Cross Country Team Heads to Arizona for Pac-10 Championships

Oct. 25, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005Pac-10 Championships Meet, Dell Ulrich Golf Course, Tucson, Ariz.9:30 a.m. - Men's 8,000m Championship Race10:30 a.m. - Women's 6,000m Championship Race

THIS WEEK: Championship season kicks off this weekend as the Washington State cross country team travels to Tucson, Ariz., to compete in the Pac-10 Championships hosted by the University of Arizona...the races will take place at the Dell Ulrich Golf Course with the men's 8,000m race at 9:30 a.m. and the women's 6,000m race to follow at 10:30 a.m.

THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: WSU will face nationally-ranked conference teams Stanford (No. 4), Arizona (No. 7) and Washington (No. 24) the men's race...the Cougar women face No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 22 Oregon and No. 26 Washington...teams will be allowed to use 10 runners with five scoring and two used for team scoring displacement...the start and finish line is on the #3 fairway on the south side of the golf course...the course terrain is mostly grass with numerous short hills...the men's and women's team champion receives and award....the top seven in each race will receive all-conference honors and the eighth through 14th place finishers will comprise the second team...for more information visit the University of Arizona website at

WSU MEN: The Cougars will run nine competitors on the men's side...several runners on the men's team make their first appearance at the Pac-10 Championships...redshirt freshman Woody Favinger looks to build upon his already strong season...teammates redshirt sophomore Chris Concha, freshman Drew Polley and redshirt junior Ryan Freimuth should place high for the Cougars as well...senior Justin Ireland, sophomore Chris Williams and freshmen Sam Ahlbeck, Derry Betts and Dan Lucero round out the contingent of WSU men running in Tucson.

OUTLOOK: Head Coach Jason Drake says the goal for his men's team is to compete hard against quality conference teams, to see where they stack up in preparation for next season. 'We basically lost our top four from last year's conference race,' Drake said. 'To be able to have guys step up the way they did last week (Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.) would be great.' Favinger, who has led the men's team in competition so far this season, looks to place in the top 25...Drake says Polley and Freimuth are set to have strong days as well...the team hopes to close the gap between its third through sixth place runners.

WSU WOMEN: The Cougars will run a full ten-woman team...several runners return to the conference championships with experience...WSU is led by redshirt freshman Meghan Leonard, sophomores Haley Paul, Collier Lawrence and Isley Gonzalez, and juniors Kelly Ramirez and Kayle Peterson...freshman Marisa Sandoval and juniors Karen DeMartini, Natalie Smith and Katie Troy will also race for WSU.

OUTLOOK: 'We haven't had a race yet where all five of our women in scoring position have come out and had an excellent day together,' Drake said. 'We know we can place well Saturday if five of our runners are on together.' Coach Drake says Paul has a strong chance of making the all-conference team and her goal is to place in the top ten. 'Aside from Haley, any top 20 finishes would be fantastic,' Drake said. 'We haven't had a woman in the top 20 since 2002.'

LAST YEAR AT PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2004 Pac-10 Championships were held at San Francisco, Calif...both the men's and women's races were won by Stanford in dominating fashion...the Cougar women placed a surprising fifth while the men's team came in seventh...last year's top three WSU women were Haley Paul (24th), Kayle Peterson (27th) and Ana Cabrera (42nd)... Danny Wolf (9th), Mike Heidt (29th) and Alex Grant (31st) led the way for the men's team.

COUGAR HISTORY AT PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: WSU hosted the Pac-10 Championships in 2003...eight Cougar men have won the individual title since 1969...two WSU men have won the Pac-10 race in the last 20 years, Bernard Lagat (1997) and Josephat Kapkory (1992 and 1993)...Danny Wolf placed ninth in the race in 2004...the last Cougar women to place in the top 20 were Everlyne Lagat, who finished fourth in 2001 and Anna Blue, who finished 20th in 2002...Ryan Gilmore placed 11th in 2000...Jennifer Bravard won the Pac-10 Championship in 1989, the only Cougar woman ever to take the title.

NEXT COMPETITION: The Cougars have a week off in preparation for the NCAA West Region Championships Saturday, November 12, at Palo Alto, Calif.

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