X. Country: Pac-12 Championships on tap for Stanford

Oct. 25, 2012, 4:23 a.m.

The Cardinal men and women will run for pride this weekend at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita, Calif. for the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships. The Cardinal will be looking to build on its success from two weeks ago at the Wisconsin Invite, as this competition is one of Stanford’s final two meets before the NCAA West Regional meet.

The women’s 6k race is scheduled to start at 9:40 a.m., and it should be a close team race. The competition will probably be decided among the top-10 team competing: Oregon (No. 3), Stanford (No. 4), Arizona (No. 5) and Washington (No. 6). Still, any of the other eight teams may be play spoiler, including defending champion, Colorado, currently ranked No. 21.

In the individual race, Stanford senior Kathy Kroeger, coming off a fifth-place finish in Madison two weeks ago, will be one of the prime contenders, as she has been runner-up at this meet each of the last two years.

Kroeger’s main competition will include Oregon seniors Alexi Pappas and Jordan Hasay, who both had top-five finishes at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet, and Washington junior Katie Flood, who is the defending champion but finished 29th at Wisconsin. Also in the mix will be Arizona junior Elvin Kibet and California sophomore Kelsey Santisteban.

The men’s 8k scheduled for 10:40 a.m., also looks be a tightly contested team competition. The major contenders figure to be No. 3 Stanford, No. 8 Oregon and No. 2 Colorado, the defending champion.

The individual title may once again be decided between the dominant Arizona duo of sophomore Lawi Lalang, the defending champion, and senior Stephen Sambu. But other top runners will factor in as well, including Stanford sophomores Jim Rosa and Joe Rosa, Colorado junior Jake Hurysz and Oregon senior Trevor Dunbar.

This year, the men’s and women’s races will be aired on television for the first time, albeit with a tape delay, on the Pac-12 Networks. Live results will be provided at http://championships.pac-12.com/cross-country.

Overall, this meet will be a great opportunity for the Cardinal to gauge where it stands nationally, since several top teams are competing. And the conference championship will be one last chance for Stanford runners to get some confidence before the NCAA Championships arrive.

I am a sophomore who will probably declare in International Relations. I am also a runner and a member of Axe Comm. Originally from Lawrence, Kansas.

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