Oct. 30, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Sophomore Deborah Maier's sixth-place finish helped the California women's cross country team take fifth overall at the Pac-10 championships Friday - the program's highest placing since the Golden Bears were third in the 1988 conference meet. Cal claimed seventh place in the men's competition.
Maier, who completed the 6000-meter course in 20:00.10, had the best showing for a Bear individual at Pac-10s since Elissa Riedy was also sixth in 1997. Maier also improved on last year's team-best 41st-place finish at the '08 conference championships.
In addition, freshman Ellie Keene crossed the line in the 20th position (20:37.14) and sophomore Keena Kohl was 31st in 20:57.50. The Bears also got strong performances from senior Alison Greggor (34th, 21:01.47), Rowena Tam (39th, 21:08.65) and sophomore Michelle Davis (40th, 21:10.80). Others competing for the Bears included Sofia Oberg (50th, 21:33.61), freshman Nicole Hough (56th, 21:45.94) and sophomore Taylor Dutch (59th, 21:51.27).
Washington captured the women's team competition with 35 points with four runners among the top eight. Oregon second with 42 points, followed by Arizona State (3rd, 110), Stanford (4th, 111) and Cal (5th, 128).
"I'm really pleased for the women, who made a significant breakthrough with their fifth-place finish today," head coach Tony Sandoval said. "We've had potential, but have fallen short before for one reason or another. Today was validation and payoff for their belief in each other and hard work. I know it will be a springboard for the bigger honor down the road.
"Deborah Maier was spectacular today as she finished with so much strength," he added. "She was passing good runners in the last mile. She's made a statement that she's a talent to be reckoned with in the future."
On the men's side, Steve Sodaro was the first Bear to finish the 8000-meter course, taking 18th in 23:41.41. Junior Kari Karlsson was 27th in 24:02.06 and freshman Renaud Poizat earned a spot in the top 50 by claiming 48th in 24:42.66. The rest of the Cal lineup featured freshman Cody Schmidt (51st, 24:48.49), freshman Collin Jarvis (55th, 24:54.57), freshman Matt Petersen (58th, 25:03.16) and freshman Simon Schmidt (66th, 26:07.61).
Stanford, which had five of the top 11 runners, won the men's race with 28 total points. Oregon was second with 45 points and Arizona State third with 88. Cal totaled 180 points.
"The men had a disappointing finish in a loaded field with five ranked teams," Sandoval said. "The guys were hampered with illness to Collin Jarvis, Matt Petersen and Chris Vizcaino. Maxime Chevee was left home with a foot injury. Chris, a consistent top-five runner, was unable to fnish today. Nevertheless, they are optimistic that they can be a top-five team when healthy and challenge for an at-large spot at regionals.
"Steve Sodaro ran a career race with his 18th-place finish," Sandoval said. "He has been fighting illness for a month and we're encouraged that he can have a banner season at regionals and nationals."
After a week off, the Bears return to completion at NCAA regionals Nov. 14 in Springfield, Ore.
2009 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships
Women's Team Standings (6000 meters): 1. Washington 35; 2. Oregon 42; 3. Arizona State 110; 4. Stanford 111; 5. California 128; 6. Arizona 130; 7. UCLA 207; 8. Oregon State 239; 9. USC 260; 10. Washington State 261.
Individual Winner: Nicole Blood (Oregon) 19:41.71. Cal Finishers: 6. Deborah Maier 20:01.10; 20. Ellie Keene 20:37.14; 31. Keena Kohl 20:57.50; 34. Alison Greggor 21:01.47; 39. Rowena Tam 21:08.65; 40. Michelle Davis 21:10.80); 50. Sofia Oberg 21:33.61; 56. Nicole Hough 21:45.94; 59. Taylor Dutch 21:51.27.
Men's Team Standings (8000 meters): 1. Stanford 28; 2. Oregon 45; 3. Arizona state 88; 4. Washington 119; 5. UCLA 122; 6. Washington State 163; 7. California 180; 8. Arizona 193.
Individual Winner: Chris Derrick (Stanford) 22:35.41. Cal Finishers: 18. Steve Sodaro 23:41.41; 27. Kari Karlsson 24:02.06; 48. Renaud Poizat 24:42.66; 51. Cody Schmidt 24:48.49; 55. Collin Jarvis 24:54.57; 58. Matt Petersen 25:03.16; 66. Simon Schmidt 26:07.61.