No. 1 Huskies Blitz Top-10 Teams In Pre-National Win
Oct. 18, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - A phenomenal team effort carried the No. 1 Washington women's cross country team to a dominating win at the Pre-National Meet this morning, as the Huskies placed four runners in the Top-10 despite taking on 11 ranked teams. This was the first major challenge for the Huskies and they could hardly have done more to confirm their current ranking as the top team in the nation.
The Pre-National race is the final regular season event for most teams, and always attracts an elite field as it is held on the same LaVern Gibson Championship Course that hosts the NCAA Championships just over a month from now. Washington was one of four Top-10 teams in the current USTFCCCA rankings competing in the Blue Race.
The top-seeded Huskies accumulated a scant 36 points, with second-place Villanova well back with 126 points. Minnesota, ranked fourth in the nation, was third with 198, followed by 9th-ranked Michigan State in fourth with 215, and No. 15 Florida in fifth with 233. For some perspective, one year ago the Stanford women won Pre-Nationals with 102 points on their way to a third-straight NCAA title.
The Huskies placed all five of their scoring runners in the top-20, where many teams would be happy to have one finisher. A trio of Huskies finished together in third, fourth, and fifth places, led by freshman Kendra Schaaf who covered the 6,000-meter course in 20-minutes and 15 seconds. Fellow freshman Christine Babcock was just a split second behind in fourth place, and sophomore Mel Lawrence took fifth in 20:18.
'In talking to our women they honestly thought we could have seven in the top-25,' said head coach Greg Metcalf. 'We just were very aggressive and at 3K we had five in the top-10 and it just shaped up to be an outstanding day. We just did what we've done every other weekend. Ultimately did I think we would score 36 points? No. But this group is capable of excellence and showed it again today. You know you're going to have great team success when five women are thinking about winning a race.'
Washington's two returning All-Americans were the fourth and fifth finishers on the squad. Junior Katie Follett placed 8th in 20:20, and senior Anita Campbell was 16th overall in 20:38. Not to be overlooked was sophomore Lauren Saylor who had a great day coming in 27th in 20:57, and sophomore Kailey Campbell who was 51st in 21:18.
Christine did a phenomenal job. She took a shot and had a lead but felnagle kind of stalked her. But for their first run over national course, that was one of the most exciting things today
There is more in the tank for sure, lots more,' said Metcalf on the team going forward. 'Katie had her best race of the year today but is still getting into shape and needs more time. Anita ran faster today than she did last year (in a 12th-place finish). Christine and Kendra, to run so well in their first time over the national course, that was one of the most exciting parts of the day. Christine did a phenomenal job, and Kendra took a shot at one point and had a ten meter lead, but it was great experience.'
In the men's White Race, Washington's group took 11th out of 40 teams, and just missed upsetting two of the highest ranked teams in the country. Two spots ahead of the Huskies was Colorado, the No. 3 team in the country, which finished with 235 points to UW's 306. 11th-ranked Iowa State was 10th, with 249. Washington did outperform one ranked opponent, No. 30 Michigan State, who placed 14th.
Junior Jake Schmitt led the men's team with a 27th-place finish in 24:08 for 8,000-meters. He was followed by senior Jeremy Mineau who was 48th in 24:23. A strong third for Washington was junior Colton Tully-Doyle, who placed 68th in 24:39 for his best Husky finish. Senior Jon Harding was 78th in 24:43 and junior Chris Ahl was 85th in 24:48 to round out the scoring. Juniors Jordan Swarthout and Alec Bromka were 103rd and 157th, respectively, to complete the top-seven.
'I thought our men ran solid. We're still following a deliberate plan to run better later in the season at 10,000-meters,' said Metcalf. 'This was Jake Schmitt's first time on the national course and he was very strong. The guys were out a little harder than they probably should have been, but the West Region did what it needed to do which works to our advantage at Regionals. All in all our men took a step in the right direction.'
The women's first-place finish surpassed the fourth-place showing from 2007 as the program's best ever. The Huskies were so impressive, their top-five women averaged 20:21, which equaled the time of the second-place finisher in the women's White Race, held after UW's Blue Race and featuring several more Top-10 teams including No. 3 Florida State. Anita Campbell, who was UW's fifth finisher, would have been the No.1 runner for 4th-ranked Minnesota and 6th-ranked Stanford.
All this sets the stage for a thrilling postseason which begins in just under two weeks with the Pac-10 Championships on Oct. 31. That will be the first meeting between the top-ranked Huskies and the second-ranked Oregon Ducks, who did not travel to Pre-Nationals. Pac-10's are held at Oregon's home course in Springfield, Oregon.
A large contingent of Husky runners also competed at Lincoln Park in West Seattle this morning at the Cascade Conference Preview hosted by Northwest University. The 5,000-meter women's race was won by UW sophomore Kenna Patrick, as she led a pack of Huskies that included sophomore Bailey Schutte, junior Brooke Anderson, and unattached runners Mo Huber and Adrienne McGuirk. Results from that meet will be forthcoming.
Washington Cross Country
10/18/08 - Terre Haute, Indiana
LaVern Gibson Championship Course
Women's Blue Race (6,000-meters)
Team Results (Top-20): 1. Washington 36; 2. Villanova 126; 3. Minnesota 198; 4. Michigan State 215; 5. Florida 233; 6. Wisconsin 247; 7. Stanford 248; 8. Rice 263; 9. Iowa 283; 10. New Mexico 296; 11. Providence 334; 12. BYU 372; 13. Oklahoma State 431; 14. Indiana 438; 15. Arizona 446; 16. Georgia 467; 16. Washington State 467; 18. Auburn 498; 19. Miami (Ohio) 513; 20. North Carolina 518.
Individual Champion: Brianna Felnagle, North Carolina, 20:02
Husky Finishers: 3. Kendra Schaaf 20:15; 4. Christine Babcock 20:15; 5. Mel Lawrence 20:18; 8. Katie Follett 20:20; 16. Anita Campbell 20:38; 27. Lauren Saylor 20:57; 51. Kailey Campbell 21:18.
Men's White Race (8,000-meters)
Team Results (Top-20): 1. Stanford 77; 2. Iona 123; 3. BYU 154; 4. Auburn 194; 5. UCLA 196; 6. Virginia 205; 7. Tulsa 212; 8. Indiana 219; 9. Colorado 235; 10. Iowa State 249; 11. Washington 306; 12. Florida 328; 13. UTEP 379; 14. Michigan State 392; 15. Air Force 410; 16. Cornell 428; 17. Arizona State 533; 18. Liberty 545; 19. Eastern Michigan 551; 20. Columbia 555.
Individual Champion: Samuel Chelanga, Liberty, 22:51
Husky Finishers: 27. Jake Schmitt 24:08; 48. Jeremy Mineau 24:23; 68. Colton Tully-Doyle 24:39; 78. Jon Harding 24:43; 85. Chris Ahl 24:48; 103. Jordan Swarthout 24:56; 157. Alec Bromka 25:20.