UW Men 27th at NCAAs; Freshman Campbell 94th
Nov. 21, 2005
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Washington's 25th-ranked men's cross country team made just its second NCAA Championships appearance since 1993 Monday, placing 27th in a field of 31 teams at the national meet in Terre Haute, Ind. Freshman Anita Campbell, meanwhile, was the lone representative for the UW women, placing 94th.
Riding high after a tie for fourth with Portland at the Nov. 12 NCAA West Regional, Washington struggled at the NCAAs, failing to put a runner across the line for more than 90 seconds after Wisconsin's Simon Bairu broke the tape in 29 minutes, 16 seconds to capture his second-consecutive NCAA title.
When a Husky did finally come across the line, it was sophomore Jeremy Mineau and not senior Mark Mandi, who had led the Huskies at each of their previous four meets this season. The two were separated at the finish by just five seconds, but saw 12 runners pack in between Mineau's 68th-place time of 30:56, and Mandi's 81st-place time of 31:01. Junior Travis Boyd, 118th in 31:26, was UW's third finisher, while junior Mike Sayenko (141st, 31:41) and senior Andy Fader (148th, 31:44) rounded out the top-five.
'We just came out a little tentative today, and didn't attack the course,' ninth-year head coach Greg Metcalf said. 'By the time our guys looked up, they were way back in the pack, and found themselves having to turn it on at the end just to catch up. It's too bad, because we came into this meet with some pretty big goals. We honestly felt that we could come in here and be a top-15 team, and I think that when you look at where the teams we've matched up with all season finished, there's no reason to believe we couldn't have done that,'
Led by Bairu's victory, top-ranked Wisconsin routed the men's field, placing six runners into the top-15 for a team score of just 37 points, easily outdistancing the 105 points of second-place Arkansas. Twenty-fourth ranked Portland -- which split two head-to-head matchups with Washington before tying the Huskies at the Regional -- ran ninth, while No. 21 Arizona State, a team UW beat at the Regional meet two weeks ago, was 17th.
Metcalf hopes that with five of its top-seven runners returning next fall,Washington can model itself after Oklahoma State, which placed eighth Monday after a disappointing 30th-place finish a year ago.
'If there's a positive about this race, it's that we had a lot of young guys get some big-meet experience,' Metcalf said. 'Hopefully, they'll hang onto the feeling they have right now and turn it into a motivational point through the spring and summer.'
Freshman Campbell, meanwhile, was outstanding in her NCAA Championships debut. The British Columbia native's 94th-place finish was the best at the NCAA meet by a Husky freshman since 2001, while her time of 21:06 was a 37-second improvement over her time on the same course at last month's Pre-National Meet. Campbell was the 13th-highest-finishing freshman in the 2005 NCAA Championships field, while her 94th-place effort was 23rd among athletes competing as individuals.
Washington's women's team failed to earn an NCAA Championships berth despite a top-25 national ranking and a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, snapping the team's eight-year streak of NCAA Championships appearances.
'Anita ran a great race,' Metcalf said. 'It's tough being out there by yourself, but she did a great job of focusing and being aware of the ladies around her. Hopefully, she'll have some teammates to help her out next year.'
For complete results from Monday's NCAA Cross Country Championships, visit www.ncaasports.com.
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