Sept. 26, 1999
If there is a theme to Stanford Cross Country, it is driven by results. Athletes come to the Farm, and go, but the success of the program remains the same. The 1999 version of Cardinal Cross Country complies with this model in two very different ways. The men's squad expects outstanding results from a young and inexperienced group, while the women, led by a bevy of veteran talent, eye the biggest prize in collegiate cross country.
The rise to national prominence for the 90's version of the Cardinal men includes the contribution of several athletes. From Dave Scudamore to Gary Stolz, from Rob Reeder to Greg Jimmerson, perhaps no athletes have had a more significant impact on Stanford Cross Country than All American's Brad and Brent Hauser. In four years of competition on the Farm, the Hauser brothers led the Cardinal to two NCAA Team Titles (96-97), a runner-up spot (98) and a fifth place finish (95). Their graduation, coupled with the loss of NCAA All-American Jason Balkman to the cap and tassel signals enormous changes in the leadership of the Machine. Fortunately the 1999 version of Vin Lananna's squad is up to following the incredible precedent set by its ancestors.
The eighth year head coach is confident that the momentum of the 98-99 season will carry over this fall. "We have a wonderful, accomplished runner in Jonathon Riley, who is coming off an excellent redshirt outdoor track season," said Lananna. In fact, Riley's impact on the national scene was tremendous. He clocked 13:36 for 5000 meters, the fastest time by an American collegian in 1999. Jonathon also finished fifth in the 1500 meters at the USATF Outdoor Nationals in June.
Sophomore Gabe Jennings is fresh off a redshirt season (indoor and outdoor track) where he took his competitive efforts to the next level. The 1997 USATF Junior National Cross Country Champion's biggest accomplishments came on the track, where he finished 7th in the 1500 meters at the 1999 USATF Track and Field Championships. In addition to Jennings, senior captain Jake Maas, junior Thomas Murley and sophomore Jamey Gifford all ran for the Cardinal at the Pac-10, NCAA District 8 or NCAA Championship meets during the year. Both Maas and Murley qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships, and Maas capped off his track and field career at Stanford with a 7th place showing in the 1999 NCAA 1500 meters.
The five man leadership brigade will receive plenty of support. Redshirt freshman Jesse Thomas is the 1999 USATF Junior National Champion and Jr. Pan-Am gold medalist in the 10,000 meters. Daniel Parris, a classmate of Thomas, finished second in the 5000 meters at that meet as well. Michael Stember, known for his numerous sub-four minute performances on the track is primed for an impact season of cross country. And David Abril, a Pac-10 qualifier in the 3000 meter steeplechase, is back after an aggressive summer of training. "We recruited a tremendous group of freshmen, the best cross country class in the country," said Lananna. The class is so deep and talented, however, that it's difficult to pick out a leader among them. Four of these athletes did compete at the 1998 Footlocker National Cross Country Championships, and they produced outstanding results. Louis Luchini and Adam Tenforde finished second and third, while Andy Powell crossed the line 12th. Nate Miller also made the final after a fifth place showing at the Footlocker Northeast Regional. Tenforde also competed at the USATF Junior National Cross Country Championships where he finished sixth and represented the United States at the World Jr. Cross Country Championships. Powell etched his named on a prestigious list during the subsequent outdoor track season. In running a 4:02.7 mile, Andy became the seventh fastest American high schooler of all time in that event. Steve Loughlin and Philip West followed close behind Powell in the national rankings for 1999, while David Stillman, Curt Herberts, Seth Hejny and the Knapp brothers, Sean and Trevor, each call the longer distances their specialty. Tyler Ofstad should also make an impact this season.
"Our goal for the women's team is to 'bring back the trophy' to Stanford," said Lananna. And with this group, that task appears well within reach. Julia Stamps and Sally Glynn provide a 1-2 power punch up front that the rest of the nation will find devastating. Stamps finished fourth at the NCAA meet her freshman year, sixth last year, and is a serious contender for top honors this season. Julia also completed an outstanding track and field campaign in 1999, clipping 9:16 over 3000 meters indoors, the top collegiate time in the nation. Glynn expects to follow a path of progress that started her freshman year. Sally won the 1996 USATF Junior National crown, placed 20th at the NCAA as a sophomore, and finished fifth at the NCAA last year. Now in her final year of cross country on the Farm, Glynn will make a good push up front at the championship meets.
"We lost an excellent runner in Mary Cobb, who has graduated," said Lananna. "However, we have an army of highly accomplished runners returning." That group starts with Courtney Adams. As a member of the 1998 third place squad at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Adams is a veteran among a young but talented group of returnees. Sophomore Caroline Annis produced an All-American finish at the NCAA meet last season and qualified for the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Ireland. Mary Huang proved a steady competitor in the Cardinal top seven during the fall and parlayed that to an NCAA provisional qualifier over 10,000 meters in the spring. Her positive influence as a senior will have significance as the season progresses. Sophomore Laura Turner broke into the mix late last cross country season, but nevertheless ran in Stanford's top seven at both the District-8 and NCAA Championship meets. Elena Villarreal, another sophomore, competed up front for the Cardinal on several occasions in 1998 and feels primed for a championship run in 1999.
Those seven athletes - Stamps, Glynn, Adams, Annis, Huang, Turner and Villarreal - provide an unmatched core of American talent. But for Cardinal Cross Country fans, it gets even better. A freshmen class ranked tops in the nation will keep the veterans on this Stanford team sharper than ever. Erin Sullivan embarks upon her Stanford career as the two-time Footlocker National Cross Country Champion. Lauren Fleshman finished runner-up to Sullivan last year, but adds the California State Championship in cross country and the 3200 meters to her credentials. Mariel Ettinger ran second to Sullivan at the 1997 Footlocker National Cross Country meet, while Kathleen Brizgys won the California CCS Cross Country Title in 1998. Middle distance specialists Lindsay Hyatt and Katie Hotchkiss will contribute as well. Hyatt ran the nation's top high school time for 800 meters this spring (2:06.74), while Hotchkiss notched the second fastest clocking (2:08.22).
The Cardinal women won the NCAA trophy in 1996, finished second in 1997 and third in 1998. Each of the last two seasons, Stanford has been within a few points of the team title. So while the Cardinal certainly has the talent to contend for top honors in 1999, Lananna knows just how difficult claiming the trophy can be. "Brigham Young, Colorado and defending champion Villanova will again be extremely strong," notes Lananna. "But the Stanford women's team is loaded with talent. We are very confident."