Dec. 5, 1999
STANFORD, Calif. - The 1999 track and field season began with considerable success at Stanford University. The men's team won it's first ever conference championship in track and field during the indoor campaign. Boosted by an exciting 1-2-3 finish in the 5000, the Cardinal clinched the Mountain-Pacific title with an outstanding effort in the mile relay. Additionally, several school records fell. Michael Stember erased marks in the 800 and mile, Brad Hauser bettered both the 3000 and 5000 school records, Adam Connolly set a new standard in the 35 pound weight throw and Toby Stevenson broke his own school record in the pole vault. The men finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships with 12 All-American awards, a new school record for Stember, Jeff Allen, Mark Hassell and Jonathon Riley, and an individual title in the 5000 for Brad Hauser.
Outdoors proved just as exciting for the Cardinal men. With individual titles from Nathan Nutter and Michael Ponikvar, Stanford finished third at the Pac-10 Meet, the school's highest placement ever. At the Cardinal Invitational, Brad Hauser wiped out his school record in the 10K and in the process hit the World Championships qualifying standard. The incredible momentum built throughout May culminated in another outstanding run at an NCAA title toward the end of the month. Stanford kicked off the NCAA Championships with an historic 1-2-3 sweep in the 10,000 meters. The trio of Nathan Nutter, Jason Balkman and Brent Hauser broke from the pack with 600 meters to go and never looked back. Nutter, Balkman and Hauser made Stanford the first school in NCAA history to complete a 1-2-3 sweep two seasons in a row. The Cardinal then relied on a pair of field events for additional points. Toby Stevenson capped his amazing season with a runner-up finish in the pole vault, while Adam Connolly put together the best series of throws in his career to finish fourth in the hammer.
Nutter, Balkman and Brent Hauser doubled back in the 5000, as the Cardinal cashed in on big points again. Brad Hauser led his teammates with a runner-up finish, while brother Brent crossed the line fifth and Balkman finished eighth. Senior Jake Maas, competing in his first NCAA Outdoor Championships, capped an outstanding career with a seventh place effort in the 1500. When the meet was over and the scores tabulated, the Cardinal stood in second place, topping it's point total from the 1998 Championships.
But the Stanford train continued to roll throughout the summer. It's first stop: the USA Track and Field National Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Eight Stanford men competed in the meet, and the results were spectacular. Brad Hauser led three of his teammates in the 10,000 meters with a phenominal runner-up finish. Brad was accompanied by NCAA Champion Nathan Nutter, Jason Balkman and Brent Hauser in the final. The 1500 meters featured three athletes who redshirted the 1999 outdoor season - Michael Stember, Jonathon Riley and Gabe Jennings. All three made the final, with Stember finishing fourth, Riley fifth and Jennings seventh. Their effort made Stanford middle distance running the talk of the meet. Adam Connolly also competed in the hammer throw, serving notice that Stanford competes in a variety of events on the national stage.
Several Cardinal athletes teamed with a handful of incoming freshmen to give the Junior National Championships a definite Stanford flair. Jesse Thomas won the 10,000 meters, and Andy Powell captured both the 1500 and 5000 meter titles. Powell led a 1-2-3 Stanford finish in the 5K, followed by Daniel Parris and Thomas. Jon Stevens and Nick Welihozkiy each won silver medals, in the 800 meters and hammer throw respectively. Steve Loughlin raced to a fourth place finish in the 1500, while Jay Goff tallied a sixth place effort in the decathlon.
The Junior National Championships served as the qualifier for the Junior Pan-Am Games in Tampa, Florida. Again, the Stanford presence proved overwhelming. Jesse Thomas captured gold in the 10,000 meters, Andy Powell finished first in the 1500 meters, and Jon Stevens won the 800 meters. Teammate Daniel Parris won a silver medal in the 5000 meters, and Nick Welihozkiy brought home a bronze medal in the hammer throw.
The top NCAA athletes were chosen represent their country at the World University Games in Spain, and again, a huge Cardinal contingent took center stage. Hammer thrower Adam Connolly, middle distance aces Michael Stember and Jonathon Riley and high jumper Michael Ponikvar all competed in Palma de Mallorca, in mid-July.
Stember and Riley may have been the busiest Cardinal athletes this summer. After the World University Games, this duo took aim at some outstanding times in the 1500. Stember ran a personal best 3:39.05 in Germany, while Riley also PRed in 3:40.0 at the same meet. Both athletes then flew to Winnipeg, Canada, to represent the USA in the Pan-American Games. Athletes from both North and South America challenged the two American phenoms, but Stember and Riley were up to the task. Michael finished second and Jonathon sixth, certainly a sign of big things to come from both athletes.
Gabe Jennings also had a big summer as part of the USA Track and Field Middle Distance Development Squad. Gabe raced in several 800 and 1500 meter competitions throughout Northern Europe. After clocking an impressive 1:47.01 at 800 meters, Jennings won a British Milers Club contest in Birmingham, England, with a personal best of 3:39.85 for 1500 meters.
Jennings and Stember joined Jason Balkman and Jake Maas in the second year of the Can-Am Circuit throughout July. Balkman flew to Boston where he crushed the field in the 5000 meters, while Maas used the tour in preparation for his duties as the Cardinal Cross Country Captain in the fall.
With the summer winding down, three Stanford affiliates attended the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Seville, Spain. Director of Track and Field Vin Lananna made the journey as an assistant coach for Team USA, while associate coach Robert Weir competed in the discus for Great Britain. Three-time NCAA Champion Brad Hauser continued his illustrious career by toeing the line for the 10,000 meter final, where he finished 21st.
With the summer track and field season in the record books, the Cardinal men turned their attention toward a productive cross country campaign. Brad and Brent Hauser, Jason Balkman and Jon Weldon were missing from last year's runner-up squad, but a stockpile of capable youth and some talented upperclassmen looked to continue the pursuit of an NCAA trophy. As it turns out, this youthful team would not be denied. Captain Jake Maas led a team picked to finish second in the national pre-season poll. Wins at Nevada and Brigham Young, and a strong first place effort at the Stanford Invitational justified everyone's belief that Stanford still sported a tough team despite it's youth. Strong up front running from Maas, Jonathon Riley, Thomas Murley and Gabe Jennings helped the Cardinal harriers win it's fifth consecutive Pre-NCAA Meet in decisive fashion over Colorado.
The Stanford men took a break in preparation for the Pac-10 Championships in Long Beach. The team battle looked tight heading into the meet, with the defending champion Cardinal, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon all appearing in the national rankings. Despite a great individual run from Maas, who finished third, the Cardinal finished second to Arizona, ending a three-year reign as conference champions. Two weeks passed, and in true Stanford Cross Country tradition, the men's squad poised itself to win the NCAA West Region. The meet included conference champion Arizona and the rest of the Pac-10 teams, as well as numerous other squads from up and down the west coast. And not only did Stanford win it's fourth straight regional crown, it dominated the entire field. Sophomore Gabe Jennings led four Cardinal to top ten finishes over the 10K course in Portland, culminating in a a 40 point team score and a 33 point win over runner-up Arizona. Things looked good for the NCAA Championships ten days later in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Cardinal entered the meet with it's youngest squad since the 1994 team that finished sixth in the nation. Jake Maas, the only senior on the entire championship roster, led a crew of two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen into the competition. The Cardinal were far and away the youngest top five team in Bloomington, and they knew the task of securing a trophy would be difficult. Veteran squads from Arkansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina State and Michigan also aimed to leave the meet with some hardware. This Stanford team, however, likes big challenges. The Cardinal ran an intelligent race, and in the end, took home the fourth place trophy. Thomas Murley (16th), Jake Maas (17th) and Jonathon Riley (20th) secured three All-American certificates with their top 20 efforts. The NCAA Championships once again saw Stanford near the top, and while Maas will be missed, the 2000 cross country season looks exciting on the Farm.