ASU Women's Team, Men's Aguayo Head to NCAA Meet

Nov. 15, 2006

Meet Notes (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - The final races of the 2006 season await members of the Arizona State University cross country program Monday as the Sun Devil women's team and Aaron Aguayo of the men's team will compete in the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind.

In the latest USTFCCCA rankings, released November 13, the Sun Devil women slipped to 11th in the Top 30 poll following its third-place showing at the NCAA West Region Championships. Stanford continues to hold onto the top spot heading into the meet.

The 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships will consist of 31 teams in the women's 6,000m run and the men's 10,000m run with a total of 255 runners (217 runners attached to teams and 38 individual competitors).

Teams finishing in the Top 4 overall will receive a trophy while the Top 25 individuals in the race will attain All-America status.

Last year in Terre Haute, the women's team ran a solid race and finished fourth overall, earning the program's first trophy finish. A Top 4 finish for the Sun Devil women this year would give them two trophy finishes in a row for the cross country team and the fourth in a row for the track & field/cross country program after the track team placed third at the indoor and fourth at the outdoor championship meets one year ago.

Aaron Aguayo will look to collect his second All-America honor in cross country this weekend following his first award when he placed 22nd overall in 2004. If he attains the national honor, Aguayo will join Fasil Bizuneh (1999 & 2001) as the only Sun Devil men to earn multiple All-America honors in a cross country career at Arizona State. On the women's side, each runner will be looking for her first All-America honor in cross country.

With their selection into the NCAA Championships, the Sun Devil women have now advanced to nine-consecutive national meets, the sixth-longest streak in the nation currently, tying them with North Carolina. BYU and Providence lead the way having made the field in 18-consecutive years while Colorado is third (15 years), Stanford is fourth (14 years) and North Carolina State is fifth (12 years) on the list.

Although the women are making their ninth-consecutive appearance, four of the seven runners headed to Terre Haute, Ind., will be competing in their first NCAA Championship race. Those athletes include sophomore Brooke Bennett, redshirt freshmen Ali Kielty and Krystal Duke and true freshman Kari Hardt.

Four Sun Devils headed to Terre Haute this weekend have competed in the national meet at least once in their careers. Both Cassie Rios (2004 & 2005) and Corey Randall (2003 & 2005) have competed in the NCAA Championships twice in their careers while Jenna Kingma (2005) and men's runner Aaron Aguayo (2004) are back for their second race.

Last weekend, the Sun Devils headed to Portland, Ore., and ran in the NCAA West Region Championships held at Blue Lake Park. The women's Top 5 runners each finished in the Top 25 to score 82 points to finish third overall (Stanford won and UC Santa Barbara was second) while the men finished with 290 points and an 11th-place showing as Aaron Aguayo placed second overall despite falling near the end of the race.

At the rain-soaked West Region meet, Aaron Aguayo stayed at the front of the pack the entire race and was in fifth place near the final stretch when he, slipped in the mud, falling to the ground. Aguayo quickly rose to his feet and sprinted back into contention, passing all but the eventual race winner in the last 400m of the race.

By finishing in the Top 25 at the regional meet, five women and one man earned all-region accolades from the USTFCCCA. The honorees included women's runners Jenna Kingma (ninth), Cassie Rios (12th), Brooke Bennett (16th), Ali Kielty (21st) and Kari Hardt (25th) while Aaron Aguayo (second) was the lone male Sun Devil to attain the award.

Making the most of their eighth national appearance in a row, the Sun Devil women scored a school-record low point total of 191 to finish fourth overall and earn the first trophy in program history as Amy Hastings collected her third All-America honor by finishing 13th overall. The men, led by Ryan Warrenburg's 50th-place finish, entered the NCAA meet ranked 21st before capturing a 17th place finish overall in meet. The men, who qualified as an at-large team, were making their first-ever back-to-back appearances in the national meet and just the fourth time ever as a team.

In eight previous trips to the national meet, the women have placed in the Top 5 once, the Top 10 three times, the Top 20 five times and never finished lower than a tie for 23rd. Prior to the team's trophy finish (fourth place) last year, the previous high finish came in 2000 when the Sun Devils scored a then-record low 266 points to finish sixth overall. Five different women have combined to earn eight All-America honors, led by three-time honoree Amy Hastings (2003, 2004 & 2005) and two-time award winner Lisa Aguilera (2000 & 2001).

At the Pac-10 Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., October 28, the Arizona State women finished second with four of its runners earning All-Pac-10 honors while the men took fourth overall with two Sun Devils earning all-conference accolades. The women were led by two first team selections in Cassie Rios (fifth place) and Brooke Bennett (seventh) while Jenna Kingma (10th) and Ali Kielty (13th) each earned second team honors. On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo (fourth place) was a first-team selection while Kyle Alcorn (10th) earned second-team accolades.

Three women and three men made their Sun Devil debuts at the Dave Murray Invitational with all six running well. On the women's side, true freshman Kari Hardt placed third overall and second among Sun Devil runners in her first collegiate race while both Krystal Duke and Ali Kielty competed in their first races after redshirting the 2005 season, finishing eighth and fourth, respectively. True freshmen Mikias Gelagle and Jeff Helmer also competed in their first collegiate races and placed seventh and 15th, respectively, while Kyle Alcorn, who sat out 2005 after transferring into the program from Oregon, placed fourth overall and second on the Sun Devil squad in his first action with ASU.

The 2006 roster features 20 women and 17 men with three women and six men coming to Tempe as true freshmen. For the women, 13 runners return from last year with three of the women coming off a redshirt season while the men return 11 athletes with five entering the season following a redshirt campaign. The women will return six athletes that competed in either the Pac-10, West Region and/or NCAA Championships, including Brooke Bennett, Whitney Lemieux, Jenna Kingma, Corey Randall, Cassie Rios and Angela Spadafino. The men have four runners back that competed in the championship meets including Kal Clark, Eric Dall, Joey Heller and David Mehlhorn. The men also will bring back Aaron Aguayo, who competed in all three meets in 2004, and Kyle Alcorn, who competed for Oregon in 2004.

Last year, Whitney Hardt completed her redshirt freshman season with the Sun Devils and ran in four races, including the Pac-10 Championships. This year, she welcomes her younger sister Kari to the team. The addition of the younger Hardt marks the second time in as many years that siblings have appeared on the ASU roster after JJ Duke and younger sister Krystal Duke were teammates in 2005.

The Sun Devil rosters boast 12 women and seven men hailing from the state of Arizona with another five and three, respectively, calling California home. The two remaining women and four of the remaining seven men call the eastern portion of the United States their home. For the women, the Sun Devils have one runner each from Ohio and Vermont (the most eastern representative on the roster) while the four eastern men hail from Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio.

Each team has selected two captains for the season. The women's captains are Corey Randall and Cassie Rios while the men will be led by Aaron Aguayo and Eric Dall.

Louie Quintana returns for his third season at the helm of the Sun Devil program in 2006 and will look to continue the recent trend of success the Sun Devils have enjoyed under him. The 2006 USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year for Women's Distance Track & Field, Quintana's runners made great strides in 2005 with his women playing a vital role in the program's first 'Triple Crown' as ASU secured trophy finishes (Top 4) at all three NCAA Championships (third at the indoor NCAA meet and fourth at both the NCAA cross country and NCAA outdoor track & field meet). His harriers also struck gold on the track, including national titles for Amy Hastings in the indoor 5,000m run and Victoria Jackson in the outdoor 10,000m event. His women also played a vital role in the success of the Sun Devils at the Pac-10 meet as three individual champions and 71 points scored helped secure the team's first conference team championship crown.

The cross country season has ended. Check back in January for the Sun Devil track & field season.

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