Husky Cross Country Repeats As Pac-10 Champs
Oct. 30, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. - It may not have been perfect as it was in 2008, but in the end the No. 1-ranked Washington women's cross country team was crowned Pac-10 Conference Champions for the second year in a row. The 13th-ranked men's squad placed fourth.
Several Husky runners had their share of adversity today, but after being dead-even with the 8th-ranked Oregon Ducks with 400-meters to go, Washington poured it on down the homestretch and scored the win, accumulating 35 points to Oregon's 42. The Huskies have now won back-to-back titles for the first time in program history, and ran their undefeated streak to 10 races.
Sophomore Kendra Schaaf, the defending Pac-10 individual champion, went out fast and led for much of the race in the same style that resulted in a meet record last year. Schaaf, though, began fighting a slight knee twinge and on the final loop of the 6,000-meter course she was overtaken and dropped back to fifth. But the 2008 Pac-10 Athlete of the Year dug down over the final stretch and surged back up to finish second in 19-minutes, 46-seconds. Oregon senior Nicole Blood won her first Pac-10 title in 19:41.
Earning top-five finishes for the second-straight year was junior Mel Lawrence and sophomore Christine Babcock. Lawrence took fourth in 19:49 with Babcock a few seconds back in 19:58. Senior Katie Follett, battling illness, gutted out an eighth-place finish that was key to the team win.
The key to the win may have been junior Kailey Campbell's 16th-place finish to cap UW's scoring. Campbell reinjured an ankle midway through the race and at one point actually stopped running for several seconds, but she refused to call it quits and passed a number of runners down the stretch, including sprinting past Oregon's No. 5 runner at the finish. Redshirt freshman Allison Linnell also had an excellent Pac-10 debut, placing 19th, and junior Lauren Saylor took 25th to complete UW's top-seven.
'The women's race was high drama today,' said head coach Greg Metcalf. 'The last thousand meters was kind of like the fourth quarter in a college basketball game and we couldn't call timeout. In the last 60 seconds of the meet our girls rallied. Katie off the sick bed caught three people in the last 200-meters. Kendra was very selfless and she battled back to get second-place. Mel it's her first race after being out a month and she ran great and Christine was very solid as well.'
After the Huskies and Ducks, Arizona State placed third with 110 points, ahead of No. 12 Stanford which had 111. California took fifth with 128 and 17th-ranked Arizona was sixth with 130.
Metcalf thought the gritty effort would pay off in the long run.
'We were tested today for sure, and I think we needed a test,' Metcalf said. 'We're going to go back to Seattle and I think we'll be much better on November 23rd. A year ago we were perfect, and this was less than perfect but great teams find a way to win when it's less than perfect, and our team did that. We've won two Pac-10 Championships in a row and that's never happened here so it was a great day for sure.'
The Husky men were led to a fourth-place finish by senior Kelly Spady, who had a career-high 10th-place finish, covering the 8,000-meter course in 23:25. Fellow senior Colton Tully-Doyle also had his best-ever Pac-10 run, placing 23rd in 23:50. Washington's third, fourth, and fifth runners all crossed together with senior Jake Schmitt, junior Jordan Swarthout, and redshirt freshman Joey Bywater placing 29th through 31st.
'We train through the Pac-10 meet and for us the goal is Regionals and beyond but I thought Kelly Spady was awesome today with the best Pac-10 performance of his career finishing 10th in an awesome field. Jordan Swarthout kind of saved our butts today running fourth for us. So we'll circle the wagons and go be better in two weeks.'
Top-ranked Stanford justified its top billing with a 28-point victory. The second-ranked Ducks were second with 45, followed by 16th-ranked Arizona State with 88 points and the Huskies with 119. Washington outpaced UCLA (122) and 21st-ranked Washington State (163), California (180) and Arizona (193).
Washington Cross Country
2009 Pac-10 Championships
10/30/09 - Long Beach, Calif.
Sky Links Golf Course
Women's White Race (6,000-meters)
Team Results: 1. Washington 35; 2. Oregon 42; 3. Arizona State 110; 4. Stanford 111; 5. California 128; 6. Arizona 130; 7. UCLA 207; 8. Oregon State 239; 9. USC 250; 10. Washington State 251.
Individual Champion: Nicole Blood, Oregon, 19:41.
Husky Finishers: 2. Kendra Schaaf 19:46; 4. Mel Lawrence 19:49; 5. Christine Babcock 19:58; 8. Katie Follett 20:08; 16. Kailey Campbell 20:31; 19. Allison Linnell 20:35; 25. Lauren Saylor 20:40; 35. Lindsay Flanagan 21:02; 52. Kenna Patrick 21:35.
Men's Blue Race (8,000-meters)Team Results: 1. Stanford 28; 2. Oregon 45; 3. Arizona State 88; 4. Washington 119; 5. UCLA 122; 6. Washington State 163; 7. California 180; 8. Arizona 193.
Individual Champion: Chris Derrick, Stanford, 22:35.Husky Finishers: 10. Kelly Spady 23:25; 23. Colton Tully-Doyle 23:50; 29. Jake Schmitt 24:06; 30. Jordan Swarthout 24:06; 31. Joey Bywater 24:07; 41. Cameron Quackenbush 24:32; 42. James Cameron 24:33; 44. Rob Webster Jr 24:35; 60. Max O'Donoghue-McDonald 25:12.