Nov. 14, 2002
Santa Barbara, Calif. - When the gun sounds on Saturday, signaling the start of the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships, the Gaucho Cross Country teams will finally be put to the test. A season that began with the Fullerton Invitational back in August, will come down to a do-or-die contest on the Stanford University Golf Course in Palo Alto, with the region's top teams moving on to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on November 25th.
The Gaucho men's squad, 5th last year, will look to senior J.T. Service (San Jose, CA) in their quest to return to the NCAA Championships. Service, fresh off a 4th-place individual finish at the Big West Championships, seems poised for a solid run in Palo Alto, after finishing 44th at the Regional meet in 2001. Senior Brandon von Guenthner, hampered by a painful abdominal strain, has shown the ability to run in the lead pack for the Gauchos when healthy, and could challenge for All-Region honors (top-25) after narrowly missing out last year (26th). Junior Chris White, 34th at Regionals last year, will lead a strong supporting contingent that includes Bryon Lamorandier (40th in 2001). New faces on the Regional scene include JC-transfer Ramiro Guillen, junior Jeff Gardina and sophomore Scott Brandos.
The Gaucho women, will look to a young group to propel them in their Nationals bid. After finishing 11th in 2001, a solid fall season, including a 2nd-place Big West team finish, makes a large Regional improvement seem logical. With many Gauchos competing at Regionals for the first time, the Gauchos will rely heavily on the leadership of senior Katie Appenrodt (Burlingame, CA). Appenrodt, 10th individually in 2001, and coming off a runner-up individual finish at the Big West Championships, has shown a consistent ability to run with the best in the nation, and will once again be counted among the leaders in Palo Alto.
Behind Appenrodt, sophomore Desiree Leek will run at Regionals for the first time, looking to continue a remarkable second season for coach Pete Dolan's Gauchos. Leek finished an all-conference 5th at Big West, and has run consistently in the number 2 spot for the Gaucho women. A strong group of freshmen include twins Lauren and Lindsay Christman and Stephanie Rothstein, with senior Lisa Dunn and junior Desiree Dejesus also having solid seasons.
The West region, typically one of the nation's strongest, looks tough once again led by the top-ranked, host Stanford men's team. The Cardinal swept the men's and women's team competition at the 2001 NCAA West Regional in Arizona, with Donald Sage the individual event winner. Lauren Fleshman, runner-up in 2001, returns for the #2-ranked Stanford women. Other teams entered on the men's side include 5th-ranked Oregon and #22 Arizona State. For the women, a deep and talented field includes 17th-ranked Arizona State, #21 Washington, and #23 UCLA.
Qualifying for the NCAA Championships is determined by regional performances from around the country. The top 2 teams, and the top 4 individuals (from non-qualifying teams) from each region will automatically earn a Nationals berth, with the remaining teams waiting for word from the NCAA Selection Committee to find out if they've earned an at-large bid. Head-to-head competition throughout the season determines at-large selection, with the Nationals field limited to 31 teams.
Saturday, November 16 (Women's 6K - 10 am, PT; Men's 10K - 11 am, PT) NCAA West Regional (Stanford Golf Course - Stanford, CA)
Entries can be found at: http://gostanford.ocsn.com/sports/c-xc/spec-rel/111102aaa.html
CURRENT 2002 MONDO MEN'S NCAA DIVISION I CROSS COUNTRY POLL (RELEASED NOVEMBER 5, 2002) 1. Stanford, 2. Arkansas, 3. Colorado, 4. Wisconsin, 5. Oregon, 6. Iona, 7. Eastern Michigan, 8. Northern Arizona; 9. Central Michigan, 10. Villanova, 11. Brigham Young, 12. Providence, 13. Weber State, 14. Montana State, 15. Colorado State, 16. Georgetown, 17. Ohio State, 18. Michigan, 19. North Carolina State, 20. Indiana, 21. Butler, 22. Arizona State, 23. Dartmouth, 24. Minnesota, 25. Alabama, 26. Utah State, 27. Texas, 28. Michigan State, 29. William & Mary, 30. LaSalle
CURRENT 2002 FINISH LYNX WOMEN'S NCAA DIVISION I CROSS COUNTRY POLL (RELEASED NOVEMBER 4, 2002) 1. Brigham Young, 2. Stanford, 3. Colorado, 4. Wake Forest, 5. Notre Dame, 6. North Carolina State, 7. Georgetown, 8. Columbia, 9. Northern Arizona, 10. Arkansas, 11. Virginia, 12. Michigan, 13. Missouri, 14. Duke, 15. Providence, 16. Villanova, 17. Arizona State, 18. North Carolina, 19. Michigan State, 20. Indiana, 21. Washington, 22. Marquette, 23. UCLA, 24. Penn State, 25. Boston College, 26. Toledo, 27. James Madison, 28. Colorado State, 29. Texas, 30. Wisconsin