Nov. 8, 2011
THIS WEEK IN CAL CROSS COUNTRY
GOLDEN BEARS AT NCAA WEST REGIONALS: With invitations to the NCAA Championships on the line, the Cal men's and women's cross country teams will compete for national berths at the West Regional meet Saturday. Racing on the Stanford Golf Course begins at 10 a.m. for the men's 10,000-meter race, while the women's 6000-meter event starts at 11:15 a.m.
The top two teams from each race will automatically qualify for the NCAA meet set for Monday, Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. The rest of the 31-team field - 13 at-large schools after factoring in other regional qualifiers - will be announced Sunday.
The men's field features four team ranked in the top 30 in the country in No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Portland, No. 17 Oregon and No. 21 UCLA. The Bears are among those receiving votes after an encouraging performance at the recent Pac-12 Championships. The Cal women, currently at No. 26, are one of six ranked women's teams, with the others being No. 6 Washington, No. 8 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon, No. 16 Arizona and No. 27 San Francisco.
Last year, both Bear squads had impressive races. The men placed third - their highest ever at regionals - while the women were fifth for their best showing since 1988. Deborah Maier was the individual runner-up, which was highest for a Cal woman since Suzanne Richter claimed the 1981 regional title.
MAIER GOES BACK2BACK: Senior Deborah Maier started out 2-for-2 this season, claiming individual titles at the Sac State Jamboree Sept. 10 and the Roy Griak Invitational Sept. 24. She finished the Sac State race 31 seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer and posted a 12-second victory at the Griak in a field that included eight ranked teams. The only first-team All-Pac-10 choice in school history, Maier has earned the honor the last two years. In addition, she secured All-America status in 2010 with a 30th-place showing at the NCAA Championships.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING?: Should the men and women qualify for the NCAA Championships, it will mark the first time both squads have advanced to nationals in the same year. Cal's men have gone in three of the past four years, while the women are seeking their first invitation since 1988.
CAL IN THE POLLS: Competing without their top runner (Deborah Maier - ankle), the Cal women placed seventh at the Pac-12 Championships and, as a result, fell from the 10th position in the national USTFCCCA poll to 26th. The Bear men, meanwhile, picked up several votes after their fifth-place conference result.
PAC-12 MEET REVIEW: The Cal men finished fifth and an injury-impacted Golden Bear women's squad took seventh at the Pac-12 Championships run Oct. 29 at the Wigwam Golf Course outside Tempe, Ariz. Junior Collin Jarvis paced the men's team by placing 11th, up from a 22nd-place showing last year. The result marked the fourth time in four races this season that Jarvis has led the Bears across the finish line. Cal's women were without leading runner and All-American Deborah Maier, a two-time first-team all-league choice, who sat out the competition to rest a sore ankle so that she will be ready to run at the NCAA West Regional. In her absence, senior Chelsea Reilly led the way in the 20th position.
GOLDEN BEAR NOTES: The women's squad has won two races this year - the USF Invitational and the Roy Griak Invitational (tie with Iowa State) ... freshman Kelsey Santisteban won the USF Invitational Sept. 3, setting a course record along the way (17:17 over 5000 meters) senior Maxime Chevee spent a couple of years in Berkeley as a toddler while his father earned a Cal MBA before returning to his native France ... the Cal men are ranked sixth in the West Region, while the women's team is seventh.
HEAD COACH Tony Sandoval: Tony Sandoval is in his 20th season as head coach of the Cal men's and women's cross country teams and his 30th year overall at the university. Also in his fifth year as head men's and women's track & field coach, Sandoval was the head women's track & field and cross country coach at Cal from 1982-91, prior to the merger of the men's and women's programs into a single entity in 1992. He has guided the Golden Bear men's cross country team to its best finishes in school history, claiming 15th place at the NCAA championship meet in 2007, 22nd in '08 and 31st in '10. A combined nine men's and women's runners have gained All-American status under his guidance. The Bear women finished 15th at the 1984 NCAA meet, then returned in 1988 to take ninth.