa - California sophomore Bridget Duffy finished 42nd at the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships to become the Golden Bears' first cross country All-American since Elissa Riedy earned the distinction in 1998.

Duffy is the eighth Cal woman to earn All-America honors (10 total citations) at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Kirsten O'Hara was a three-time cross country All-American in 1985, 1987 and 1988.

'I'm pretty excited to be selected an All-American,' said the Oakland, Calif, product. 'I ran a good solid race, not spectacular, but I'm happy with the results. I had no idea how well I could do. I just wanted to see what it was like to compete against national level competition. I was a little out of my comfort zone.'

Duffy, who had to endure temperatures in the 20s and heavy winds, clocked a time of 20:49 in the 6000m race at the Northern Iowa University-hosted event at Irv Warren Golf Course. She was forced to compete in long sleeves and tights due to the inclement weather. Duffy made her move on the hills at about the mile mark and over the last 400 meters kicked by some runners. She also successfully negotiated a pile up at about 700 meters. Her 5000m split time of 17:30 was a PR.

'That's unbelievable,' Cal head coach Tony Sandoval said of Duffy's performance. 'We figured mid 70s or maybe 50s or 60s and that she had an outside hope of being an All-American. She did a great job.'

North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan won the race in a time of 19:30.4, ahead of Providence's Kim Smith (19:42.7) and Stanford's Sara Bei (19:49.1). Stanford claimed the women's team trophy with 120 points, followed by BYU at 128 and Providence at 222. Stanford also easily won the men's team title with 24 points, and Wisconsin was second at 174.

Duffy, Sandoval and volunteer assistant coach Magdalena Lewy decided to drive 300 miles from Chicago to Waterloo on Saturday after their plane was cancelled due to heavy rains in Chicago. Sandoval didn't feel waiting for a flight on Sunday would be a smart move.

'We were fortunate to be able to run the course on Sunday,' said Sandoval, whose team competed on the same course at the Pre-NCAAs meet Oct. 18. 'It was tougher for her than the last time because she was all by herself. But, everything was familiar to her. We did a race plan and visualization. She executed it well.'

Duffy finished eighth at the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 15 to qualify for her first national championship.

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