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Bethke seventh at NCAAs

The ASU cross-country team finished the 2009 season on a rough note on Monday, with the men finishing 19th and the women finishing 24th at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

Both teams had a top-10 finish in mind entering the meet, but uncharacteristic performances by key runners ultimately kept either team from finishing veryhigh.

Senior Brandon Bethke finished his standout season with an incredible performance, finishing seventh overall with a time of 29:37.9 to earn All-American honors. The seventh-place finish was the highest finish for a Sun Devil male in the national meet in the history of the program.

But another Sun Devil would not cross the finish line until No. 82, as junior Jeff Helmer came in at a time of 30:46.4 to be the only other runner in the top 100.

Junior Patrick Milloy finished 136th at 31:15.1, junior Zeke Van Patten finished 172nd at 31:32.1, and sophomore Dylan Hatcher finished 189th at 31:47.1 to round out the scoring for the Sun Devils.

Junior Ben Engelhardt, a second-team All Pac-10 selection and the team’s No. 2 runner, had his worst finish of the year, finishing 201st at 31:56.5 and out of the scoring for ASU.

The women had an even more disappointing race.

Entering the race ranked 17th in the nation with two All-Americans and four All-West Region selections, the women had their eye on a top-10 finish or even a possible top-four finish to earn a trophy.

Instead, the team finished 24th, without a single All-American selection.

Senior Allie Kieffer led the way for ASU, finishing 49th at 20:55.8. It was only the second race of the year for the transfer from Wake Forest after suffering from plantar fasciitis for most of the year.

Senior Kari Hardt, who earned All-American honors last year, finished 93rd at 21:15.8. It was the first time this year Hardt was not the leading runner for ASU in high-level meets.

Sophomore Lindsay Prescott finished 151st at 21:40.07, junior Anna Sperry finished 154th at 21:41.7 and senior Ali Kielty finished 190th at 21:59.2 to round out the scoring.

Kielty, who earned All-American honors last year, was racing for the first time this season after missing most of the year with iliotobial band syndrome, a thigh injury.

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