Nov. 12, 2010
Stanford, Calif. - Two weeks after sweeping the Pac-10 Championships, the Stanford cross-country teams will look to do the same at the NCAA West Regional. The No. 2 men are the defending region champs, while the No. 4 women are looking to win its first region title since 2007.
Oregon is hosting the meet for the third time in four years at the Springfield Country Club outside of Eugene. This year, the women will run first, covering the 6,000-meter course beginning at 9:45 a.m. The men will following, running their first 10,000-meter race of the season at 10:30 a.m.
The region meet is a bit different than Pac-10 or the NCAA's as the focus for Stanford will be more about qualifying for nationals than winning the meet.
"We will just be looking to put ourselves in a position to get through," said head coach Jason Dunn. "Hopefully we can turn our full attention to nationals on Saturday afternoon."
The men's race features No. 2 Stanford who actually dropped out of the top spot nationally, despite its dominant performance at the Pac-10 meet. No. 3 Oregon is the other favorite for the auto bid, but West Coast Conference champion No. 12 Portland could sneak into the top two. No. 22 California is the final ranked team and should have a good chance at an at-large bid.
Other teams looking at at-large bids are UCLA and Big West champion UC Davis.
Chris Derrick is the defending region champion, while Elliott Heath was the runner-up. Graduated Justin Marpole-Bird led the Cardinal 1-2-3 finish in 2009, which Stanford will look to replicate this year with Derrick, Heath and Jacob Riley. The Stanford trio has run together all season, including 1-2-3 finishes at Pre-Nationals and Pac-10's. The trio may not look to push the pace as the have in previous meets, but they should still run at the front.
The Cardinal women have risen to No. 4 in the nation after winning the Pac-10 title. The top four teams at the Pac-10 Championships were within six points of each other and the region meet should be equally close. The Cardinal have earned enough wins during the season that even if it finishes outside the top-2 at the region meet, it should be one of the first teams chosen as an at-large.
No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Oregon and No. 11 Washington were the other three teams that made up the closest race ever at the Pac-10 Championships. However, No. 26 California and West Coast Conference champ No. 27 San Francisco also enter the meet as ranked teams.
UCLA and Big West champion UC Santa Barbara should also be in the mix.
The NCAA championships are just nine days after regionals, on November 22, in Terre Haute, Ind.