Sophomore Leads UW to Third at Pac-10 Championships

Oct. 30, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Washington sophomore Dallon Williams' seventh-place finish Saturday at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships lifted the Husky women to third place overall and extended to 16 the team's streak of consecutive top-five conference finishes. The race, held at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, marks the 10th time in those 16 years the Huskies have finished third or higher, and the 11th-straight year the Husky women have claimed a top-10 Pac-10 finisher.

Washington's 34th-ranked men's squad also put in a good performance, placing fourth overall with 116 points . Stanford swept the team titles for the eighth time in the last nine years, with the top-ranked Cardinal women scoring 30 points to earn their ninth-consecutive conference crown, and the No. 2 Stanford men winning for the fifth-straight year, with a 37-point total. Arizona State was second on both sides, with 47 points for the women and 64 for the men, with the Oregon men (105) and UW women (100) rounded out the top-three.

'Dallon ran a great race today, from start to finish,' said eighth-year head coach Greg Metcalf of Williams, who is the eighth different runner to lead UW at the Pac-10 meet in the last eight years. 'These ladies always bring their best to the Pac-10 meet.'

A sophomore from Turlock, Calif., Williams covered the 6,000-meter course in a personal-best 21 minutes, 10 seconds, close behind the winning time of Arizona State junior Amy Hastings, who finished in 20:19. Williams was followed in the standings by four Husky seniors, including Lindsey Egerdahl, 16th in 21:33, and Angela Wishaar, 19th in 21:41. Co-captain Laura Halverson (29th in 21:58) and fifth-year senior Meghan Lawrence (32nd in 22:04), who joined the team as a walk-on just seven weeks ago, rounded out the Huskies' top-five.

Williams set the bar high in the morning's women's race, but Everett, Wash., junior Mark Mandi raised it higher in the men's race that followed, his sixth-place finish equaling the fifth-best individual Pac-10 Championships effort in Washington's 29-year history in the conference. Four Huskies have earned matching fourth-place finishes at the Pac-10 meet, most recently Jason Fayant in 2001.

Mandi, who has led Washington in every race he has entered since guiding the UW to a 21st-place finish at last year's NCAA Championships, tore through the 8,000-meter course in just 24:34, just three seconds behind fifth-place finisher Jon Rankin of UCLA. Arizona's Robert Cheseret, the reigning NCAA champion at 5,000 meters, broke Stanford's streak of four-straight individual men's titles by less than a second, outleaning Cardinal senior Ryan Hall at the line for the win. Both finished with matching times of 23:48, with ASU's Aaron Aguayo a distant third in 24:12.

'Mark was fantastic today, as he has been all season,' Metcalf said. 'We know we can count on him to be at the front of the pack for us in every race.'

Running with Mandi for much of the race was sophomore Travis Boyd, whose 15th-place finish, in 24:51, was a 50-spot improvement over his effort at the same meet a year ago. Freshman Jeremy Mineau, a Menlo Park, Calif., native, ran well in his return to the Bay Area, placing 27th in 25:16, while sophomore Jon Hickey (35th in 25:35) and junior Andy Fader (36th in 25:36) came across the line together to cap the Huskies' scoring.

'All things considered, both our teams ran well today,' Metcalf said after the race. 'I'm sure both teams believe they are capable of finisher higher in the standings, but that should only make them hungrier for big runs at the NCAA Regional in two weeks. Neither of our teams have peaked yet, but when they do, look out.'

Washington will indeed return to the course two weeks from Saturday, on Nov. 13, for the NCAA West Regional Championships in Fresno, Calif. The top-three finishing teams at each of six regionals nationwide are guaranteed spots in the 31-team fields at the Nov. 22 NCAA Championships. The remaining 13 will be selected at-large on Sunday, Nov. 14, based on performances at major competitions during the season.