Wildcat Men's XC Finish 2nd at NCAA West Regional, Women 6th
TROUTDALE, Ore. The University of Arizona men's cross country team secured an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships by finishing second at the NCAA West Regional at Blue Lake Park in Troutdale, Ore. The Wildcat women likely will earn an at large bid to the NCAA meet after finishing sixth at the meet.
The Arizona men's team finished with 74 points, while Stanford won the title with 40 points. The Cardinal positioned themselves in front of the pack and slowed the pace. Arizona was content, however, to run with Stanford, whom the Wildcats beat two weeks ago at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships. Oregon's Steve Fein won the individual title in 30:30
"Second is as good as first at this meet," said Arizona head coach Dave Murray. "We accomplished our goal of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. We had a very good day, running well and not having to use a whole lot of energy."
Senior Micheil Jones was Arizona's top finisher at the meet, placing third in 30:39 on the 10,000m course. Junior David Lopez was 12th in 30:57. Senior Brent Pedersen continued his solid running of late, finishing 17th in 31:06. Sophomores Steve Smith and Mike Cramer finished 20th (31:10) and 22nd (31:19), respectively. Non-scorers for Arizona were Tom Prindiville (40th, 32:01) and Jeremy Lyon (54th, 32:47).
Arizona's women finished sixth with 166 points, as the Cardinal women won the team title with 29. UCLA and Oregon's women finished just ahead of the Wildcats with 139 and 158 points, which will likely help Arizona secure a berth to the NCAA meet. Stanford's Julia Stamps won the individual title in 16:50.
Sophomore Tara Chaplin was the top finisher for the women's team in 12th place (17:31) on the 5,000m course. Fellow sophomores Erin Doherty and Jennifer Burris finished 33rd (18:10) and 34th (18:11), respectively, while junior Katrin Engelen was 35th in 18:12. Freshman Kimberly Bates was 53rd in 18:26. Freshman Mandee Ash was the Wildcats' non-scorer in 73rd place in 18:50.
The men's team automatically advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Bloomington, Ind., Nov. 22, based on its second place finish. Four at-large teams were taken from the West Region last year, so the Wildcat women expect to be in good shape. Chaplin definitely qualified as an individual. She was the highest finisher on a team that did not qualify automatically. The field will be announced by the NCAA Monday.
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MEDIA ADVISORY Those wishing to contact Arizona head coach Dave Murray or team members before the NCAA meet should contact Cross Country SID Ryan Eigenbrode () to set up an interview. The team will leave Saturday, Nov. 20, at 9 a.m.