1998 Season in ReviewMen Capture Second at NCAA's
The men's cross country team would begin the 1998 as the two-time defending NCAA champions and with a strong determination to return to the NCAA podium for the third straight year. Each meet the Cardinal demonstrated their commitment to a successful season and the process of excellence they understand.
On several occasions, the men's team faced the country's most talented squads and emerged victorious. However, the battle with #1 ranked Arkansas would not occur until the NCAA's. A close team race was predicted. The predictions rang true.
Several lineups had been used throughout the year in order to prepare the best squad possible for the demanding course at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence, Ks. The Razorbacks had been assigned the role of the favorite, but the Cardinal paid no attention to the polls as they prepared.
As the gun signaled the start of the men's 10,000 meter race, Stanford established a good position in the field and began to navigate the challenging turns and hills. Brad and Brent Hauser found their way into the top 15, while their teammates occupied various spots in the top 20 early, as the runners made their way to the back portion of the course.
At the four mile mark, the Hausers had been joined by Jonathon Riley, who has having a brilliant race, near the front pack. The Razorbacks held a commanding lead in the team score with under 70 points. However, the Cardinal remained undeterred. Thomas Murley and Jamey Gifford, both of whom were competing in their first NCAA championship, began to move through the field.
In the final two miles, Stanford began to challenge the Razorbacks for the title. Brad Hauser had moved into sixth place, while Jonathon Riley joined him in the top 10 in ninth position. Brent Hauser had moved up, and was contending for 13th place. Arkansas, meanwhile, was struggling as several athletes lost places in the final mile.
Stanford's final charge secured the silver trophy and closed the gap on Arkansas to a mere 17 points. Three Stanford athletes earned All-America honors as the men completed another outstanding season. The coaching staff was thrilled with the tenacity and toughness displayed by the team.
Women place third at NCAA's
The hallmark of a truly outstanding program is the ability to always find a way to race well in the championship meets. The sixth-ranked women's team headed to Lawrence, Kansas, with the confidence that they had the personnel to contend for an NCAA trophy. At the conclusion of the demanding 5,000 meter course, the Cardinal had demonstrated that that confidence was not unfounded.
Stanford's foes from the two previous NCAA's, Villanova and Brigham Young, were believed to be the contenders for the team title. Each of them had won their regional qualifying meet handily and were familiar with the intensity necessary to capture the gold trophy.
The Cardinal women did not worry about the predictions of others, and focused their energy on each athlete racing well.
As she had won in each of her previous races, Julia Stamps moved immediately into contention with the front runners. She was joined by teammate Sally Glynn as the two runners formed a strong presence for the Cardinal in the top positions. A close battle quickly emerged between Villanova and BYU. Meanwhile, Stanford's team score was quickly strengthening from great races by captain Mary Cobb and freshman standout Caroline Annis.
The difficulty of the women's course surely had an impact on the racers. However, the Cardinal had raced well at Rim Rock Farm when they captured the Pre-NCAA race earlier in the year. Their knowledge and confidence of the course paid big dividends as the Cardinal team moved through the field.
Glynn and Stamps made a final charge to the finish tape, giving Stanford a strong 1-2 punch. Both of them finished before the first athlete from either Villanova or BYU. Mary Cobb crossed the line in 32nd place to earn her fourth consecutive All-America honor in cross country.
Only fractions of seconds separated the scorers, and it required almost two hours of close examination to tally the final team scores. In the end, Villanova emerged as the team winner by a mere four points. The sixth ranked Cardinal had raced back to the NCAA stage by capturing the bronze trophy, a scant five points from the top spot. Four women (Glynn, Stamps, Cobb, Annis) earned All-America honors.
Stanford hosted the west coast's premier cross country meet again in 1998.
The Cardinal men faced nationally-ranked BYU in the Championship Invitational. Gabe Jennings led the Cardinal by winning the race in an impressive time of 24:30 over the 8,000 meter course. A great showing from Jason Balkman (2nd), Jon Weldon (5th), Jake Maas (6th) and Chris Lundstrom (9th) helped Stanford tally 23 points to soundly defeat all the other teams.
The overall strength of Stanford's program became evident as the Cardinal men also captured the team title in the Collegiate Section. Mike Devine (7th) and Emiliano Figueroa (8th) paced the team.
The highlight of the Stanford Invitational may have been the women's Championship Invitational as four of the nation's top-ranked teams tackled the 5,000 meter course. Brigham Young, the 1997 NCAA champion, captured the team trophy, but Stanford finished second in front of Arkansas and Wisconsin. Julia Stamps finished third to lead Stanford.
The Cardinal women also finished second in the Collegiate Section as Malindi Elmore (3rd) led two teammates into the top ten, Alyssa Pagon (8th) and Colleen Flaherty (9th).
Kansas Pre-NCAA Invitational
In order to examine the NCAA course and test themselves against the nation's top competition, the Stanford teams journeyed to Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kansas, for the Kansas Jayhawk Invitational.
In the women's race, the Cardinal faced a series of the nation's most highly ranked teams and won convincingly by placing three athletes in the top 10. Julia Stamps placed fourth, while Sally Glynn finished sixth, and Caroline Annis in tenth place.
The men's field mirrored the NCAA competition with the exception of eventual foes Arkansas and Michigan. In their debut for the season, captains Brad (5th) and Brent (7th) Hauser demonstrated once again why they are two of this country's finest runners. In their second race in seven days, Jason Balkman (15th), Jon Weldon (27th) and Gabe Jennings (29th) ran tough to solidify the victory over #3 Colorado, #4 North Carolina and #5 Arizona.
Arizona State Invitational
Stanford boasted a different lineup, but demonstrated the same excellent competitive drive that is a showcase of the program. Brent Hauser won the race and led a 1-2 punch as Jonathon Riley finished immediately behind him. It was Riley's first race of the season. Thomas Murley (3rd), Jamey Gifford (13th) and Stevens (17th) all had great races to help Stanford score only 36 points.
Captain Mary Cobb's fourth place finish paced the Stanford women which finished fourth.
No finer cross country tradition can be found than in the Pac-10 Conference. Eugene's Alton Baker Park served as the site of the first conference championship not held at Stanford since 1973. Each Cardinal squad had won the Pac-10 title for two consecutive years. As the men and women headed to Oregon, the goal of capturing an unprecedented triple crown was clearly in mind. No school in Pac-10 history had ever won both the men's and women's title for three straight years.
The Cardinal women quickly dispelled any other team's hopes of victory as they controlled the race from the gun. Julia Stamps (2nd) and Sally Glynn (3rd) raced to a virtual tie. No school could counter this potent combination. The women's 53 points insured that another Pac-10 trophy would be on display in the Stanford trophy case.
The men's race was a much publicized battle between the top-ranked Cardinal and the third-ranked Oregon Ducks. The strong Oregon squad was fueled by the excitement surrounding their home course and the final Pac-10 showdown for legendary coach Bill Dellinger who retired at the end of the season. Stanford controlled the race early, but the Ducks made a strong charge late in the race. The Cardinal placed four runners in the top 10, Brad Hauser (4th), Jonathon Riley (6th), Brent Hauser (8th) and Jason Balkman (9th). Oregon counterattacked by putting all seven runners in the Top 20. However, Stanford's strength proved too much, as the Cardinal men won the race, 48-50.
Western Regional Championships
The Cardinal men and women traveled to Fresno for the NCAA West Regional Championships. Although the focus of the day was primarily on qualifying for the NCAA's, the men and women were determined to have excellent performances.
Brad Hauser (2nd), Jason Balkman (5th), Brent Hauser (6th) and Jon Weldon (10th) all finished in the top ten. Thomas Murley (14th), Jamey Gifford (21st) and Chris Lundstrom (25th) stepped in to strengthen the team. Stanford was the only school to place all seven athletes on the All-Region team. The Cardinal ran composed and tough races throughout the course and lowered their score from the Pac-10's. Stanford's 37 points reflected a confident and talented team.
Fresno's Woodwark Park had been the site of many of Julia Stamps most successful accomplishments during her prestigious high school career. She returned to Fresno in style, placing second. Sally Glynn (8th), Mary Cobb (15th), Caroline Annis (24th) and Mary Huang (31st) rounded out the Stanford scorers in a very close women's race. In the end, Arizona prevailed by a scant two points, but the Cardinal were on their way back to the NCAA Championships.