Runner-Up Finish For Schaaf Leads UW To 3rd At NCAAs

Nov. 23, 2009

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Sophomore Kendra Schaaf made an amazing challenge for the individual NCAA Cross Country Championship today, taking runner-up honors in a day of upsets at the LaVern Gibson Course. The top-ranked Husky women were one of the teams upended, settling for third overall despite Schaaf's outstanding run. The UW men wound up 18th for the second straight season.

Schaaf led UW's quartet of All-Americans to repeat honors, as the four all placed in the Top-40, but second-ranked Villanova was too tough today, scoring 86 points, while UW wound up with 188 points after posting 79 in their NCAA win last year. Florida State was second with 133. The loss snapped an 11-race win streak for the Husky women, as their last defeat was an eighth-place finish at the 2007 NCAA Championships.

The West Region Athlete of the Year, Schaaf was certainly a top-five contender entering the meet, but in no way considered a favorite to win, as Colorado senior Jenny Barringer and Florida State senior Susan Kuijken were overwhelming favorites, and they went out together from the get-go. Just about halfway through the race, though, Barringer, a collegiate record-holder in several events and a World Championships competitor, collapsed, and Kuijken ran by herself with Schaaf and Illinois' Angela Bizzarri leading the next pack. Barringer wound up 163rd.

Kuijken had a 13-second lead at the 4,000-meter mark, but faded badly coming around the turn into the final homestretch, and Bizzarri and Schaaf rolled past. The two were even coming into the lengthy final straightaway, but Bizzarri, a senior and the 2009 NCAA 5,000-meter Champion, outkicked Schaaf for the win in 19-minutes, 46-seconds, while Schaaf was second in 19:51. Kuijken was six seconds back, third in 19:57.

Schaaf's finish matches the best finish ever by a Husky, as Regina Joyce also placed second overall in 1982.

'I didn't see (they were closing on) Susan then all of a sudden she was just there. I was just going along for the ride with Angela,' said Schaaf. 'I was just running as hard as I could, going with her. We were kind of both going back and forth, surging and reacting, then near 5k she had a little bit more of a final surge.'

Head coach Greg Metcalf was thrilled with the sophomore's composure and purpose.

'We talked about racing Angela Bizzarri down the homestretch but we talked about it being for third-place. But Kendra ran really, really well, and for her to be second at the NCAA Championships as a sophomore is fantastic,' said Metcalf. 'The Vegas odds would have been huge for Barringer and Kuijken, they are two of the best female distance runners in NCAA history. They tried to go tear each other up, and Kendra was patient and savvy and did a great job today.'

Senior Katie Follett earned her third cross country All-America honor in her final trek to Terre Haute, placing 23rd in 20:32. She joins Joyce as the only three-time All-Americans in school history. Junior Mel Lawrence was the third UW finisher in 31st-place, and sophomore Christine Babcock was 34th, both earning their second All-America honors which are awarded to the top-40 finishers.

Redshirt freshman Allison Linnell was UW's fifth scorer, placing 136th to score 109 points. Another redshirt freshman Kayla Evans, placed 166th in her first ever run in Terre Haute. Junior Kailey Campbell ran well early, and was top-40 at the 2k mark, but she struggled in the second half and placed 182nd.

'We came here to win, we didn't run to go finish second-place. We took a shot at it. Our front four ran really well, but our next three had never competed at the NCAA Championships, and until you run at this meet you don't get it,' said Metcalf. 'We returned lots of bodies from a year ago but we were missing one valuable body (an ill Lauren Saylor). I stressed to our women that we were we won a trophy, something we've only done twice ever. They held their heads high and were very congratulatory to the Villanova girls. We've been nearly perfect for two straight years so to come here to be third place is a bit of a downer but if we were third two years ago we would have been doing backflips.'

The men matched their 18th-place finish from 2008, earning their third Top-20 finish in the past four years. They amassed 470 points, led by a trio of seniors. Kelly Spady was 65th, a career-best in 30:35. Colton Tully-Doyle also had his best NCAA finish in 30:38, in 72nd. Jake Schmitt was 104th in 30:59.

Sophomores Cameron Quackenbush and Max O'Donoghue-McDonald were 159th and 183rd, respectively, to complete UW's scoring. Junior Jordan Swarthout was 207th, and redshirt freshman Joey Bywater was 226th.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys captured the team title with 127 points, dethroning two-time champs Oregon, which came in second with 143. Top-ranked Stanford also had an upsetting day, falling to 10th with 354. Liberty's Sam Chelanga won his first NCAA title in 28:41 for the 10,000-meter course.

'We ran great at the Regional Championships, and I thought if we reproduced that effort we can go be 10th, but Stanford was 10th today proving anything can happen at this meet. What you think is going to happen normally doesn't,' Metcalf said. 'Kelly and Colton put out great efforts, and Max hadn't run for a while and he was solid. I love the effort of this team this year, but we'll walk away and learn and go get better.'

Washington Cross Country
2009 NCAA Championships
11/23/09 - Terre Haute, Ind.
LaVern Gibson Championship Course

Women's Race (6,000-meters)
Team Results (Top-20): 1. Villanova 86; 2. Florida State 133; 3. Washington 188; 4. Texas Tech 191; 5. Princeton 251; 6. West Virginia 259; 7. Florida 260; 8. Duke 272; 9. Oregon 276; 10. Minnesota 310; 11. Providence 349; 12. Illinois 365; 13. New Mexico 368; 14. Penn State 375; 15. Virginia 391; 16. Stanford 408; 17. Iowa State 446; 18. Syracuse 450; 19. BYU 453; 20. Colorado 458.
Individual Champion: Angela Bizzarri, Illinois, 19:46.
Husky Finishers: 2. Kendra Schaaf 19:51; 23. Katie Follett 20:32; 31. Mel Lawrence 20:38; 34. Christine Babcock 20:42; 136. Allison Linnell 21:34; 166. Kayla Evans 21:47; 182. Kailey Campbell 21:53.

Men's Race (10,000-meters)
Team Results (Top-20):
1. Oklahoma State 127; 2. Oregon 143; 3. Alabama 173; 4. Northern Arizona 190; 5. William & Mary 226; 6. Colorado 315; 7. Wisconsin 321; 8. New Mexico 350; 8. Iona 350; 10. Stanford 354; 11. Villanova 359; 12. Oklahoma 386; 13. Portland 394; 14. Syracuse 405; 15. Virginia 408; 16. Iowa State 430; 17. BYU 468; 18. Washington 470; 19. Arizona State 472; 20. Providence 482.
Individual Champion: Samuel Chelanga, Liberty, 28:41.
Husky Finishers: 65. Kelly Spady 30:35; 72. Colton Tully-Doyle 30:38; 104. Jake Schmitt 30:59; 159. Cameron Quackenbush 31:26; 183. Max O'Donoghue-McDonald 31:42; 207. Jordan Swarthout 32:06; 226. Joey Bywater 32:45.

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