Cross Country Prepares For Pac-10's

Oct. 28, 2009

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    The Pac-10 Championships
    The No. 1 ranked men's team and No. 12 women will travel to Long Beach, Calif. for the Pac-10 Championships on Friday, Oct. 30, hosted by USC. The men's race will go off at 3:00 pm, while the women will race beginning at 4:00 pm. The Sky Links Golf Course will be the host of the Pac-10 Championships for the first time. The men will cover a 8,000-meter course for the final time before moving up to 10,000 meters at the NCAA West Regional and the NCAA Championships. The women will race a 6,000-meter course, the same distance they will race at regionals and nationals.

    Follow The Meet
    Final results will be available following the championship on the USC web site ( and the Pac-10 web site ( In addition, delayed video streaming of the Pac-10 Championships will be available on the Pac-10 website ( The link will be postedthe following week.

    The Field
    Once again the Pac-10 is one of the strongest conferences in the nation on both the men's and women's side. The conference offers the top ranked team in the nation in both genders as well as incredible depth. The Stanford men will test their No. 1 national ranking against No. 2 and the defending Pac-10 and NCAA champion, Oregon. In addition, No. 13 Washington, No. 16 Arizona State and No. 26 Washington State will provide stiff competition. Individually, Derrick and Luke Puskedra of Oregon both won their races at Pre-Nationals and should be the favorites. Both are sophomores coming off impressive All-America freshmen seasons and are the top returning runners in the Pac-10

    The women are led by No. 1 and defending Pac-10 and NCAA champion, Washington. The Huskies did not race at Pre-Nationals, but dominated the Notre Dame Invite and have most of their team back from 2008. Oregon should also be a contender, carrying their No. 8 ranking as will the No. 12 Cardinal. No. 17 Arizona and No. 31 Arizona State should also provide top competition. Individually, Kendra Schaaf returns to defend her Pac-10 title, but the Huskies have several returners from the team that swept the top six places at the meet last year. Oregon's Nicole Blood and Stanford's Alexandra Gits are returning All-Americans who could compete up front as well.

    Last Year At The Pac-10 Meet
    Last year, the Cardinal traveled to Eugene, Ore. to compete in the Pac-10 Championships. The Cardinal men finished second to eventual national champion Oregon with 47 points, while the Ducks scored 28. Galen Rupp took the individual title for Oregon, while Stanford had a trio of top-10 finishes. Chris Derrick led the Cardinal with his third-place finish, while Garrett Heath was fourth and Jacob Riley was seventh. The Stanford women placed third with eventual national champion Washington scoring a perfect 15 points in taking the title. Oregon finished second with 55 points, while Stanford had 99. Kendra Schaaf led the Husky women who took the top six spots. Stanford placed five in the top-25, including returners Georgia Griffin and Emilie Amaro.

    Stanford's Rich Pac-10 History
    The Cardinal cross country teams have a rich tradition at the Pac-10 meet, whether it be long streaks of team titles or individual glory. The Cardinal women have dominated the Pac-10 Championships in recent years, putting together a 12-year winning streak of conference titles from 1996-2007. Overall, the Stanford women have won 14 of the last 16 Pac-10 titles. During their run, Arianna Lambie (3), Sara Bei (2), Lauren Fleshman and Erin Sullivan have tasted individual Pac-10 glory. The men have also been a dominant force in the Pac-10, having won 10 titles since 1985. They put together a streak of their own with six consecutive titles from 2000-05. The Cardinal men also had four straight individual champions from 2000-03 with Jonathon Riley, Grant Robison (2) and Ian Dobson. In addition, Marc Olesen won the first Pac-10 title for Stanford back in 1985. In all, the Stanford teams have won 23 Pac-10 titles since women's cross country became a conference sport in 1986. The 23 combined titles is easily the most in the conference. Trailing Stanford are Oregon with 15, Arizona with five and Washington with three.

    Stanford Men Win Pre-Nats
    The Stanford men showed they will be a team to be reckoned with in 2009 after dominating the ISU Pre-National White Race from Terre Haute, Ind. Stanford scored just 47 points to easily defeat second place Colorado who had 130. Chris Derrick led the Cardinal with the individual title, while Elliott Heath placed third. Derrick had the fastest time of the day and established himself as a contender for the individual NCAA title. Justion Marpole-Bird also had a breakthrough race, finishing 10th overall. The Cardinal had the fastest team time of the day when factoring in the Blue Race as well.Women Fifth At Pre-NatsThe Stanford women also ran well at Pre-Nationals, placing fifth in the Blue Race. The Cardinal women had a trio of finishers right next to each other with Alexandra Gits, Stephanie Marcy and Alex Dunne finishing 15-17th. Stanford finished with 206 points in a race won by Colorado with 94.

    Elliott Heath

    Cardinal Sweep Stanford Invite
    Playing host to the Stanford Invitational, the Stanford cross country team took home a pair of team titles. The Stanford men ran in a pack for most of the race, earning a perfect 15 points by taking the top five places. Chris Derrick controlled the race, urging his teammates to stay packed together for the entire eight kilometers. Derrick took the title, while Brendan Gregg, Benjamin Johnson and Jacob Riley finished with him all earning identical times of 23:54. The women finished with 24 points and were led by Kathy Kroeger who placed third overall. Kroeger completed the 6,000-meter course in 20:35. Just behind Kroeger was the veteran of the women's team, Kate Niehaus in fourth. Niehaus finished with a time of 20:39 in her final Stanford Invitational. Also with top-10 finishes for Stanford were Alex Dunne, Alexandra Gits and Stephanie Marcy.

    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 Alex 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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