2012 NCAA Regional Formchart – West Region

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by John Kellogg
November 7, 2012

Editor’s Note: LetsRun.com’s coaching/stat guru John Kellogg has done what basically no one else in the world would have the expertise/patience to do – predict what is going to happen at Friday’s NCAA D1 cross-country regionals. The top two teams in each region and top four individuals not on a team that qualifies will make it to NCAAs. Then 13 at large teams will be added in and two at large individuals.

Message board poster “devils advocate” has run the numbers for the qualifiers on the men’s side who appear below and here.

We imagine even the great John Kellogg is bound to have missed someone in these predictions, so if you have corrections, please email them to us.

Mr. Kellogg seemingly comes out of hibernation every few months to make predictions in the running world. He did Regional previews in 2011 and 2008 and in the spring of 2011, he said it wouldn’t surprise him if someone ran faster than 2:03:59 in Boston and then Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02 and after the race everyone (except us) was saying the unthinkable had happened.

Mr. Kellogg has scoured the season’s results – with the most weight given to recent (conference meet) performances – to take a guess at who should be the top 25 individuals and few teams in each of the nine regions. A lot of runners were considered for the top 25 and he’ll undoubtedly get quite a few wrong – someone just outside his top 25 has just as good a chance as someone who just made it – and there are always a couple of huge surprises. Team scores are generally based on the strengths of the top teams relative to each other (discounting many of the runners outside the top 25 or so from non-contending teams) and will probably end up being higher than he’s listed them due to displacement from those individuals. In short, this is a pretty good general idea of who should be in the hunt, but it’s still bound to get a bunch of it completely wrong. So basically this is all for S&Gs. We hope you enjoy them. For more on the logic behind the picks, please see last year’s instructions.

Give Us Your Own Predictions in the LetsRun.com NCAA Fan Polls.

West

Jefferson Golf Course, Seattle, Washington

Men

Individuals

John Kellogg

John Kellogg (r) enjoys the 2008 Heps XC meet with his former prized pupil, the 28:06 performer Wejo (dressed as the BK man)

With an undefeated campaign so far, defending national champion Lawi Lalang heads into the Regional with only his teammate Stephen Sambu as a clear challenger, and Lalang has outkicked Sambu every time so far, so his streak should stay intact until an anticipated face-off against new sensation Kennedy Kithuka at Nationals. Lalang won last year’s Regional by 16 seconds (in 28:34) over Stanford’s Chris Derrick and the pair went on to take the same two spots at NCAAs. This season, Lalang produced a 22:34 8k early on at Louisville, then won at Wisconsin in 23:03 off a slow starting pace, and most recently went 22:49 at PAC-12. Sambu has been within one to four seconds in every race. Nobody else has been within 20 seconds, including Henry Lelei, 9th at Nationals a year ago, and Paul Chelimo, who was 13th at NCAAs last year and is normally a frontrunner himself. At the PAC-12 meet, Lalang and Sambu ran away and hid from the field to the tune of 22:49 and 22:50 times, with Oregon’s Trevor Dunbar and Parker Stinson the next two to cross, both in 23:28, over 200 meters behind the lead duo.

The PAC-12 results minus Colorado provide a nice preview for this Regional, with Portland also factoring in high in the team race. Dunbar, a Portland transfer who was All-American for the Pilots last fall, will square off against his former team for the first time. Coming 5th and 6th at PAC-12 were UCLA’s Lane Werley, who is having a super season, and Stanford’s Joe Rosa, who was also 21st at Wisconsin in mid-October. Twin brother Jim Rosa was 19th at Wisco but dropped way back to 45th at the conference meet. A wild card for an individual qualifier is Washington State’s Andrew Kimpel, who was 14th in the region last year and 59th at Nationals but apparently had trouble with inhaled dust at a mid-season meet and was MIA in the results at PAC-12.

Lawi Lalang (Arizona)*
Stephen Sambu (Arizona)*
Trevor Dunbar (Oregon)
Parker Stinson (Oregon)
Lane Werley (UCLA)
Joe Rosa (Stanford)
Benjamin Johnson (Stanford)
Nick Happe (Arizona State)
Scott Fauble (Portland)
Zach Zarda (Arizona State)

Joey Bywater (Washington)
Jim Rosa (Stanford)
David Perry (Portland)
Tyler Stutzman (Stanford)
Miles Unterreiner (Stanford)
Chris Frias (Cal Poly)*
William Kincaid (Portland)
Barak Watson (Boise State)*
Erik Barkhaus (Seattle)**
David McDonald (UCLA)

Tyler King (Washington)
David Cardona (Cal Poly)**
Dustin Fay (UCLA)
Lars Erik Malde (Portland)
Blake Ahrold (Cal Poly)

Teams

Stanford and Portland went 1-2 in the West last year, with Cal Poly and Washington State also qualifying for NCAAs. Oregon tied for 6th in the region and advanced only Luke Puskedra, who was 6th in both the Regional and the Nationals. This season, Stanford took home the trophy at the enormous Wisconsin meet, with region rival Portland in 12th. At the PAC-12, the Cardinal finished behind Colorado but slightly clear of the other West teams despite Jim Rosa being over a minute slower than usual, while Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington were within 14 points of each other. Oregon did have an off day from Ben DeJarnette, who had been 3rd for the Ducks at Pre-Nationals but fell back to a non-scoring 59th at conference. Portland, meanwhile, pipped a higher-ranked BYU by a point at West Coast Conference (although BYU was without All-American Rex Shields). With A races from all their runners, Stanford, Portland and Oregon should take the top three team spots.

Stanford*
Portland*
Oregon*
Arizona State*
UCLA*
Washington*

*Projected qualifier – Note “devils advocate” also has Arizona or Missouri as the last team in.
**Assuming Arizona gets in as a team, then these guys get in individually.

Women

Individuals

Six months ago, Laura Hollander was a blue-chip high schooler. With a 10:10.51 PR for 3,200m, she was one of the best in the country – but not the very best. In mid-October, Hollander ran 19:33 for 6k at Wisconsin to post a jaw-dropping win over indoor 5k national champion Betsy Saina and a herd of other All-Americans, including another national champ in Juliet Bottorff (2011 10k). This win at the regular season’s biggest meet suddenly vaulted Hollander into the favorite role for NCAAs – at least for the time being. Surely the older and more savvy stars like Saina and several others should close the gap on the Cal Poly frosh within a few weeks, right? That’s probably a safe guess, but it still remains to be seen if the veterans can draw even or overtake Hollander. In her last outing, the rookie ran 19:13 to capture the Big West crown by 32 seconds over 10k All-American Sarah Sumpter (UC-Davis). The margin of victory was virtually identical to that which Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton had over 12th-place Sumpter at Pre-Nats. The undefeated Tuliamuk-Bolton is another star mentioned in the individual NCAA championship discussion. While comparing cross-country times or margins of victory is a notoriously sketchy proposition, the Big West result does show that Hollander has done nothing to indicate she’s fizzling or is ready to be removed from consideration as a possible national champ.

Of course, winning the West Regional is by itself one of the tougher tasks in cross-country. Hollander is not the only runner in this region who could win the NCAA title; in fact, common sense based on past history says it will be a surprise if she is the region’s top finisher at Nationals. Oregon’s Jordan Hasay has had a long career near the top of the sport at every age level – four-time Foot Locker All-American (winning the races outright as a freshman and as a senior), seven-time US junior champ and junior international competitor in cross and track, national high school record setter at 1,500m (since broken) at the 2008 Olympic Trials, 14-time All-American at Oregon (including national titles in the mile and 3k). Hasay has also won the West Regional the last two years and went on to finish 3rd and 2nd at NCAAs in those seasons. She hasn’t won a race this season but has been patiently inching up toward contention for the biggest prize, and it seems inevitable that the accomplished and outrageously talented Oregon senior will once again be battling in the final kick for the crown at Nationals.

As of the last race, though, Kathy Kroeger of Stanford is ahead of Hasay, having taken the PAC-12 title over her Oregon rival. Kroeger was also a four-time Foot Locker finalist in high school, winning the title in 2006, and has racked up six All-America awards at Stanford. She overcame a major barrier to win the absurdly deep conference after finishing second to Hasay the previous two years, but the undefeated Hollander, having won her own conference meet in a rout over the All-American Sumpter, still has to be ranked first in the region pre-race.

Laura Hollander (Cal Poly)
Kathy Kroeger (Stanford)
Jordan Hasay (Oregon)
Elvin Kibet (Arizona)
Alexi Pappas (Oregon)
Allie Woodward (Oregon)
Jennifer Bergman (Arizona)
Shelby Houlihan (Arizona State)
Kelsey Santisteban (California)
Jessica Tonn (Stanford)

Sarah Sumpter (UC-Davis)
Megan Goethals (Washington)
Aisling Cuffe (Stanford)
Cayla Hatton (Stanford)
Katie Flood (Washington)
Lindsay Flanagan (Washington)
Justine Johnson (Washington)
Annie Leblanc (Oregon)
Nicci Corbin (Arizona)
Hannah Kiser (Idaho)

Elizabeth Apgar (Arizona)
Eva Krchova (San Francisco)
Alycia Cridebring (UC-Davis)
Elena Burkard (San Francisco)
Damajera Dubose (UC-Riverside)

Teams

Seven teams qualified for NCAAs from the West last year. It’s normally the deepest region and was again in 2011 (although the Mid-Atlantic’s four qualifying teams placed higher at NCAAs than the top four from the West last year). Washington won the Regional a year ago and was 2nd at Nationals, 8 points behind Georgetown. Oregon, relegated to 4th in the region last year, was the second West team at NCAAs with a clutch 5th place. The tentative pecking order for this year, based on PAC-12 results, has Oregon on top, followed by Arizona, Stanford, Washington and UCLA. San Francisco won the West Coast Conference with 25 points and may figure into the equation somewhere, especially with Laura Suur back in action. San Francisco qualified for NCAAs last year and ended up 25th, with Suur leading the way in 38th as an All-American. At WCC, Suur was only 4th on the team, though, so a repeat trip to Nationals is a bit iffy at present.

Oregon
Arizona
Stanford
Washington
UCLA

All Regions:
*Northeast Region
*Mid-Atlantic
*Southeast
*South
*South Central
*Great Lakes
*Midwest
*Mountain
*West


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Posted in: College