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Brief: Cross country secures qualification for NCAA Championships

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The Stanford cross country teams took care of business on Saturday, performing admirably at the NCAA West Regional and virtually clinching spots at the NCAA Championships.

The No. 2 men are locks for nationals on Nov. 22 after finishing second overall at regionals. The team approached the 10,000-meter course with a different strategy than it has used in past races, electing to stick together instead of sending its three stars- Jake Riley, Chris Derrick and Elliott Heath-to the front of the pack. Stanford placed just two points behind winner Oregon with 65 total points. The Cardinal beat the Ducks two weeks ago at the Pac-10 Championships in Seattle.

Derrick led the way for Stanford, finishing in seventh overall, although Heath and Riley finished just fractions of a second behind his time of 30:14.57 in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Redshirt freshman Andrew Berberick and redshirt sophomore Miles Unterreiner also ran well for the Card, finishing in 21st and 22nd, respectively.

The women, up to No. 4 in the national rankings after a gutsy conference championship performance, placed third at the 6,000-meter regional, behind rivals Washington and Oregon. Sophomore Kathy Kroeger, who has led the Cardinal in every race thus far this year, once again set the pace for Stanford, finishing in fifth place overall with a time of 20:13.47. Kroeger, along with redshirt junior Steph Marcy (11th) and sophomore Alex Dunne (17th), helped propel the Cardinal to a final score of 86 points.

While a third-place finish does not guarantee an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, the Cardinal has all but locked up an at-large bid to contend for a national title.

The NCAA Championships will be held in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22.

Zach Zimmerman