No. 1 Huskies Seek Pac-10 Title Defense
Oct. 29, 2009
2009 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday, October 30 Sky Links Golf Course Long Beach, Calif.
3:00 p.m. Men's 8,000 Meters
4:00 p.m. Women's 6,000 Meters
ON THE COURSE: The top-ranked Husky women's cross country team will put its conference title on the line this Friday as the 2009 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships go off in Long Beach, Calif. at the Sky Links Golf Course. The 13th-ranked UW men's team will also battle for conference supremacy against the nation's top-two teams.
The Washington women are looking for their first ever back-to-back conference crowns. One year ago the Huskies had a performance for the ages, sweeping the first six spots to defeat No. 2 Oregon on its home course, while snapping Stanford's 12-year run of Pac-10 trophies. With the minimum 15 points, UW achieved the first perfect score in Pac-10 history on either the men's or women's side. Four of the six women from UW's perfect day return this Friday, including reigning Pac-10 individual champion sophomore Kendra Schaaf. In her first Pac-10 meet last year, Schaaf broke the 6k meet record in a time of 19:24, winning by 30 seconds over her teammates. She became UW's first individual champion since Regina Joyce won the inaugural meet in 1982.
Schaaf can expect competition for a repeat from her own teammates, as 2008 runner-up junior Mel Lawrence, third-place finisher Christine Babcock, and fifth-place finisher senior Katie Follett will look to power the Husky pack forward. Juniors Lauren Saylor, Kailey Campbell, and Kenna Patrick, and freshmen Allison Linnell and Lindsay Flanagan round out the nine competitors that will stand on the starting line for the Dawgs. Saylor was 12th a year ago and Patrick was 23rd, while Campbell is coming off her best race, a 15th-place finish at Pre-Nationals.
As was the case throughout the three postseason races last year, the top threat to Washington should be the Oregon women. The Ducks are ranked eighth coming in but figure to have a top-three as good as any team in the nation. Stanford, ranked 12th, will contend again, as will 17th-ranked Arizona and No. 31 Arizona State.
Much of the focus in the men's race will be centered on the battle between No. 1 Stanford and defending Pac-10 and NCAA Champion Oregon, ranked No. 2. Washington, the third-higest ranked Pac-10 squad, would like to have something to say about the outcome as well. 16th-ranked Arizona State and No. 26 Washington State will also be fighting for a top-three team finish.
Vying for top-10 spots should the senior trio of Jake Schmitt, Kelly Spady, and Colton Tully-Doyle, which has led the Huskies at all three meets so far this season. Spady and Schmitt finished 15th and 16th, respectively, at the 2008 meet, helping the Huskies to a tie for third. Junior Jordan Swarthout will look to improve on his 34th-place finish from 2008, sophomore Cameron Quackenbush makes his second-straight Pac-10 start, while Max O'Donoghue-McDonald is anxious to compete at his first conference meet since 2007 as he redshirted last year. Redshirt freshmen Joey Bywater and Rob Webster and true freshman James Cameron will all be making their championship debuts.
The Pac-10 meet is the first of three post-season events, followed in two weeks by NCAA West Regionals, held Nov. 14 in Springfield, Oregon. Nine days later, the Huskies will hopefully be among the elite teams traveling to Terre Haute, Indiana for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23. This year's NCAA Championships will be televised live on the Versus Network.
COVERAGE: GoHuskies.com will provide photos and post-race video interviews from Long Beach. Delayed video streaming of the Pac-10 Championships will be available on the Pac-10 website (www.pac-10.org). The link will be posted the following week.
WOMEN REMAIN UNANIMOUS NO. 1; MEN REMAIN IN TOP-15: The Husky women's cross country team continues to hold down the No. 1 ranking in the country, pulling in all 12 first place votes for 360 points in the most recent poll released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) following Pre-Nationals. The Huskies were the unanimous preseason No. 1 and have held the top spot since last October 7th, following their win at the Auburn Invitational. Villanova continues to trail the Huskies in the No. 2 spot, followed by No. 3 Colorado, which won the Blue Race at Pre-Nationals while UW won the White Race. Oregon, NCAA runner-up the past two seasons, is currently ranked 8th. Other ranked Pac-10 teams include No. 12 Stanford and No. 17 Arizona. The Husky men's team moved up one more spot following Pre-Nationals to a season-high 13th. The men have moved up in every poll this year, starting at 24th, then climbing to 22nd after the Sundodger, then making a big leap up to 14th following their Notre Dame victory. Washington will face the top-two teams in the country at Pac-10's in No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 Oregon. Arizona State is ranked 16th and Washington State is No. 26.
EXPECTED TO RUN: Following is a list of those Huskies expected to compete at Friday's Pac-10 Championships in Long Beach, Calif. Teams are allowed to compete nine runners apiece. The top five finishers on each team contribute to the team score while the sixth and seventh runners can displace other team's finishers to bump up their score.
Name Year Hometown (Last School) 2008 Pac-10 Finish
Christine Babcock So. Irvine, Calif. (Woodbridge) 3rd
Kailey Campbell Jr. Seattle, Wash. (Ballard) DNF
Lindsay Flanagan Fr. Roselle, Ill. (Lake Park) 1st Race
Katie Follett Sr. Fort Collins, Colo. (Fort Collins) 5th
Mel Lawrence Jr. Reno, Nev. (Reno) 2nd
Allison Linnell RFr. Colts Neck, N.J. (Marine Aca. of Science and Tech.) 1st Race
Kenna Patrick Jr. Federal Way, Wash. (Thomas Jefferson/UPS) 23rd
Lauren Saylor Jr. Clovis, Calif. (Buchanan) 12th
Kendra Schaaf So. Craven, Saskatchewan (Lumsden) 1st
Name Year Hometown (Last School) 2008 Pac-10 Finish
Joey Bywater RFr. Lake Stevens, Wash. (Lake Stevens) 1st Race
James Cameron Fr. Lake Forest, Calif. (Mission Viejo) 1st Race
Max O'Donoghue-McDonald So. Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Prep) 40th (2007)
Cameron Quackenbush So. Spokane, Wash. (Ferris) DNF
Jake Schmitt Sr. Kentfield, Calif. (Redwood/California) 16th
Kelly Spady Sr. Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak) 15th
Jordan Swarthout Jr. Olympia, Wash. (Capital) 33rd
Colton Tully-Doyle Sr. San Diego, Calif. (Rancho Bernardo/UCSB) 34th
Rob Webster, Jr. RFr. Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup) 1st Race
LAST YEAR AT PAC-10s - HUSKIES MAKE HISTORY WITH SWEEP: The Washington women's cross country team won the Pac-10 Championship last year in a stunningly dominant performance, as they swept the top six spots to record a perfect score at the Springfield Country Club. The performance was unprecedented in Pac-10 history on either the women's or men's side. Freshman Kendra Schaaf won the individual Pac-10 Championship, and led a Husky parade across the finish line, followed in order by Mel Lawrence, Christine Babcock, Anita Campbell, Katie Follett, and Amanda Miller. In what was expected to be a heated battle between the nation's top two teams, the Huskies began to pull away midway through the race and turned it into a rout. Washington finished with a perfect 15 points, followed by No. 2 Oregon with 55, and 18th-ranked Stanford with 99. The Cardinal had won 12-straight Pac-10 Championships entering the meet. The win was just the second Pac-10 Championship for the Husky women, the previous title coming in 1989. Schaaf was Washington's first individual champion since Regina Joyce won the inaugural title in 1982. Schaaf led from start to finish, widening her lead throughout, until she finished in a course record 19-minutes and 24-seconds over the 6,000-meter course. That shattered the Pac-10 record for 6,000-meters, previously at 19:40, and was a whopping 33 seconds faster than the previous course record. Amazingly, Washington's second through fourth finishers were also under the old course record. The previous record low score for any team in Pac-10 Championship history was 19 by the 2002 Stanford men's team. The previous women's record was 22 points by the 2006 Stanford women. The women's dominance was understandably the story of the day, but the 24th-ranked men's team was impressive as well. Top-ranked Oregon won with 28 points, followed by second-ranked Stanford with 47. Washington and California came into the meet sharing the No. 24 national ranking, and left tied as well, as both scored 104 points for third place. Just behind UW and Cal was 13th-ranked UCLA in fifth-place with 106. Jeremy Mineau was his usual gritty self in leading the team with a 10th-place finish, covering the 8,000-meter course in 23:47. Kelly Spady made his season debut an impressive one, as he placed 15th in 23:58. Jake Schmitt was right behind Spady in 16th-place in 24:05. Jordan Swarthout and Colton Tully-Doyle also crossed together in 33rd and 34th-place, respectively, to close UW's scoring.
HUSKIES AT THE PAC-10: The Huskies have three Pac-10 team championships to their credit, as the Husky men captured the team title in 1993, and the women came out on top in 1989 and 2008. The 2008 title rewrote the recordbooks, as Washington swept the top six spots for the first perfect score in Pac-10 history. Regina Joyce won the first conference women's title in 1982 when it was known as the NorPac. It was 26 years until Kendra Schaaf won UW's second individual crown, leading the 2008 sweep. The women's team has placed in the top-five at the conference meet every year since 1988, a span of 20 races, and were fourth or better on 18 of those occasions. Individually, the women have also had a Top-10 finisher in the past 15 races, while the men have placed a runner in the Top-10 in four of the past five years. Remarkably, the women have been led by a different runner in each of the last 12 championships, with that lead Dawg placing in the top-10 on every occasion, including Schaaf's championship last year.
WOMEN DEFEND PRE-NATIONAL TITLE; MEN RUN FIFTH: Yet another dominant performance was authored by the No. 1-ranked Washington women's cross country team, as they churned to a big win at the Pre-National Meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. The 14th-ranked men's team also had one of its best Pre-National finishes in years, taking fifth behind four top-10 teams. The women ran their winning streak to nine-straight races, and captured the Pre-National title for the second year in a row. Three Husky All-Americans placed in the top-five of the women's white race, led by the second-place finish of sophomore Kendra Schaaf, and Washington easily handled three top-10 teams and 10 teams ranked in the top-30. The UW posted 59 points, outpacing 9th-ranked Florida, which was second with 89 points. No. 5 Princeton was third with 126, No. 15 Syracuse took fourth with 191, No. 18 Illinois was fifth with 206, and eighth-ranked Minnesota came in sixth with 214. Schaaf led for much of the 6,000-meter race, but was caught by Illinois' Angela Bizzarri, the NCAA 5,000-meter champion, near the finish. Schaaf completed the course in 20-minutes, 29-seconds, just two seconds behind Bizzarri. Katie Follett took fourth in 20:37, a split-second ahead of sophomore Christine Babcock who was fifth. Junior Kailey Campbell had the best day of her cross country career with a 15th-place finish in 21:03. Redshirt freshman Allison Linnell rounded out UW's scoring with a 33rd-place finish in her first run through the championship course. The men's team held serve effectively, defeating four ranked teams in No. 19 Butler, No. 21 North Carolina State, No. 27 Tulsa, and No. 29 Cal Poly. Washington's 183 points was good for fifth in the Blue Race behind 7th-ranked Oregon, which got the win with 79 points. Senior Jake Schmitt stepped up to lead the Dawgs, placing 22nd in a time of 24:16. Fellow senior Colton Tully-Doyle was 25th in 24:19, a huge improvement over his 68th-place finish in this same meet one year ago. Senior Kelly Spady took 32nd in 24:27. Redshirt freshman Joey Bywater was 46th in his first run in Terre Haute, and sophomore Cameron Quackenbush rounded out the scorers with a 58th-place finish.
MEET THE COACHES: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his eighth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his 13th year overall at the University. Metcalf's work with the men's and women's cross country teams have developed each into national powers in recent years, capped off by the women's team claiming its first ever NCAA Championship in 2008, when Metcalf was named Pac-10 and National Coach of the Year. The 2008 women won every race in dominant fashion and boasted five All-Americans. The national title season marked UW's 10th NCAA appearance in Metcalf's 12 years and was the seventh Top-20 finish. The UW men, meanwhile, have competed for national titles four times in the past six years, including a 12th-place finish in 2006 and 18th-place showing in 2008. Metcalf's distance runners have combined for three individual NCAA track titles, 12 Pac-10 titles, 51 All-America awards, 126 NCAA Championship bids and 26 school records in 12 years with the program. Metcalf has led a renaissance in the track program as a whole, as UW was one of just six programs that placed both its men and women in the inaugural USTFCCCA Program of the Year Top-10 Rankings in 2008-09. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase. Metcalf is joined on the coaching staff by five-time All-American Kelly (MacDonald) Strong, a three-time Pac-10 champion at Arizona State now in her eighth year at Washington, and first-year assistant Jason Drake. Strong has earned a reputation as one of the nation's best young assistants and recruiters, helping assemble the talent that produced UW's 2008 national title. Drake is a Colorado alum that spent seven years as an assistant at his alma mater, taking part in two NCAA team titles, before moving on to become the head cross country coach at Washington State for seven years.