Pre-Nationals, Canyon West Await Sun Devil Harriers

Oct. 11, 2005

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Two meets await the Arizona State University cross country program this weekend with one being held on the road and the other in Tempe. Many of the squads' top runners will travel to the Wabash Valley Center in Terre Haute, Ind., for the NCAA Pre-National Meet on Saturday morning while the remaining Sun Devils will return to Kiwanis Park in Tempe for the Canyon West Classic hosted by Mesa Community College.

The women enter the weekend No. 6 and the men No. 27 based upon the national polls released Oct. 4. No polls were released this week.

The women placed third of 36 teams and the men took fourth of 37 squads at the 2004 NCAA Pre-National meet held last year in Terre Haute, Ind. The women, running in the `white' race and recording 187 points, were led by Amy Hastings, who placed third overall. The men scored 179 points in the `blue' race with Aaron Aguayo pacing the Sun Devils with a seventh-place individual showing.

Brooke Bennett won the Arizona State Invitational last week to give the Sun Devil women their fourth individual victory of the season, tying the school record of four set in 1983 when Lynn Nelson captured the Las Vegas Invitational, the Arizona Invitational and duals with New Mexico and Kansas State. So far this season, Bennett has won the Dave Murray Invitational along with the ASU meet while Jenna Wrieden opened the year with a victory at the George Kyte Invitational and Amy Hastings won the Roy Griak Invite.

Not only did Brooke Bennett win her second race of the season by capturing the title at the ASU Invitational Friday afternoon, she also became just the third different Sun Devil woman to record multiple victories in a season. Current teammate Amy Hastings has done so each of the past two seasons while Lynn Nelson was the first with four back in the 1983 campaign.

Back in 1983, Lynn Nelson won four races for the Sun Devils and set the career victories mark for the program at four. Twenty-two years later, Amy Hastings rewrote the record as she captured the Roy Griak Invitational for the fifth win in her remarkable career. Hastings won the 2003 Dave Murray and Arizona State Invitational before capturing the 2004 Dave Murray and the 2004 Pac-10 Championship, the only Sun Devil to have ever captured the league crown.

Four times the Sun Devils have competed in meets this season and in all four meets, an ASU runner has climbed to the top of the podium. In the first meet of the season, Jenna Wrieden captured the George Kyte Invitational (Sept. 3) in Flagstaff and was followed by Brooke Bennett winning the Dave Murray Invitational (Sept. 16) in Tucson. Amy Hastings made it three-for-three with her win at the Roy Griak Invitational before Bennett won her second race, the ASU Invite.

The women captured their fourth title in seven tries at the Roy Griak Invitational, placing the 2005 championship trophy next to crowns won in 2003, 2001 and 1999. ASU also placed second in 2004 and 2002 and third in 2000. Amy Hastings' victory not only gave the Sun Devils at Top 4 finisher in each of the seven meets ASU has participated, it also marked the first victory at the meet for the women. Lisa Aguilera had been the closest to victory as she finished second on three occasions (1999, 2000 and 2001) while Hastings had placed third each of the past two seasons.

The women are not the only Sun Devil runners winning this season as their male counterparts have captured a pair of team crowns in 2005. The Sun Devils, led by David Mehlhorn, won the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff to open the season before Jeremy Cramer paced the men to victory at the ASU Invitational last week.

With their victory at the ASU Invitational over the weekend, coupled with a win at the George Kyte Invitational, the Sun Devil men accomplished what only one other ASU men's team has in cross country history: win two meets in a season. The only other squad to do so was the 1993 team that was victorious at the Grand Canyon Invitational and the UNLV Invitational.

Amy Hastings made history last year at the Pac-10 Championships as she became the first Sun Devil harrier, male and female, to win the conference title as she finished first at the annual meet conducted at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Hastings' victory helped the women to second place in the team standings for the third year in a row. For her efforts, she also was selected as Pac-10 Athlete of the Year.

A pair of runners attained All-America honors last season at the NCAA Championships, held Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. Both Amy Hastings and Aaron Aguayo finished 22nd overall in their respective races to earn the national accolade while pacing their squads to ninth and eighth place team finishes, respectively, at the national meet. Hastings earned her second All-America honor in cross country in as many seasons while Aguayo captured his first.

Louie Quintana returns to the helm of the Sun Devil cross country program for his second season following one of the most successful seasons in program history. Not only did Quintana guide Amy Hastings to the program's first conference title in cross country, he also put together men's and women's teams that placed second in the Pac-10 and second in the NCAA West Region before earning berths into the NCAA Championships. At the national meet, Quintana's men took eighth and the women ninth as each team also produced one All-American each.

Following a weekend off from competition, the Sun Devils will compete in the first meet of the `championship season' as the men and women head to Tucson and Arizona's Del Urich Golf Course for the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Championships on Oct. 29.

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