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July 30, 1997

1997 Outlook: So Where do we go from Here?

Defending NCAA Champion Cardinal Adds to its Talented Arsenal

Last year, the Stanford men's and women's cross country team captured the NCAA title in convincing fashion. In fact, this was the first time a school had won the NCAA title for men and women in the same year since Wisconsin swept the titles in 1985.

"Winning the NCAA's for men and women was the highlight of my coaching career," said Vin Lananna, Director of Track & Field/Cross Country. "The titles were the culmination of a lot of hard work by the athletes and coaches, and put the Stanford program on a higher level."

The question now is if both teams can maintain their strong stature on the national scene. The answer is a resounding yes.

Although the men's team lost quality runners in Greg Jimmerson, Rob Reeder and J.J. White, Lananna, always the realist, is aiming his goals to take a crack at a top finish at the NCAAs, which will be held this year at Furman University.

"The foundation is there," said Lananna, who was named United States Cross Country Coach of the Year following the team's first place finish at the NCAA's in Tucson. "Although we lost great leaders in Jimmerson, Reeder and White, we are not rebuilding, we are reloading."

The impressive cast of returnees includes the Hauser Brothers, Brad and Brent, who despite their youth, are two of the top runners in the country, both in cross country and track & field. Their talents and experience should carry them not only on the national level, but the international circuit as well.

Brad, a junior, enjoyed an outstanding season in 1996, helping lead the Cardinal to the Pac-10, District-8 and NCAA title. Brad finished second at the NCAA district meet, third at the Pac-10's, and sixth at the nationals to gain All-America honors. His brother, Brent, also gained All-America honors at the NCAA's, and shortly thereafter, competed at the prestigious USAT&F Junior Nationals, and captured the individual crown.

Other returnees who have helped lead Stanford to victory in recent years have been Jason Balkman, Jason Lunn, Nathan Nutter, Ryan McCalmon, Jason Perscheid and Jonathan Weldon. Balkman provided valuable depth last year, and shortly after the championship season, placed third in the junior men's division at the USAT&F National Championships. Lunn also proved to be a vital backbone in Stanford's success last year, including finishing sixth among Stanford runners as the Cardinal captured the Pac-10 title. Nutter, a senior, has been an important fixture of Stanford's success since arriving in 1994. Last year, he placed 15th to earn All-America honors and helped lead the Cardinal to victory at the NCAA's. McCalmon will provide valuable depth on this year's team. Perscheid finished fifth among Stanford runners as the Cardinal won the NCAA District-8 title, and was sixth among Cardinal runners at the NCAA's. Weldon will be competing as a junior in 1997, and knows what it takes to win at the national level. Weldon was a member of Stanford's winning team at the NCAA District-8 meet.

Thomas Murley and Michael Stember are two redshirt freshmen who are ready to showcase their talents in 1997. Although redshirted in 1996, Murley did compete in the junior men's division at the USAT&F National Cross Country Championships where he finished sixth and thus nailed down a spot on the U.S. Junior National team that competed at the World Championships in Italy in 1997. Stember, despite his youth, has already competed not only on the national level but the international circuit as well. The competition was in track at the U.S. Junior Nationals at 1,500 meters, and at the Pan Am Games in Chile in 1995 and in Cuba in 1997. Nevertheless, the tough competition will bode well for him in cross country. Stember did, however, compete in track at Stanford in 1997, placing third in the 800 meters at the conference meet in Seattle and ninth at the NCAAs.

Other returnees to watch include David Abril, Wesley Arnett, Jeffrey Fischer, Jorn Grimsley, Michael Prindiville and Seth Williams.

Lananna and his staff enjoyed another outstanding recruiting season. The list of recruits include Brian Burke, Jamey Gifford, Isaac Hawkins, Gabriel Jennings, Jonathon Riley and Grant Robison.

The Cardinal women will be very experienced, talented and with unlimited potential.

"Our goal is to start fresh, stay healthy and aim for the NCAA title," said Beth Alford-Sullivan, who will coach the women's team this fall.

Stanford lost two talented runners to graduation, Leila Burr and Monal Chokshi, but the list of returnees is awesome. The list includes Mary Cobb, Kortney Dunscombe, Jessica Fry, Sally Glynn, Sara Moore, and Sarna Renfro.

Cobb, although only a junior, has already gained numerous All-America honors in cross country and track & field. At the NCAA's, Cobb was Stanford's third best runner and gained All-America status. She also placed sixth at the conference meet and seventh at the district meet. Dunscombe is a veteran of the Stanford program and has played a major role in Stanford's success since her arrival in 1994. Fry was Stanford's top runner and a fourth place finisher at both the Pac-10 and district meets, and was Stanford's second best runner and 16th overall at the NCAA's. Glynn, running as a freshman last year, ran like a seasoned veteran, running in five races, including the Pac-10 and NCAA District-8 meets. After the season, she captured first place at the USAT&F National Cross Country Championships. Moore played a major role in Stanford's success in 1996, finishing as the team's #5 runner at the NCAA District-8 and NCAA Championships. Renfro has become one of Stanford's great runners, not only in cross country, but in track as well. Her experience and talent were vital in Stanford's success in winning the NCAA, District-8 and Pac-10 titles.

Other returnees from last year include Shaluinn Fullove, Mary Huang, Kerry Dugan, Ashley Holt, Linn Schulte-Sasse, Ryan Thomas, and Allison Twist. All these runners will make for great competition as the season progresses.

The redshirts include Courtney Adams, and Christy Lacey-Krietz.

The talented group of freshmen include Julia Stamps, Becky Gogel, Anne Gunnison, Ann Ramsey, and Elena Villarreal.

Stamps could emerge as one of the great runners in Stanford history. Stamps has won numerous races, including being a three-time California state cross country winner. Gogel has also won numerous cross country and track titles and Gunnison was the MVP of her team all four years in high school. Ramsey captured the 1995 and '96 Washington state cross country titles, while Villarreal captured numerous titles in Colorado.