Women’s: Houlihan leads team into Wisconsin Invitational
Junior Shelby Houlihan made her first appearance of the season at the Roy Griak Invitational. It was a pretty good debut: She won the race.
Coach Ryan Cole said he believes Houlihan and the rest of the team are prepared for the test this weekend at the Wisconsin Invitational.
“The example she sets through her own running has always been really good,” Cole said. “But she also understands better this year than any other that she has a really good opportunity to impact the girls on the team and help them run better.”
The standout long-distance runner hopes to follow that performance with a strong showing this weekend at the Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 19 in Madison, Wis.
The event is the second opportunity for the women’s team to see just how it stacks up against some of the top-ranked teams in the country.
Cole said that freshman Miranda Kewley will get an opportunity in Wisconsin to make an impact in her first year, as she is a big help and motivation for some of the older members of the team.
Cole said he’s not surprised by her strong performance, because Kewley exhibited strong traits early on when he was recruiting her for the team.
Another notable mention has been the emergence of sophomore Adriana Olivas, who will also be running this weekend.
“Adriana’s a butt-kicker, so I expect her to go into Wisconsin and kick some butt,” Cole said. “That’s how she runs, she’s aggressive.”
Cole said that in order for the Sun Devils to make the NCAA Championship this year, they need to finish strong this week.
“We need to be top 20 (this weekend). There are 17 ranked teams right now and another eight to nine that are receiving votes,” he said. “We need to beat some people. There will be 300 women lining up and we need to beat a lot of them.”
Men’s: Points for NCAA Championship on the line for ASU cross-country team
Coach Louie Quintana continues to push the team’s philosophy heading into another big challenge this weekend.
This time of the season, the team just needs to take it day-by-day and remain even-keeled, he said. Quintana said the focus is on getting better every day in training and staying as fit and as healthy as possible.
“Things will pop up, but now racing takes precedence. The training and all the hard stuff is done,” Quintana said.
Quintana said the team strategy is simple this week: Run hard and run well. The team needs to continue to run tight and not have big gaps between their times, Quintana said.
“If we’re going to make it to the NCAA championships, we have to be seventh or eighth,” he said. “We have to do that if we want to get to the next level.”
The Wisconsin Invitational is important to ASU’s success as last year ASU missed out on 50 points that would have pushed them into the championships.
Quintana said he doesn’t want to squander that opportunity this year.
“All of our guys have to be on and we have to be firing on all cylinders,” he said.
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