Arizona State Harriers Open 2004 Season in Tucson

Sept. 7, 2004

Weekly Notes in PDF Format

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State cross country teams open the 2004 season at the Dave Murray Invitational Friday afternoon in Tucson. The women will open the event with a 4.3K race at 5:30 p.m. while the men close the meet with a 6.3K circuit starting at 6:00 p.m. The meet will be held on the Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson.

A year ago, the Sun Devils opened the season at the Dave Murray Invitational, an individual competition with no team scores recorded, and turned in several strong performances. Amy Hastings won the women's race with all 10 women placing in the Top 15, including first through fifth. For the men, Aaron Aguayo led the team with his second-place finish as the men finished second, third, fourth and fifth.

The women open the season ranked 19th in the nation while the men's poll has not been released yet.

NEW FOR 2004
For the past eight years, the Sun Devil cross country program has become one of the top teams out west and a perennial member of the national Top 30 under the guidance of Walt Drenth. This year, a new era begins as Louie Quintana takes the reigns of the program following Drenth leaving for Michigan State.

Quintana has been a part of the program for the past two years in an assistant capacity and will look to lead the harriers to continued success.

Along with the addition of Quintana, former Sun Devil standout Jeremy Rasmussen returns to the program as its graduate assistant coach following a year of serving as a volunteer coach.

As with the start of any new season, many new names have been added to the rosters with seven men and seven women joining the Sun Devils for their first cross country seasons this year. For the women, the seven student-athletes include four freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and one graduate student. The men welcome four freshmen, one sophomore and two juniors to the team.

Of the 14 new additions to the program this season, two women and three men enter the campaign after transferring into the university. For the women, Rachel Ellison comes to Tempe after two seasons at Mississippi while Victoria Jackson comes to the squad after competing for North Carolina. Jackson, however, is not your traditional transfer student as she attained her degree from UNC and is enrolled in graduate studies at ASU this year.

Although he competed on the track for the Sun Devils last season, this will be the first cross country season for Casey Burchill after transferring in from Colorado a year ago. He is joined by Eric Dall, a Valley native, who comes in with two years of experience at Nebraska. Also, Velibor Radojevic comes to Tempe following a year at Northern Iowa.

The women return two, two-time All-Americans this year in Amy Hastings and Desiree Davila. Both earned the national distinction in cross country a year ago with Davila grabbing the accolade in the 5,000m run on the outdoor track in 2003 and Hastings adding the indoor honor for the 5,000m in 2004.

Last year, Amy Hastings not only became the first Sun Devil woman to win a race since the 2000 season, she also became just the third Arizona State harrier to win multiple races in a season after capturing the Dave Murray and ASU Invitationals. With two more wins in her career, Hastings would tie the school record for individual wins at four set by Lynn Nelson, a winner of four races in the 1983 season. Her total also is the individual season mark.

During the past outdoor track and field season, the Sun Devil distance runners again showed their dominance in the 3,000m steeplechase event at the Pac-10 Championships, this year sweeping the two races. On the women's side, Amy Hastings captured her first conference crown and extended the ASU winning streak as a Sun Devil woman has won the event each of the four years the conference has contested the race. Kelly MacDonald won the inaugural race in 2001 with Lisa Aguilera winning in 2002 and 2003.

On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo not only became the first Sun Devil to win the race since current graduate assistant Jeremy Rasmussen took the event in 2000, he also became the first ASU runner to win the regional race in the same event and earned a berth into the national meet.

The women advanced to their sixth NCAA Championship meet in as many years, finishing 14th overall and edging intrastate rival Northern Arizona. Amy Hastings (25th) and Desiree Davila (44th) led the charge for the women and earned All-American honors for their performances. Prior to nationals, ASU finished fourth in the region following their second runner-up finish in the conference meet. Hastings again led the charge as she finished fourth in the Pac-10 meet and second in the regional.

The men will look to break a two-year drought of not being in the field of the NCAA Championship race after finishing eighth in the region in 2003 and fifth in the conference. Aaron Aguayo and Juan Reyes return to lead the team after finishing as the top Sun Devil in three and two races, respectively.

The Sun Devils will take a two-week break before returning to competition when both the men and women's squads head to the Roy Griak Invitational, Sept. 25, in Minneapolis, Minn. The women will look to defend the title they won a year ago while the men aim to improve upon their fifth-place finish in 2003.

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