Cross Country Hosts Stanford Invitational Saturday

Sept. 23, 2009

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    2009 Stanford Invite
    The 36th edition of the Stanford Cross Country Invitational will continue the tradition of one of the top college cross country meets of the season taking place at the Stanford Golf Course. Approximately 40 teams will compete in the 6,000-meter women's race and the 8,000-meter men's race. The men's race will go off at 10:50 am, while the women will begin at 11:30 am. The meet will showcase some of the top individuals and teams from around the country. In addition to the college races, 12 high school races will be run throughout the day, beginning at 9 am.

    The Field
    The men's race should be highly competitive with three nationally ranked teams. The No. 3 Cardinal headline the competition, which also includes No. 21 Cal Poly and No. 31 California. In addition, west regionally ranked teams that will compete include UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and Long Beach State. The No. 5 Cardinal women enter Saturday's meet as the only nationally ranked team. However, several regionally ranked teams from the west including UC Davis, Sacramento State, USC and Loyola Maramount will be competing.

    Last Season at the Stanford Invite
    Last season both the men's and women's teams won the Stanford Invite by wide margins. The men scored just 39 points top California with 87 and Arkansas with 103. Chris Derrick led the Cardinal with a third-place finish is the first race of his collegiate career. Derrick finished with a time of 24:18 on the 8,000 meter course. Garrett Heath (fifth) and Hakon DeVries (eighth) also finished in the top ten. The women finished with 43 points to easily outdistance second place UC Davis with 122. The Cardinal had three women in the top ten, while their top returning runner is Georgia Griffin who finished 12th with a 6,000-meter time of 21:29.

    For Starters
    The Cardinal opened their season, September 4, at the Nevada Twighlight Invitational. Running under the lights with limited squads the men took the meet title, while the women finished second. Benjamin Johnson led the men with the the individual title, covering the 6,000-meter time of 19:58. Madeline Duhon led the women with her fourth-place finish, coving the 4,000-meter course in a time of 15:40.

    Jason Dunn Returns For His Second Season
    Jason Dunn returns for his second season at Stanford. He made an immediate impact in 2008, leading the men's team to a third place national finish and a young women's team to an eighth place finish. During the indoor track season, Dunn was named the West Region's assistant coach of the year for both the men and the women. Combined in cross country and track and field, the distance runners totaled 14 All-America honors for the season under the guidance of Dunn. He will again be assisted by David Vidal who enters his fourth season. They also welcome two recently graduated All-American runners, Hakon DeVries and Garrett Heath, as volunteer assistant coaches.

    Top Returning Women
    The women return a pair of runners who were part of the championship teams of the past for Stanford. Kate Niehaus was a member of both the 2006 and 2007 NCAA championship teams, while Alexandra Gits was a scoring member of the 2007 team. Gits is a returning All-American, having placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters in 2008. Niehaus has also been an NCAA qualifier in track, having competed in the 5,000 meters last spring. Returning from the NCAA team last year are Niehaus, Stephanie Marcy, Georgia Griffin and Emilie Amaro. Amaro was also an NCAA qualifier in track in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

    Top Returning Men
    The Cardinal return one of the top runners in the nation in Chris Derrick. Derrick earned four All-America honors during his freshman season, which included a seventh-place national finish in cross country. Derrick is listed as a potential NCAA Champion in 2009, having earned international experience at the World Junior Cross Country Championships and setting an American Junior record in the 5,000 meters in 2009. He will be joined by returning All-Americans Elliott Heath and Jacob Riley, who were also scoring members of the 2008 cross country team that placed third nationally. Heath earned his All-America honors in the 3,000 meters indoors and the 5,000 meters outdoors. Riley who is a returning All-Pac-10 runner in cross country earned his All-America honor during outdoor track in the 10,000 meters. Also returning from the 2008 team that earned a NCAA trophy is Brendan Gregg.

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