Stanford cross country ready to run for Pac-12 titles


The Stanford men's and women's cross country teams compete at the Pac-12 Championships, which begin at 9:30 on Friday morning.

The No. 2 Stanford men's team enters the Pac-12 cross country championships as the favorite, based on rankings, with Oregon at No. 3 and defending champ Colorado No. 7.

Thomas Ratcliffe
This is the strongest team Stanford has fielded this year, with the debut of freshman Thomas Ratcliffe, who won the Stanford Invitational in his first cross country race since middle school, while running unattached to preserve a possible redshirt season.

Stanford also welcomes redshirt freshman Alex Ostberg, a 14:08 5,000 runner who has raced only once this year, in a low-key season-opener.

This will be the second race for the one-two punch of All-Americans Sean McGorty and Grant Fisher.

Fisher was fourth and McGorty sixth at the Wisconsin Invitational, while leading the Cardinal to second.

McGorty has finished second to Oregon's Edward Cheserek in three major competitions – 2015 Pac-12 cross country, 2016 NCAA indoor 3,000, and 2016 NCAA outdoor 5,000, losing by only 0.51 in the latter.

The No. 11 Stanford women will be without 2014 Pac-12 runner-up Elise Cranny, who otherwise would have been considered a favorite. She is out with an injury, but is hoping to return for the NCAA Championships.

However, Stanford welcomes the addition of freshman Fiona O'Keeffe, who will make her collegiate debut. She set the U.S. junior championships 5,000 record last spring. She is among a vaunted freshman class that also includes Christina Aragon and Ella Donaghu – two of the seven fastest high school 1,500 runners of all-time – and 9:55 two-miler Hannah DeBalsi.

Vanessa Fraser, a four-time All-America and Stanford's top runner at the 2015 NCAA Championships, should lead the Cardinal. Sophie Chase, an All-West Region selection last season, also makes her season debut.

Women's soccer

Andi Sullivan was one of 24 players called into the senior U.S. Women's National Team camp for two matches against Romania, as announced Thursday by head coach Jill Ellis.

It is the second call-up to the senior national team for Sullivan this month after earning the first of her career on Oct. 6. She is the only current collegiate player named to the 24-player roster.

Sullivan will train with the national team in preparation for matches Nov. 10 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose (7 p.m. PT on ESPN2) and Nov. 13 at StubHub Center in Carson (6:30 p.m. on FS1). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each match.

Sullivan will join the national team for training after Stanford's regular-season finale Nov. 4 at California. Due to the timing of the camp, Sullivan will likely miss Stanford's NCAA Tournament first round game.

Sullivan impressed in her debut with the national team on Oct. 19 against Switzerland, playing 76 minutes at defensive midfielder. She received rave reviews for her calm and decisive play from Ellis, teammates, broadcasters, print media members and fans on social media.

Sullivan continued her strong play in her second start with the team on Oct. 23 and picked up her first career point with the USWNT. She sent a long-ball from her defensive end, over the heads of the Swiss defenders and into the path of Stanford alum, Christen Press, who was making a cross-field run toward goal.

The long-ball bounced once and Press chipped a shot over the Swiss goalkeeper and into the back netting of the goal on the fly. Sullivan continued to receive praise for her consistent impressive play in the midfield.

Sullivan became the 10th Stanford player capped by the USWNT and the seventh to start in her first appearance. She is the first Stanford player to earn a USWNT cap while still on the Cardinal's active roster since Nicole Barnhart ('04).

Sullivan became the fourth Stanford player to start in her first USWNT appearance while still on Stanford's active roster. The last Stanford player to earn a start in their first career USWNT cap was Marcie Ward on March 7, 2001.

Women's basketball

Stanford is ranked in the USA TODAY Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll for the 17th consecutive season, checking in at No. 10 in results released Thursday. It's the 295th consecutive coaches' poll to feature the Cardinal.

Stanford closed 2015-16 ranked 11th in the same poll. The Cardinal made its 18th overall trip to the Elite Eight and 10th in the last 13 years in 2015-16, posting a 27-8 overall record and a 14-4 mark in Pac-12 play.

The Cardinal won 25 games for the 15th straight year and became the seventh Division I institution to reach the 1,000-victory plateau when it beat Oregon State on February 26.

Stanford kicks off its regular-season with five straight home games beginning on Friday, Nov. 11 against Cal Poly.

Highlighting Stanford's nonconference slate are a pair of matchups against fellow Elite Eight squads from last season in No. 6 Texas and No. 14 Tennessee.

The Cardinal hosts the Longhorns on Monday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2 that is part of ESPN's ninth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

Stanford's storied rivalry with Tennessee adds another chapter in Knoxville on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. ET on SEC Network.

The Pac-12 has five teams in the preseason poll with No. 9 UCLA, No. 15 Washington, No. 16 Arizona State and No. 17 Oregon State joining No. 10 Stanford among the nation's top 25.

— Stanford Athletics

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