Roy Griak Invite Awaits Sun Devil Cross Country

Sept. 21, 2004

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TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State men's and women's cross country teams return to competition this weekend as the harriers travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 19th annual Roy Griak Invitational on the Les Bolstad Golf Course Saturday. The men will lead things off with a noon start for their 8K race while the women are slated to compete in the 6K race at 1 p.m.

IN THE FIELD - The women are one of 32 teams slated to run and also are one of nine Top 30 teams according to the Sept. 20 poll. The 22nd-ranked Sun Devils have five teams in the race ranked ahead of them, including No. 2 Providence, No. 8 Princeton, No. 13 Columbia, No. 16 Arkansas and No. 21 Penn State.

On the men's side, the 30th ranked Sun Devils have nine ranked foes in the meet, including No. 1 Wisconsin and conference foes No. 17 Arizona and No. 21 Oregon.

LOOKING BACK: 2003 ROY GRIAK INVITE - The women won their third Griak title (1997, 2001) as the Sun Devils, ranked 20th at the time, totalled 103 points to finish ahead of six other ranked foes, including No. 5 Providence and No. 6 Wake Forest. Amy Hastings led the charge as she finished third overall and Anna Masinelli took seventh.

On the men's side, ASU entered unranked and finished fifth overall with six teams in the national rankings coming in after the Sun Devils. Juan Reyes was the ASU pacesetter as he finished 16th overall while Aaron Aguayo took 22nd.

CASTING BALLOTS - The weekly national Top 30 rankings were released Monday with both Sun Devil squads earning a position in the polls. The women slipped to No. 22 after opening the season at No. 19 in the preseason rankings while men find themselves at No. 30 in the preseason rankings. The ranking for the women marks the 45th release in a row that the Sun Devils have held a spot in the Top 30, dating back to Oct. 12, 1998, when they were 15th.

GREAT START - Both the men and women opened the season two weeks ago in Tucson at the Dave Murray Invitational with both squads posting strong results. On the women's side, Amy Hastings led the way with her third individual race win in the past two seasons as the Sun Devils placed runners in the Top 6 and occupied 11 of the Top 16 finishes.

On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo paced the men with his third-place finish while newcomer Velibor Radojevic finished sixth in his first race with ASU. Overall, the Sun Devils' Top 5 runners finished in the Top 13.

HASTING LOOKS TO ADD - 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. Following her win at the Dave Murray Invite this year, she is needs one more in her career to 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.

HELLO, MY NAME IS ... - 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.

MAKING THE MOVE - 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.

ALL-AMERICAN PERFORMERS - 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.

STEEPLECHASE U. - 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.

TOEING THE STARTING LINE - Following a weekend off from competition, the Sun Devil harriers return to action with their only home meet of the year, the Arizona State Invitational. The meet is slated for Friday, Oct. 8, and will be held at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. The women lead off the day with a 5K run at 4:45 p.m. with the men taking the course at 5:15 p.m. for an 8K race.

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