Terre Haute, Ind. - The Stanford Cross Country teams lived up to their billing today at the 2006 NCAA Championships, taking home two trophies. The women captured their second consecutive NCAA Championship, led by redshirt-junior Arianna Lambie's fourth-place finish. Redshirt-junior Neftalem Araia took second place in the men's competition, helping the Cardinal narrowly edge Oregon and Arkansas by a point to claim the fourth-place trophy. In his second year on The Farm, head coach Peter Tegen was named the Peter Tegen Women's Coach of the Year, as the award is now named in his honor.
"I'm thrilled that the women could capture the championship for the second time," said Tegen. "It's more difficult to repeat than to win the championship in the first place, and it wasn't easy for us today."
"The men made a great step today. They have been capable of this kind of performance all season long, but haven't had everyone firing at once. The men pulled everything together today."
The women's 6,000 meter race went out quickly, with Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego taking an early lead. A large chase pack followed significantly behind until Lambie broke away with about 3,000 meters to go. Lambie used an aggressive move to gap the pack, inching toward Kipyego. Lambie (20:43.8) crossed the line in fourth, with Colorado's Jenny Barringer (20:37.9) and Yale's Lindsay Donaldson (20:42.7) surging in the final home stretch for second and third place, respectively. Kipyego easily claimed the individual championship in 20:11.1. The Cardinal's second runner, Teresa McWalters finished 31st in 21:18.2, followed by redshirt-sophomore Lindsay Flacks 21:43.1 for 56th place. Senior Amanda Trotter finished in 21:52.0 for 70th place, while senior Katy Trotter was 78th in 21:55.0. Sophomore Alicia Follmar was also 149th in 22:31.0, and junior Lauren Centrowitz was 172 with a time of 22:41.3.
The Cardinal women rallied to score 195 points and repeat as national champions. Colorado was second with 223 points, while Michigan was third with 233 points. Wisconsin was fourth with 262 and Arkansas rounded out the top five teams with 286 points.
"Arianna ran a great race and felt very good," said Tegen. "She looked flawless through nearly the whole race and just got caught at the end. She has made great strides. We plan to continue on this note."
Lambie has been part of three NCAA championship teams, but feels this year's victory was special:
"I've never felt so connected to the team and so proud of these girls," said Lambie. "To be establishing such a legacy, winning two championships in a row, is something few teams have done and something Stanford has never done until this point. I'm very pleased with my race. My purpose was to run smart and score as few points as possible, which I did."
The men's 10,000 race was much tighter from start to finish. Over halfway through the race, 13 runners made up the lead pack. Araia and BYU's Josh Rohatinsky gradually pulled away from the lead pack, significantly gapping it with approximately 2,000 meters left in the race. Araia and Rohatinsky dueled stride for stride, rounding the corner to the uphill homestretch together. With less than 600 meters to go, Rohatinsky pulled away to claim the individual title in 30:44.9. Araia finished in 30:52.6 for runner-up honors. Redshirt-sophomore Garrett Heath was the Cardinal's next finisher in 64th with a time of 32:11.4, followed closely by redshirt-junior Forrest Tahdooahnippah in 32:12.6 for 68th place. Redshirt-sophomore Hakon DeVries (32:21.2) and senior Brett Gotcher (32:22.2) were 78th and 81st, respectively, while senior Jacob Gomez finished in 32:39.6 for 104th place. Senior Jonathan Pierce also finished 136th in a time of 32:55.8.
The Cardinal men pulled together to post a team score of 195, claiming fourth place by just one point. Conference rival Oregon and Arkansas tallied 196 points each to tie for fifth place. Colorado captured the men's championships with a low 94 points, while Wisconsin finished second with 142 points. Iona was third with 172 points.
"Nef has been running on a new level all season," said Tegen. "He been very confident and patient and has run his best two races of his career so far in the last two meets. Nef wanted to win today and gave it his all. Being a runner-up and having another year of eligibility bodes well for the future."
Now a three-time cross country All-American, Araia is also excited for the team's best performance in three years:
"Even though I'm very pleased with my personal performance," said Araia, "The satisfaction of a fourth-place team finish is so much more exciting."
"With about 3,000 meters to go in the race," Araia said, "I felt good and found myself slowing to stay with the pack. I decided to go out and test how I felt. The move paid off. Now that the race is over, I have to admit the muddy conditions favored me, being shorter than some of the other guys. I'm very pleased with the season and happy to finally be contending, rather than just participating. It will be exciting to see what happens indoors, outdoors and next fall."
For complete results, visit http://www.indstate.edu/athletic/cross/championship/2006ncaa.html.
Men's Individual Results (10,000 meters)
2. Neftalem Araia, 30:52.6
64. Garrett Heath, 32:11.4
68. Forrest Tahooahnippah, 32:12.6
78. Hakon DeVries, 32:21.2
81. Brett Gotcher, 32:22.2
104. Jacob Gomez, 32:39.6
136. Jonathan Pierce, 32:55.8
Women Individual Results (6,000 meters)
4. Arianna Lambie, 20:43.8
31. Teresa McWalters, 21:18.2
56. Lindsay Flacks, 21:43.1
70. Amanda Trotter, 21:52.0
78. Katy Trotter, 21:55.0
149. Alicia Follmar, 22:31.0
172. Lauren Centrowitz, 22:41.3