Duckies sweep NCAA West

Ducks Sweep NCAA West Meet

Duck men and women clinch automatic berths to the NCAA Championships.


Release: 11/14/2014

STANFORD, Calif. – The Oregon men’s and women’s cross country teams swept the NCAA West Regional for the first time in 26 years Friday at Stanford Golf Course. Both eased through the Regional meet to automatically advance to the NCAA Championships Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.

The No. 3 men placed five runners in the top 20, led by sophomore Edward Cheserek’s second-place finish, while the women had all of their scorers finish in the top 24.

The second-ranked men won with 60 points, followed by No. 8 Portland with 71, No. 9 Stanford with 97, No. 17 UCLA with 104 and No. 11 Washington with 139.

On the women’s side, Ducks won with 88 points. No. 25 Boise State and No. 10 Stanford tied for second with 103 points, and the Broncos got the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships by virtue of the tie-breaker. No. 15 Washington finished fourth with 131 points, with No. 27 UCLA fifth at 176.

Oregon had not swept both the races at the NCAA West meet since 1988.

How It Happened - Women: The Ducks executed an impressive race plan, with Berge, Patrignelli, Grabill and Cash sticking close to Stanford’s pack for nearly two-thirds of the race. Then on the last circuit, the Ducks put on a massive charge and galloped past both Stanford and Boise State to a commanding lead and won going away.

Oregon’s top four scorers all finished within :13 of each other. Junior Moll Grabill led the Ducks for the first time this season, finishing 11th overall in 20:36.5. Freshman Frida Berge followed in 13th at 20:37.6, senior Megan Patrignelli took 18th in 20:46.3, freshman Alli Cash was 22nd in 20:49.8, and junior Annie Leblanc was 24th in 20:57.3.

Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan won the individual title in 19:31.6.

How It Happened - Men: The Ducks used a conservative strategy to navigate their way through and win the West Regional. Oregon again sent Cheserek and senior Eric Jenkins to the front, as that duo finished in second and third, respectively. Cheserek eased home in 29:35.0, choosing not to challenge West Region individual winner Maxim Korolev of Stanford (29:33.5), while Jenkins followed in 29:39.6.

The Ducks’ next three finishers did an exceptional job of running in a pack in their first race at 10,000 meters this season, and crossed the line within :03 of each other. Senior Daniel Winn was 17th in 29:55.4, senior Tanguy Pepiot was 18th in 29:55.5, and freshman Travis Neuman took 20th in 29:57.7. Oregon also had junior Matthew Melancon finish 28th in 30:05.6.

What It Means - Women: The women were able to win and advance while resting a couple runners, Waverly Neer and Lindsay Crevoiserat. Neer was Oregon’s No. 2 finisher at the Pac-12 Championships two weeks ago, while Crevoiserat has been among the Ducks’ top runners all season.

What It Means - Men: The Ducks showed no ill effects of stepping up to 10,000 meters for the first time this season, advancing to the NCAA Championships in relative ease. In fact, both Winn and Newman performed well in their first NCAA West Regional appearances.

Odds and Ends: The Women of Oregon tied Stanford with their 14th NCAA West Region title. For the men, it was the Ducks’ ninth title overall. It was the fourth time that the Ducks have swept the West meet, joining 1981, 1983 and 1988.

What’s Next: NCAA Championships, Nov. 22, Terre Haute, Ind.

Quoteworthy: “For the most part, we did exactly what we set out to do; work on a few things, be conservative, and advance to the NCAA Championships. Coaches Andy and Maurica Powell did a phenomenal job with their approach in preparing the teams to get the job done.

“I think the women actually had their biggest gap of the year from first to fifth and that was still only :21. They were right where they needed to be when it was time to go and take charge of the race. The men looked good for their first time at 10,000 meters. We had Edward (Cheserek) and Eric (Jenkins) leading the way and then our third, fourth and fifth guys really worked to run as a pack and finish strong together,” head coach Robert Johnson.

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Courtesy: Kirby Lee