The West Regional
The 2011 NCAA West Regional will be contested at the Stanford Golf Course on November 12. The first race will be the men's 10,000-meter race at 10 a.m. and will be followed by the women's 6,000-meter race at 11:15 a.m. The top two teams in each race qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships, along with the top four individuals not on qualifying teams. In addition, teams around the country are competing for 13 at-large berths, which will be awarded based on a season-long points system developed by the NCAA, with priority toward top regional placers. Historically, the West Region has received several at-large bids and could receive as many as five this year for both the men and the women.
Live results will be posted at the meet central page on gostanford.com. In addition, flotrack.com will be in attendance providing its usual post-race interviews.
The men's race features four ranked teams, led by No. 6 and host Stanford. The Cardinal were the Pac-12 runner-up to Colorado, but the Buffaloes run out of the Mountain Region. No. 8 Portland was also its conference runner-up, falling to BYU in the West Coast Conference Championships. The win by BYU ended Portland's 32 -year dominance of the WCC, but BYU also runs out of the Mountain Region. Other ranked teams are No. 17 Oregon, who is the defending champion in this meet and No. 21 UCLA. Receiving votes in the USTFCCCA Poll are Cal Poly, Washington State, Arizona State and California and each could be a threat to make the national meet.
Stanford will be led by Chris Derrick who was the 2009 West Regional Champion and the Pac-12 runner-up this season. While Stanford is the favorite on the men's side, the only goal is to advance and winning would just be a bonus. Jacob Riley could also contend for the title as Stanford will attempt to pack runners up front. Defending champion Trevor Dunbar of Portland returns to defend his title, but the individual favorite has to be Arizon freshman sensation Lawi Lelang.
The women's race features an even deeper field with six ranked teams. Pac-12 runner-up No. 6 Washington leads the way, but No. 8 Stanford is not far behind. Also from the Pac-12 are No. 11 Oregon, No. 16 Arizona and No. 26 California as the conference is among the best in the country. No. 27 San Francisco won the WCC meet and will be looking for its first-ever trip to the NCAA meet. Pac-12 Champion Colorado runs out of the Mountain Region, but the West is still a loaded region that could have several teams move onto the national meet. Arizona State is also a threat, having finished sixth at the Pac-12 Championships, ahead of California.
Stanford will be led by Kathy Kroeger who was the Pac-12 runner-up and defeated 2010 Regional Champion Jordan Hasay at the Pac-12 meet. Katie Flood of Washington won the Pac-12 title and WCC champ Tara Erdmann of LMU will also be a factor. Stanford will need contributions from freshmen as well as newcomer Claire Durkin, in addition to veteran Stepahnie Marcy and sophomore Jessica Tonn.
Last Year at the West Regional
A season ago, the Cardinal men entered the West Regional meet as the No. 2 team in the nation fresh off a Pac-10 title, won in dominating fashion. Two weeks after running 1-2-3 at the Pac-10 meet, Elliott Heath, Jacob Riley and Chris cruised to the line finishing 7-8-9. The trio was not necessarily seeking the team win, just making sure it advanced and kept the legs as fresh as possible. Andrew Berberick and Miles Unterriener completed the top-5 scorers for Stanford as it fell two points short of Oregon for the team title, but still advanced easily as the second automatic bid.
The women were also coming off a Pac-10 title and entered the meet with a No. 4 national ranking. However, the West was deeper on the women's side, making the race more competitive. The Cardinal finished third, but were within 13 points of the lead. The third-place finish made Stanford the first team selected as an at-large to run at the national meet. Kathy Kroeger led the Cardinal with a fifth-place finish, while Stephanie Marcy and Alex Dunne were both in the top 20.
The 2011 Pac-10 Championships
Both Stanford teams headed into the Pac-12 Championships hoping to bookend winning the final Pac-10 title in 2010 with the first Pac-12 titles in 2011. However, it was newcomer Colorado earning the sweep as the Stanford men settled for second, while the women were third. The Stanford men led through four runners, but the lack of a strong fifth man was the difference as the Buffaloes earned the seven-point victory. On the women's side Colorado had a stellar day to cruise to the title, while Stanford was third, but just two points behind Washington for second.
Derrick and Kroeger led their teams, both finishing as the individual conference runner-up. Riley placed fourth for the men, while Marcy was seventh in the women's race as each took home All-Pac-12 honors. Brendan Gregg who was 10th and Jessica Tonn who was 11th also ran strong for the Cardinal.
The men's team is loaded with All-Americans, although many of those honors have come on the track. Chris Derrick owns 10 All-America honors in his career, including three on the cross-country course. Derrick has finished seventh, third and sixth in his first three NCAA Cross Country Championships as he looks to become the first Stanford athlete to win an individual title in cross country. Jake Riley is the other Stanford male with an All-America honor in cross country, having finished seventh last season. He own a total of five All-America honors for his career, including three-straight in the 10,000 meters outdoors. Other returning All-Americans include a pair of steeplechasers, J.T. Sullivan and Benjamin Johnson. Sullivan is a two-time All-American in the event, while Johnson earned his first last spring. Andrew Berberick earned his All-America honor as a part of the distance medley relay, while Miles Unterreiner was second-team All-America in the 5,000 meters indoors and honorable mention in the 10,000 meters outdoors.
The young women's team has not had the same opportunity to collect All-America honors, but that does not mean that they do not have any. Stephanie Marcy is a four-time All-American, including three first team awards. She has twice been an All-American over 10,000 meters on the track and is looking for her first in cross country this season. Also looking for her first honor in cross country is Kathy Kroeger, who has twice earned All-America status during the outdoor season in the 5,000 meters.
Coaching Them Up
Associate Cross Country Coach Jason Dunn returns for his fourth season at Stanford. He has three Pac-10 titles (two men, one women) to his credit and has led the Cardinal men to three top-10 national finishes. This season, PattiSue Plumer has been added as Associate Cross Country Coach and will work mostly with the women's team, leaving Dunn to concentrate mostly on the men. Plumer is one of Stanford's all-time great distance runners having won two NCAA titles and being named to the Stanford Hall of Fame. Plumer was also a 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympian and brings a breadth of running knowledge to Stanford.