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Sperry wins invitiational

The ASU cross-country team turned out a solid performance at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson over the weekend, with one individual champion and 19 Sun Devils placing in the top 25.

Junior Anna Sperry claimed the individual title in the women’s race, finishing with a time of 17:03 in her first race as a Sun Devil.

Sperry, a transfer from BYU, was near the head of the pack for the majority of the race and took the lead with only a couple of yards to go to win the race.

It is the third year in a row that a Sun Devil has won the women’s race at the Dave Murray Invitational, following Ali Kielty in 2008 and Jenna Kingma in 2007.

“I was excited for Anna to get competitive and really drive for the win,” ASU coach Louie Quintana said. “She is very talented and was one of the best high-school runners a couple of years ago. I’m happy for her, and it means a great deal to the team.”

Sperry led the ASU women’s team to a second-place finish (41 points) as a team, trailing only host UA. In total, 11 Sun Devils finished in the top 25, with seven finishing in the top 15.

Sophomore Lindsay Prescott finished seventh in 17:20, and redshirt senior Angela Spadafino finished tenth in 17:27 to round out the Sun Devils in the top 10.

Junior Camille Olson, sophomore Kauren Tarver and senior Kari Hardt finished 11th, 12th, and 13th, respectively, and redshirt junior Cherise McNair finished 15th.

Two redshirt freshmen rounded out the top 25 for the Sun Devils, with Kate Lydy finishing 17th and Natasa Vulic finishing 25th.

Running unattached, freshmen Kevyn Murphy and Karlee Owens finished 19th and 23rd respectively.

Quintana was pleased with his women’s team as they head in to the regular season contending for a national title.

“I was happy with how the women took to the competition,” Quintana said. “They did a good job, and we are right on pace to running well in a couple of weeks.”

The men’s team finished third (56 points) behind UA and UCLA, with four Sun Devils finishing in the top 10 and eight placing in the top 25.

Redshirt junior Ben Engelhardt led the way, finishing fifth overall in 21:14.

Two more redshirt juniors finished in the top 10, with Jeff Helmer finishing sixth in 21:33 and Patrick Milloy finishing ninth in 21:40.

Running unattached, freshman Doug Smith and Nick Happe finished tenth and 12th. Each of them earned the right to suit up for ASU at Notre Dame in two weeks with their strong performances.

Junior Zeke Van Patten and freshman Matt Estlund also ran unattached and finished 15th and 21st, respectively.

Redshirt sophomore Daniel Lovell finished 23rd to round out the top 25 for the Sun Devils.

Quintana was complementary of Engelhardt following the race but felt that Helmer and Milloy should have performed better.

“Engelhardt is such a great and consistent competitor,” Quintana said.

“He always rises to the occasion. The course is difficult with lots of rhythm breakers. It’s not easy for anybody out there, and he was solid.

I was really disappointed to see Helmer and Milloy got broken by Ben, but we’ll be much better in two weeks.”

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