Nov. 22, 2010
Terre Haute, Ind. - It was not everything Stanford hoped for, but it was a solid day at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The men's team returned to the podium with a fourth-place finish, while the women placed 13th.
The podium finish for the men was the 12th in school history and the first since 2008. The Cardinal finished with 237 points, while Oklahoma State repeated as NCAA champions with 73. Florida State had a surprising runner-up finish with 193, while Wisconsin was third with 223.
"We went into the meet in the position to compete for the title," said head coach Jason Dunn. "We just didn't get it done."
The Cardinal men were led by Chris Derrick and Jacob Riley who placed fifth and sixth overall. Stanford's top runners chose not to go with the leaders, instead run at the front of the chase pack. Derrick controlled the pack to finish in 29:44.7 with Riley just over his shoulder in 29:45.0
"Chris and Jake did a great job running up front," said Dunn.
Elliott Heath also ran in that pack, but was unable to hold the pace for the full 10,000 meters. The senior fell to 42nd with a time of 30:35.5.
Samuel Chelanga of Liberty repeated as the individual NCAA Champion, covering the course in a time of29:22.2, while Stephen Sambu of Arizona was second in 29:26.5.
Stanford's other two scorers were J.T. Sullivan and Erik Olson. Sullivan placed 100th with a time of 31:09.6, while Olson was 132nd in 31:28.1. Olson was knocked down early in the race and took some time to recover.
Completing the Stanford squad were Riley Sullivan in 196th and Miles Unterreiner in 239th. Sullivan finished with a time of 32:05.2, while Unterreiner was at 33:29.5.
"You need five to run well on the day," said Dunn. "Today we just didn't have that. It is very disappointing."
The Cardinal women placed 13th with 402 points. Villanova repeated as NCAA Champions with just 120 points, while Florida State, Texas Tech and Georgetown rounded out the podium.
A month after the closest Pac-10 meet in history, the Pac-10 teams were all closely bunch again with Arizona and Oregon placing directly in front of Stanford in 11th and 12th, while Washington was not far behind in 16th. The four teams were separated by just 41 points.
"It was a tough race for the Pac-10 overall," said Dunn. "There were four really good teams that beat up on each other all season and today everyone just struggled a little bit."
The Cardinal had some unfortunate luck with Kathy Kroeger being unable to finish the race because of injury. Kroeger was the Pac-10 runner-up and had been Stanford No. 1 runner at every meet so far this year. Her absence cost Stanford a spot among the top-10 teams and likely more. With just an average race from Kroeger Stanford likely would have finished in the top six.
In Kroeger's absence, Stephanie Marcy stepped up to assume the duties of the No. 1 runner. Marcy was the No. 1 at last year's NCAA meet where she finished 53rd and continued her consistency, placing 55th this season. Her time of 21:02.4 was less than 10 seconds from the top-40 places that are considered All-America.
Sheila Reid of the NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats took the individual title with a time of 20:06.9. Emily Infeld of Georgetown was the runner-up, while Pac-10 champion Jordan Hasay of Oregon was third.
Also placing in the top-100 for Stanford were Alex Dunne and Jessica Tonn. Dunne was 85th with a time of 21:14.1, while Tonn was 96th in 21:19.6.
Completing Stanford's scoring were Georgia Griffin in 131st and Alex Gits in 165th. Griffin ran a time of 21:35.4, while Gits was at 21:53.2.
Also competing was Madeline Duhon, who was 244th with a time of 23:20.5.
This completes the cross-country season for Stanford. The Cardinal will now have a few weeks to get over any aches and pains before training for the indoor track and field seasons begins. Indoors begins at the University of Washington Indoor Preview on Jan. 15, 2011.