Led by junior Tom Prindiville's third place finish, the Wildcat men almost knocked of the nation's No. 2 team, Stanford, in the team competition. The Cardinal, bolstered by individual champion Jonathon Riley, won the regional title with 58 points, followed by Arizona with 62. Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo was third with 114; Oregon was fourth, 122; and Arizona State placed fifth, 128.
A depleted Arizona women's team, which competed with only three healthy runners, finished third with 126 points. Stanford again took the team title with 58 points; Arizona State was third, 86; Oregon finished a distant fourth, 169; while Washington was fifth, 170. Arizona State's Lisa Aguilera won the women's individual race.
"We had a very successful day because both teams made it easily to the NCAA Championships," head coach Dave Murray said. "The men got an automatic bid with a second place finish, and the women will have no problem with an at-large bid. Four of the seven women were either running with injuries or have been sick, so their finish is even better."
Prindiville led the men's team over the 10,000-meter course in 30 minutes, 43 seconds, three seconds behind the winner, Riley. Junior Steve Smith finished steps behind Prindiville in fifth (30:49). Junior Mike Cramer was 16th (31:17), senior David Lopez placed 18th (31:18) and senior Rick Weis (31:24).
"Tom ran another great race for us," Murray said. "He just keeps getting better and better throughout the season. Steve also had another very good race, and Mike and David were solid for us, too."
Junior Tara Chaplin, who battled the flu, was the women's top finisher in eighth, running 20:44 on the 6,000-meter course. Junior Jennifer Burris ran the best race of her season, finishing 15th (21:00). Senior Katrin Engelen, who has been slowed for two weeks with the flu, was 38th (21:22). Junior Erin Doherty was 35th (21:37) and sophomore Kimberly Bates placed 40th (21:45).
Non-scorers for the Arizona women were sophomore Nicole Gurnicz (51st, 22:07) and freshman Beth Hoge (121st, 23:46). The men's non-scorers were freshman Matt McInvale (36th, 31:49), who ran the best race of his career, and freshman Andrew Carlson (60th, 32:33).
The men's team secured an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships with its second place finish. Arizona's women will certainly earn an at-large berth. The women were ranked seventh in the nation entering the meet and were beaten by teams ranked ahead of them. The NCAA Championships will be held on the Iowa State Cross Country Course Nov. 20 in Ames, Iowa.