Men's Cross Country placed 23rd at NCAA Championships
Nov. 20, 2006
The UCLA men's cross country team finished 23rd out of 31 teams (546 points) at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, IN on Monday. The Bruins were led by junior Kyle Shackleton with his 36th-place finish.
The Bruins were competing at the National Meet for the first time in 21 years and performed well, finishing ahead of several teams who had been ranked higher then the Bruins (No. 30) heading into the National Championships including No. 10 Florida State, No. 13 Georgetown, No. 15 Alabama, No. 19 Butler, No. 27 American, No. 24 Iowa and No. 28 UC Santa Barbara.
'I do feel that in some ways, in each of the races we've competed in this season, that we've exceeded expectations, and that's a tribute to how much improvement our team has realized from the beginning of this season until now,' said Cross Country Coach Eric Peterson. 'As a team, we did not run as strong today as we did at the regional meet, but we did have four performances in particular in Kyle, Drew, Marlon and Henry (Hagenbuch) as ones that were outstanding.'
Shackleton had been the Bruins' No. 1 runner all season, and continued that tradition on Monday, finishing 36th in a time of 32:05, and just missed All-American honors by a few places.
'(Not earning All-American honors) takes nothing away from the kind of season he's had and his performance today,' added Peterson. Kyle's had a great season and led this team incredibly well throughout the season. He really stepped up to take on that role with Austin Ramos redshirting.'
Shackleton on his race
'It was a thrill to run at NCAA's,' said Shackleton. 'The course was really nasty, very different then Portland. At Portland, the whole course was muddy, but the NCAA course had certain stretches where it was ridiculuosly muddy and then dry. The pace was really tough, slow and fast. Competition wise, I was surprised that it wasn't as tight as it was. A lot of guys were strung out so I would pass one guy at a time instead of bunches of guys, so it wasn't as difficult as I expected to be.
Shackleton on making history with this young team
'I'm really proud to be a part of this team and the history we made this season. It was disappointing win I was a freshman and we didn't qualify for Nationals because we had a team that was a top-15 team and never was able to put it together. I put a lot of weight on my shoulders for us not qualifying as the No. 6 runner that season. It's great to lead the group, and exciting to be one of the first of what I expect will be several teams to qualify for the National Meet. We will look back and really be proud of what we accomplished this season for UCLA.'
Twin brother Drew Shackleton finished 59th as UCLA's No. 2 runner in a time of 32:27. Freshman Marlon Patterson had a strong run to move into the No. 3 spot for UCLA, finishing 116th in a time of 33:04. Sophomore Laef Barnes (164th, 33:46) and junior Mike Haddan (171st, 33:50) rounded out the top-five finishers for UCLA.
'We met before the race and talked about the need of avoiding big scoring numbers, and unfortunately with Laef (Barnes) and Mike (Haddan) finishing lower then we figured, that hurt the team finish,' added Peterson. 'But true to form, we did adjust for that and still kind of held our ground. We knew we had beaten seven or eight teams we were supposed to, and it was great to beat some teams that were higher ranked heading into today's meet. It's been a really good learning experience because we have the opportunity to learn something valuable about our program and where we are on the national level. We still need to improve to put this team among the top-10 in the nation, but I believe we are capable of doing that, and next year we expect to be there.
'Mud is a great neutralizer in this sport, and it was extremely hard to get our guys out more aggressively and I feel that Kyle and Drew handled that really well today. Marlon's perforamnce was particulary impressive given the way he ran because early on at the mile mark, he was around 215th-place and moved up to 151st in the end.
'I also believe that this was Drew's finest race of his career,' noted Peterson. 'He has consistently been placing around the same guys this season, and more times then not, beating them in the end. He beat 16 of the other No. 2 runners in the field from the other teams and had a great competitive effort.''
'It's great to hear the guys talk because they're all pretty optimistic about the future and this is just step one for this year. Now it's time to transition to indoor track, while some will continue to train for the U.S.A. Championships in February. It's been a good season and we finished today with respectability for our program.'
Team Results (top-5 of 31 teams)
1. Colorado, 94 points; 2. Wisconsin, 142 points; 3. Iona, 172 points; 4. Stanford, 195 points; 5. Oregon, 196 points.
Individual Results (top-5 of 250 runners)
1. Josh Rohatinsky, BYU (30:44.9); 2. Neftalem Araia, Stanford (30:52.6); 3. Jess Baumgartner, Southern Utah (30:53.2); 4. Lopez Lomong, Northern Arizona (30:59.8); 5. Martin Fagan, Providence (31:01.0).
UCLA Individual Results
36. Kyle Shackleton (32:04.5); 59. Drew Shackleton (32:26.5); 116. Marlon Patterson (33:03.8); 164. Laef Barnes (33:45.3); 171. Mike Haddan (33:49.8); 180. Henry Hagenbuch (33:49.8); 197. Jake Matthews (34:30.6).