Oct. 27, 2012
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - All-Americans Megan Goethals and Joey Bywater stepped up to lead the Husky cross country teams to strong all-around efforts at the Pac-12 Championships today at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course. The sixth-ranked Husky women's team was fourth overall, but right behind three top-five teams, while the UW men had their best performance of the season, placing sixth, but only 14 points separated them from third-place.
Hosted by UCLA at the golf course northeast of Los Angeles, the meet will be broadcast on a tape delay basis on the Pac-12 Networks so check your local listings. In the final team standings, third-ranked Oregon won the women's race with 47 points, taking its first conference title since 1995. Fifth-ranked Arizona was second with 69 points, fourth-ranked Stanford was third with 82, and Washington was fourth with 92, with a big gap after that to 21st-ranked Colorado which was fifth with 124 and 24th-ranked UCLA which took sixth with 172 points.
It was the first time since 2005 that the Huskies did not finish in the top-three at the conference race, but does extend their streak of top-five finishes to 24 straight races.
No. 2 Colorado repeated as men's team champions with 49 points with No. 3 Stanford second with 82. Eighth-ranked Oregon was third with 105, then fourth was Arizona State (109), fifth was 15th-ranked UCLA (113), and the Huskies were just six points back of the Bruins in sixth-place with 119. After UW it was a big gap back to Arizona (166) for seventh, with California and Washington State rounding out the field.
Arizona State, UCLA, and the Huskies figure to be mixing it up again at Regionals in two weeks in Seattle trying to earn a spot in the national meet.
The story of the day for the women's team was the return of All-American junior Megan Goethals, who had yet to run a race this season after coming back from a stress fracture and had not been training long before today's race. Goethals was up at the front of the chase pack much of the first couple miles, and she led got to the finish line in 12th-place overall to lead the Huskies.
Following right behind Goethals was senior Lindsay Flanagan, as they both crossed within the same second at 20-minutes, 37-seconds. Flanagan was 14th, her best ever finish at Pac-12s as she had never broken the top-30 before. Right behind Flanagan was junior Justine Johnson, matching her career-best Pac-12 finish with a 15th-place run in 20:38. Johnson has placed in the top-25 at all three of her conference races.
Junior Liberty Miller had a big career-best 25th-place finish in 21:04. Running close to home, the Simi Valley, Calif. native had a previous best Pac-12 finish of 36th. Completing the top-five scorers for UW was junior Katie Flood, who had a tough day as the defending individual champion, finishing 26th right behind Miller in 21:05. Freshman Maddie Meyers was the sixth Husky across in 46th-place, and senior Kayla Evans completed the top-seven, finishing 58th overall. Joelle Amaral was 60th and Anna Dailey was 65th.
"Our women had a solid day, it was not a great day but we had some great things happen," said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "We saw the return of Megan Goethals who ran a great, tough race and she instantly makes our team better. Lindsay Flanagan had by far her best Pac-12 Championships, Justine and Libby ran very solid as well. It was not Katie's best day for sure, but she's our fifth runner and still helped us out even not feeling at her best.
"We talked about how a team could finish fourth at this meet and still expect to make some noise at the NCAA Championships, and it played out that we're in that spot. So we have some progress to make over the next three weeks."
Bywater, competing in his final Pac-12 meet, matched his 16th-place finish from a year ago, clocking 23:58 over the 8,000-meter course. Second year Dawgs Tyler King and Aaron Nelson then turned in their first top-25 finishes, as King, a redshirt freshman, was 22nd overall in 24:12 and Nelson was 25th in 24:15, a twelve place improvement from last season.
Senior Rob Webster, Jr. came in 27th, matching his career-best finish, and sophomore Aaron Beattie completed the top-five in 24:23 for 33rd-place. The Huskies had a nice 25-second separation between their one and five finishers. Michael Miller, Jr. was 42nd and Gareth Gilna finished 52nd to complete the top-seven, and additional finishers were Bryan Tibaduiza in 60th-place, Taylor Carlson in 75th, and Kyle Rae in 77th.
"This was our best collective race of the year on the men's side," Metcalf said. "Obviously we'd love to be standing here talking about a third-place finish, and we were just a few spots away from that, but we are moving in the right direction at the right time.
"Joey ran under 24-minutes for the fourth time this season, which he's never done before. Tyler King and Aaron Nelson, two weeks ago in Wisconsin they were both on the verge of great races and they both stepped it up today and delivered the goods. Robby Webster and Aaron Beattie both ran solid to close out the scoring for us. So I think we're on the bubble right now and we're very excited to get back to Seattle for Regionals and try to find a way to get to the national championships."
Jefferson Park Golf Course will host the NCAA West Regional meet for the first time ever on Friday, Nov. 9.
Washington Cross Country
2012 Pac-12 Championships
Santa Clarita, Calif. - Hosted by UCLA
Robinson Ranch Golf Course
Women's Results (6,000-meters)
Team Standings: 1. Oregon 47; 2. Arizona 69; 3. Stanford 82; 4. Washington 92; 5. Colorado 124; 6. UCLA 172; 7. Utah 200; 8. California 209; 9. Arizona State 210; 10. USC 295; 11. Oregon State 305; 12. Washington State 308
Individual Champion: Kathy Kroeger, Stanford, 20:06.
Husky Finishers: 12. Megan Goethals 20:37; 14. Lindsay Flanagan 20:37; 15. Justine Johnson 20:38; 25. Liberty Miller 21:04; 26. Katie Flood 21:05; 46. Maddie Meyers 21:45; 58. Kayla Evans 22:05; 60. Joelle Amaral 22:09; 65. Anna Dailey 22:12;
Men's Results (8,000-meters)
Team Standings: 1. Colorado 49; 2. Stanford 82; 3. Oregon 105; 4. Arizona State 109; 5. UCLA 113; 6. Washington 119; 7. Arizona 166; 8. Washington State 200; 9. California 234.
Individual Champion: Lawi Lalang, Arizona, 22:49
Husky Finishers: 16. Joey Bywater 23:58; 22. Tyler King 24:12; 25. Aaron Nelson 24:15; 27. Rob Webster, Jr. 24:17; 33. Aaron Beattie 24:23; 42. Michael Miller, Jr. 24:36; 52. Gareth Gilna 25:06; 60. Bryan Tibaduiza 25:13; 75. Taylor Carlson 26:06; 77. Kyle Rae 26:39.