ASU to host Pac-12 Cross Country championship

In the Pac-12's conference inaugural season, the league's first ever title will be determined in Phoenix. Arizona State is hosting the 2011 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29. In the Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park.

"It's quite an honor to host the first ever Pac-12 championship and it will be quite the meet," said Arizona State's Men's Cross Country Head Coach Louie Quintana. "We're in a great conference and on the Men's side there are only nine teams and six of us are ranked in the Top 25 in the country (ASU is ranked 25th).

"So there isn't a lot of wiggle room, but it will be exciting for the local fans and the home team to be able to compete here."

The competition on the women's side figures to be even more intense with five Pac-12 teams currently ranked in the top 11.

All in all, the Pac-12 has recorded 20 national titles (12 men, 8 women, two of the men's titles were by Colorado when they were in the Big-12) and 19 individual titles. Four of the last nine NCAA team titles on the men's side have been won by a Pac-12 team and five of the last eight on the women's side.

This is the second consecutive year that the Sun Devils have hosted a conference a cross country championship and last season both the men and women finished second in that event.

"We practiced there (at the Wigwam Golf Resort) once," said Quintana of this year's event location. "Being that it's a public golf course we haven't been able to get out there often. So we do have a little bit of the lay of the land.

"But I don't know if that really gives us an advantage. People in our sport are very fit and that balances things out. If the weather is warm, maybe it gives us an advantage and the weather is supposed to be in the 80's."

This event is expected to tract about 200 runners, and 23 of them have Arizona ties such as Oregon's Sarah Penney (Xavier Prep) and Stanford's Jessica Tonn (Xavier Prep). The ASU women's team's top runner is Lindsay Prescott, who prepped at Sandra Day O'Connor High School.

A number of the runners such as Lawi Lalang (University of Arizona, Kenya), Chris Derrick (Stanford) and Jordan Hasay (Oregon) are All-American caliber runners who could be representing their country in future Olympic games.

The men's race begins Saturday at 9 a.m., the women follow at 10 a.m. Admission is free.

Fans can click here to access the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships website.

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