On Friday, the Cardinal men and women kept their seasons alive at the NCAA West Regional in Seattle, Washington. To qualify for the national championships, teams had to place in the top two slots at their regional meet or hope for one of the thirteen at-large bids. Stanford left nothing to chance, winning the men’s race and finishing as the runner-up in the women’s event.
The men moved up to the 10K distance for this meet, instead of the typical 8K they have run for most of the regular season. The individual competition had a familiar feel to it, as the University of Arizona took yet another 1-2 finish in good racing conditions on Jefferson Park Golf Course, with defending NCAA individual champion Lawi Lalang running away from teammate Stephen Sambu 29:02 to 29:38. But the Rosa twins kept contact with the lead group and led Stanford with top-six finishes, Joe in fourth (29:44) and Jim in sixth (29:52).
In the team competition, No. 3 Stanford dominated with 45 points, easily finishing ahead of No. 9 Portland (107 points). The Cardinal had four top-20 finishers in addition to the Rosas redshirt junior Tyler Stutzman in 10th (29:56), redshirt senior Benjamin Johnson 12th (30:00), junior Erik Olson 13th (30:01) and redshirt senior Miles Unterreiner 16th (30:04).
It was the 13th men’s title for the Cardinal and first under head coach Chris Miltenberg since he took over the Stanford running program this year. “We did everything we talked about,” Miltenberg said. “We did all the things we needed to practice going into next week: being assertive, building together and running strong to the finish.”
The women’s race was the normal 6K and the individual finish was tighter than the men’s. Oregon senior Jordan Hasay edged Cal Poly freshman Laura Hollander, the surprise winner of the Wisconsin Invitational, to claim the individual title, 19:16 to 19:22. Stanford senior Kroeger, the Pac-12 champion, kept contact with that duo, finishing in 19:27 to claim third.
For the team competition, the results were similar to two weeks before at Pac-12s. The Ducks, led by Hasay, won comfortably with 64 points ahead of No. 5 Stanford and No. 4 Arizona. The Cardinal and Wildcats both had 85 points, but Stanford claimed second on a rare tiebreaker. Normally, only the top five finishers count for the team score and the lowest total of their points wins. But this time, the sixth runner’s finish was the deciding factor since the top five were even.
The Cardinal top five was rounded out by Cayla Hatton in fifth (19:51), Aisling Cuffe ninth (19:53), Jessica Tonn 27th (20:19) and Megan Lacy 41st (20:46). And Justine Pedronic’s 64th place finish was well ahead of Arizona’s six runner Clea Formaz’s 79th.
“This was a huge step for our women,” Miltenberg told GoStanford.com. “They took a big step forward in terms of keeping their composure and running together.”
Both Stanford teams will look to end their year with strong showings at the NCAA championships in Louisville, Kentucky. As noted by The Daily in our feature on Unterreiner, this meet was normally held the Monday before Thanksgiving, but the NCAA has now moved it to the traditional day for cross country races of Saturday. It will be then that Miltenberg, the who coached last year’s women’s champion Georgetown, will look to bring Stanford its first cross country title in five years.
“The biggest thing is that we run the way we’ve always been running,” Miltenberg said. “If we focus on what we’re doing, anything is possible.”