Sun Devil Cross Country Heads to Tucson Friday

Sept. 11, 2007

Full Meet Notes - Dave Murray Invitational (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - Many of the top runners for the Arizona State University cross country team will compete in its first meet of the 2007 season as the Sun Devils head south to Tucson for the Dave Murray Invitational Friday afternoon. The women will open things with a 4,000m race at 5:15 p.m. followed by the men's 6,000m race at 5:45 p.m. on the Dell Urich Golf Course.

The first USTFCCCA national and regional rankings were release Tuesday and Monday, respectively. The Sun Devil women enter the season ranked No. 7 nationally are No. 2 in the West while the men are not ranked in the national poll and stand seventh in the region.

While many of the Sun Devils will compete in their first meet of the 2007 season in Tucson, five men and five women ran at the George Kyte Invitational on September 1 to officially open the season for the team. Many of the top runners on the squad are scheduled to run this weekend as the team is two weeks away from the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis.

The Dave Murray Invitational will be a battle of the Grand Canyon State as men's and women's teams from Arizona State, Arizona, Northern Arizona, Central Arizona and Pima Community College have entered the competition. ASU is the only ranked women's team in the meet while Northern Arizona (No. 20) has the only ranked men's team.

Last year, the Sun Devils sent full squads to the non-team scored event in Tucson and returned home with several top performances. On the women's side, the Sun Devils captured four of the Top 5 places with only a post-collegiate runner finishing ahead of ASU (she won the race) while the Sun Devils also had eight in the Top 10. The Top 4 runners from that race return this year, including Jenna Kingma (second), Kari Hardt (third), Ali Kielty (fourth) and Cassie Bando (fifth). On the men's side, ASU placed two in the Top 4 and six in the Top 10 overall. Returning from last year's race are Kyle Alcorn (fourth), Joey Heller (sixth), Mikias Gelagle (seventh) and Garrett Kelly (ninth), who was running unattached from ASU.

Two weeks ago, five men and five women headed to Flagstaff and competed in the George Kyte Invitational to officially open the season with both the men and women's teams finishing third overall in the team scoring. Ali Kielty led the women by placing 12th overall and was followed by Jocelyn Buras (17th), Chelsea Caloia (25th), Samantha Knobbe (36th) and Lisa Nelson (51st). The men were led by Shane Snyder, who crossed the line in 19th place. He was followed at the finish line by David Gott (21st), David Ryan (25th), Craig Nobles (28th) and Collin Eckelman (30th).

The 2007 Arizona State coaching staff is comprised of Louie Quintana and Ryan Cole. Quintana is back for his fourth season as the head coach of the harriers and will look to continue his efforts of building one of the top distance programs in the Pac-10 Conference and the NCAA. During his time in Tempe, Quintana has led the women to three NCAA appearances which continued the team's nine-year run, the sixth-longest stretch in the nation. Quintana's women, who have placed second in the Pac-10 each of the past three years, earned their first trophy finish in 2005 as the team took fourth at the NCAA Championships. Cole joins the staff as a graduate assistant coach.

Ryan Cole comes to Tempe after graduating from Wisconsin in 2006 and serving as an assistant coach at NCAA Division II Northwood University in Midland, Mich. Cole competed at Wisconsin for three seasons before using his final year of eligibility at Grand Valley State University, an NCAA Division II school in Allendale, Mich., where he was a cross country All-American for the Lakers. Cole replaces former assistant coach Jeremy Rasmussen, who is now the head women's cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at Illinois, and Director of Operations Rhonda Riley, who is now the assistant women's cross country and track & field coach at Vanderbilt.

Overall, 13 women and 15 men return to the program this season. For the women, the team's Top 4 runners from one year ago -- Jenna Kingma, Cassie Bando, Ali Kielty and Kari Hardt -- return, along with several veterans and redshirt freshmen. On the men's side, three of the Top 4 placers from last year -- Kyle Alcorn, Joey Heller and Mikias Gelagle -- return and will be bolstered by a young group of second-year runners.

Four women and five men join the team as true freshmen this fall while the men also have brought on two junior college transfers in Santos Castro and Alonso Contreras. Joining the transfers for the men are rookies Nectaly Barbosa, Dylan Hatcher, Daniel Lovell, Zach Mason and Thomas Petersen while the women's freshmen class includes Dayna Anderson, Camille Olson, Erica Parker and Maureen Stringham.

Team advanced to their ninth-consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships, the sixth-longest active streak in the nation, and placed 13th overall... team finished third at the NCAA West Region Championships and second at the Pac-10 Championships... Top 5 runners at the regional meet were selected to the All-Region squad, including Brooke Bennett, Kari Hardt, Ali Kielty, Jenna Kingma and Cassie Bando... Bando and Bennett earned First Team All-Pac-10 while Kingma and Kielty were selected to the second team... Kielty was the top freshman in the conference meet and earned Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year honors... team placed in the Top 3 in all but one meet (13th at NCAA Championships) with a win a the Canyon West Classic and runner-up honors at the Roy Griak Invitational and conference meet... Kingma was the top ASU finisher in five of the six races she ran, including 60th at the NCAA Championships... Hardt, as a true freshman, placed 88th in the meet... outside of the collegiate season, Hardt placed third overall in the USA Junior Cross Country Championships to earn a berth on the USA World Championship Team (team did not compete in Kenya)... Amy Hastings won the U.S. Club Cross Country Championships for her second career national title (2006 NCAA Indoor 5,000m run)... the team placed seven women on Academic All-Pac-10 teams, including one first-team selection, three second-team selections and three honorable mentions.

Aaron Aguayo advanced to the NCAA Championships where he finished ninth overall to earn All-America honors... Aguayo set the record for highest individual finish for an ASU male at the national championships (surpassing the 11th-place showing by Todd Lewis in 1991) and the second best ever in program history behind Lisa Aguilera's fifth-place showing in 2000... as a team, ASU placed 11th at the NCAA West Region Championships and fourth in the Pac-10 Championships... regionally, Aguayo took runner-up honors to earn All-Region accolades... Aguayo earned First Team All-Pac-10 after placing fourth in the race while Kyle Alcorn was a second team selection (10th place)... Aguayo was the top ASU finisher in all six races he ran and posted Top 10 finishes in five of the races... Mikias Gelagle placed 23rd at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships... five men earned Academic All-Pac-10 selections, including one first-team honoree, two second-team selections and two honorable mentions.

With their selection into the 2006 NCAA Cross Country 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.

Last year, four women and two men earned honors from the Pac-10 Conference, including Ali Kielty, who was selected as the 2007 Pac-10 Women's Newcomer of the Year. Cassie Bando and Brooke Bennett each earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors while Kielty joined Jenna Kingma as second team selections. On the men's side, Aaron Aguayo was a first team selection while Kyle Alcorn was a second team honoree.

One man and five women each garnered NCAA All-West Region honors last year as all six individuals placed among the Top 25 at the regional race in Portland, Ore. Aaron Aguayo, despite a fall in the mud with under 600 meters remaining in the race, charged hard at the finish line to place second overall in the men's race while Cassie Bando, Brooke Bennett, Kari Hardt, Ali Kielty and Jenna Kingma all finished in the Top 25 for the women.

During the 2007 track and field season, the distance corps played a role in helping the Sun Devil women capture all five team titles they competed for. During the indoor season, Amy Hastings won the 3,000m run to help the team to the MPSF Indoor Championship title, the program's first indoor team crown. Three weeks later, Hastings earned All-America honors in both the 3,000m run and 5,000m run at the NCAA Indoor Championships to help the team secure its first national title. Outdoors, the women won the Pac-10 for the second year in a row before claiming titles in the NCAA West Region and the NCAA Championships. Hastings earned All-America honors in the 10,000m run at the outdoor national meet.

The 2007 Sun Devil rosters are comprised of 39 student-athletes with 12 different states represented. Arizona is home to 19 of the runners while California (seven) and Washington (four) each are the only states with multiple residents. The remaining states, with an eastern flavor, include student-athletes from Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Following a week off from competition, the Sun Devils will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., on September 29 to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational where several of the top teams in the nation will be on hand

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