Cross Country Preview

Here is a closer look at the strong Cardinal teams in both Men's and Women's Cross Country. The first Meet for Stanford is Saturday, Sept 8 at Chico State.

One of the strongest sports at Stanford is Cross Country, which has a long history of success. Last season, the Women were the NCAA Champions, also sweeping the West Regional and the Pac-10's. The Men were fourth in the NCAA, second in the West Regional and second in the Pac10. The Men finished only five points behind Oregon in the Pac-10, and beat the fifth place Ducks by one point in the NCAA.

THE WOMEN:

Stanford returns one of their all-time greats in fifth-year senior Ari Lambie. Lambie is one of the favorites to win the NCAA having finished fourth last season. She was the winner at both the Pac-10 and the West Regional. On the track, Lambie is third all-time in the 1500 and fifth all-time in the 5K. A many time All-American, Ari will be the leader of the Stanford Women's Team that likely will be favored to repeat in 2007 as the National Champion.

Two other outstanding runners return, Teresa McWalters and Lindsay Flacks. McWalters is in her final year and finished 31st at the NCAA and fourth at the Pac-10. She is also an All-American 5K runner. She'll be a force this year and a top 10 candidate at the NCAA. Flacks is a junior and was 56th at the NCAA and 13th at the Regional. It's hard to get a gauge on her because she's a rare XC runner who does not run Track.

Alicia Follmar and Lauren Centrowitz are two other runners who scored for Stanford in major meets last year. Alicia, a junior, was 18th in the Pac-10, 22nd in the Regional and 149th in the NCAA. On the track, she ran a 4:17 1500m and was a finalist in the NCAA. Lauren is a senior who was also a finalist at 1500m in the NCAA, and ran 4:18. She finished 12th in the Pac-10, 35th at the Regional and 172nd at the NCAA. Both will be counted on to replace the wonderful Trotter twins who graduated (with honors).

In XC, seven athletes are entered as possible scorers and the top 5 are counted in the score. Stanford returns three more runners who will vie for those seven spots. Kate Niehaus is a sophomore who was 43nd in the Pac-10, but showed her potential by placing 26th in the Regional. Senior Lindsay Allen is Stanford's record holder in the steeplechase at 10:01. Lindsay will improve dramatically from her 48th place finish last year in the Pac-10. Junior Mary Liz McCurdy finished 23rd in the Pac-10, ahead of both Niehaus and Allen. McCurdy did not run Outdoor Track last season, but hopefully is healthy now.

Newcomers:

The debut of one of 2005-06 great HS runners, Anne St Geme will highlight this season. Daughter of all-time great Ceci Hopp, and of one of seven relatives to play football at Stanford, Anne will be a great addition to this team. She missed both the XC and Track season last year with foot problems, but hopefully is now fully recovered.

Freshman Alex Gits was second at the Junior Olympic 5K in 16:50 and will contend for a top-seven spot. The third freshman highlighted here is Madeline Duhon, an American who went to high school in The Netherlands. Not much is known about her yet, but the rumor is Duhon is quite a prospect.

This preview leaves off seven other runners, further highlighting the fact that the Women's Cross Country team is talented and very deep.


THE MEN:

Stanford returns five of the top 33 Pac-10 scorers, so despite the loss of Brett Gotcher and Jonathan Pierce, quantity and depth remain for the Cardinal. They will battle Oregon in the West, and Wisconsin to maintain their 2006 fourth place NCAA finish, but Stanford has an outstanding mix of veterans and newcomers.

Nef Araia returns as one of the most decorated XC runners in Stanford history. In 2006, Nef was third in the Pac-10, won the Regional and second in the NCAA. The bad news was that he was sick or injured during the 2007 Track season. If fully recovered, Nef , now a senior, could rival the top runners in the NCAA. He is ninth all-time at Stanford in the 5K and fifth in the 10K, on the track.

Junior Garrett Health figures to be the #2 runner for the Cardinal. He ran a four-minute mile in the spring, and was an All-American in the 1500. Garrett was 22nd in the Pac-10, 18th in the Regional and 64th in the NCAA.

Hakon DeVries is a junior who missed the past Track season but had a productive 2006 XC season. Hakon was 21st in the Pac-10, and again 21st in the Regional. In the NCAA, he was 78th.

Next comes a group of five veterans, none of whom ran in the Regional or NCAA last season. Sophomore Steven Duplinsky was 24th in the Pac-10. Junior John McGuire was 33nd in the Pac-10, and junior Hari Mix was 53rd in the Pac-10. Mix has a fine 14:00 time in the 5K, and 28:59 10K on the track. Russell Brown was a 1500 All-American last year, and Chris Mocko had a big steeplechase breakthrough at 8:59.

Newcomers:

Stanford brings in five outstanding freshmen for 2007. The best of them should be National XC champion and Junior Olympic 5K champ Elliot Heath, the younger brother of Garrett. Elliot will have an immediate impact on the team. He ran an 8:46 3200 in the spring.

Next come four outstanding high school 3200m runners: Brendan Gregg ran 8:59 last spring, Thomas Gruenewald also ran 8:59, Jacob Riley ran 9:00 and JT Sullivan ran 8:58. Heath was #3 in the US, and the others were in the #10-15 range.

The first Meet for Stanford is Saturday, Sept 8 at Chico State.


Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!


The Bootleg Top Stories