Cross-country trying to keep season alive at Regionals

Redshirt sophomore Garrett Baker-Slama works on his stride during an ASU cross-country practice on Oct. 3. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

Two weeks after their finish at the Pac-12 championships, the ASU men’s and women’s cross-country teams will compete in the NCAA West Regionals this Friday.

 

Men’s team

ASU has seen an increase in success on the men’s side as the season treads on, and nobody should be surprised if that continues.

“I think we’re actually excited for a 10k because our training is actually geared toward it all season,” graduate Zach Zarda said. “We’ve been doing more mileage than most teams do. Teams that haven’t been putting in that base work are going to feel a little worse late in the race, but we’ll have that strength to fight through it.”

Although this race will help determine whether the Sun Devils are going to qualify for the NCAA championships, ASU is approaching this race like it’s any other.

“We’ve been kind of just doing the same old thing,” men’s coach Louie Quintana said. “Putting in (the) same running and resting, which is probably the biggest thing at this point in the year — getting the running in and then getting into the training room.

“I guess you could say as the season changes, the more things stay the same for us and I think that that is probably one of the bigger focuses for us.”

Quintana said he thinks it is a great opportunity for the team to put it all together at one time.

Zarda, who was the No. 2 ASU finisher at Pac-12s, knows the team needs to perform well as a whole to be successful.

“You’re only as strong as your fifth guy in this sport,” Zarda said, giving a nod to redshirt freshman Ryan Herson and redshirt sophomore Garrett Baker-Slama.

 

Women’s team

ASU looks to bounce back from a disappointing Pac-12 showing, as the Sun Devils feel that their fitness and potential is definitely there for them to be successful.

“I think some of them have evidently recovered from that (Pac-12 championships) and they’re fit,” women’s coach Ryan Cole said. “So mentally, it’s kind of just taking a break and regrouping and lining up and competing again.”

As the season continues, ASU hopes it can come into fruition and leave the NCAA West Regionals with a strong performance.

“Getting everybody (to have) a strong day on the same day — that would be a great way to end the season,” Cole said. “And if we’re able to do that, we may have one more meet in the season in the NCAA championships.”

This could very well be the Sun Devils’ last meet.

As ASU hopes to peak in its performance, resting becomes a huge asset leading up to the next race.

“You try to prioritize,” Cole said. “In the beginning of the year, you put a little bit more emphasis on the running and improvements, and this time of the year, the fitness is there.”

 

Reach the reporter at gdemano@asu.edu