ASU cross-country flourishes in Pac-12 championships

ASU graduate student Zach Zarda trains during practice Oct. 3 before the Grand Canyon Invitational on Oct. 6. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

The Pac-12 championships were a huge chance for both ASU teams to show they can run at a high level.

However, while one team capitalized on the meet, the other will have to wait until NCAA Regionals to have a strong showing.

 

Men’s team

ASU made some huge strides and proved to be one of the Pac-12’s best on Saturday.

The Sun Devils finished fourth, higher than No. 15 UCLA, who finished fifth. ASU was only four points behind No. 8 Oregon.

Competing well with the best of the Pac-12 proves ASU is capable with racing against some of the best in the nation.

“It just kind of shows how good your guys can be when we put things together,” men’s coach Louie Quintana said. “And we haven’t had it fully together.”

Senior Nick Happe paced the Sun Devils and finished 11th overall to earn second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Graduate transfer Zach Zarda just missed All-Pac-12 honors and placed 15th overall.

Redshirt freshmen Darius Terry followed up with a 23rd overall finish.

“We just ran tough,” Quintana said. “They’re tougher than a lot of teams and when we went into the last minutes, last 2,000 meters of the race, we were one of the better teams.”

The ASU men’s team is poised to keep its winning ways. The team is built to thrive at the end of the season.

“I think the strategy of our training isn’t really meant to be running super fast early in the season,” Happe said. “The majority of our training is geared toward running a 10k and ready to go late in the season, where our fitness is really going to start to show through.”

 

Women’s team

The Sun Devils didn’t have the race they wanted, but ASU saw its star sophomore shine once again.

Although the Sun Devils finished ninth overall, sophomore Shelby Houlihan took eighth place for the second straight year. That finish earned her second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Redshirt senior Natasa Vulic finished in second for ASU with a 38th place overall finish, with sophomore Macy Bricks following. Redshirt senior Hailey Hanna and freshmen Adriana Olivas rounded out the rest of the group.

The Sun Devils haven’t been able to string together a collectively strong performance all season.

ASU was 10 points out of seventh place overall.

 

Reach the reporter at gdemano@asu.edu