Nov. 17, 2011
GOLDEN BEARS MEET NATION'S BEST AT NCAA MEET: Cal's 23rd-ranked women's cross country looks to cap off one of the finest seasons in school history when the Golden Bears compete at the NCAA Championships Monday on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's race will begin at approximately 10 a.m. PT after the conclusion of the men's event.
Cal, which has been ranked as high as 10th in the country this fall, qualified for the national meet for just the third time ever. The Bears were 15th in 1984 and placed ninth in 1988. Cal has sent individuals to compete seven times since, including last year when Deborah Maier earned All-America honors for her 30th-place finish, but this marks the first time in 23 years the Bears will have their full team in attendance.
A total of 31 cross country programs will vie for the title - 18 automatic qualifiers from each of nine regions across the country, plus 13 at-large schools. After placing fifth at the West Regional meet, Cal earned one of five at-large berths from the West.
NCAA WEST REGIONAL RECAP: Cal's men's and women's programs finished fifth at the NCAA West Regional meet contested Saturday, Nov. 12 at Stanford. Junior Collin Jarvis paced the Bear men with his 19th-place showing, while senior Maxime Chevee took 25th. Cal finished ahead of two ranked teams - No. 17 Oregon and No. 21 UCLA - but the result wasn't enough to push the squad into the NCAA Championships.
For the women, senior Deborah Maier was the regional runner-up for the second year in a row, this time crossing the line just seven seconds behind winner Jordan Hasay of Oregon. Senior Chelsea Reilly had a career-best performance when she claimed ninth. As a team, the Bears' fifth-place finish matched their highest result since they were second at regionals in 1988.
MAIER GOES BACK2BACK: Senior Deborah Maier has not finished lower than third in any of her four races this year. She opened the season by 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. Maier later took third at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and earned runner-up honors at NCAA West Regionals.
CAL IN THE POLLS: Cal's women's team is ranked 23rd entering the NCAA Championships. The Bears debuted at No. 10 after their performance at the Roy Griak Invitational in September and held onto the position for a month. Cal fell to 29th after a seventh-place finish at the Pac-12 meet when the Bears competed without lead runner Deborah Maier, who sat out with an ankle injury. She returned to competition at the West Regional Championships and, subsequently, Cal moved up to 23rd in the country.
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) ... the Cal men, who participated in three NCAA Championships races in four years (2007, '08 and '10 ), just missed out on a berth this season. They are receiving votes in the current coaches' poll ... Collin Jarvis, Maxime Chevee, Deborah Maier and Chelsea Reilly all earned All-West Region honors in 2011. Maier claimed the honor for the third time, while Chevee has been recognized twice.
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.