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Automatic Champions!Salem-News.com Sports
Oregon State Cross country teams advance to NCAA Championships.
(Springfield, Oregon) - Jordan Hasay won the NCAA West Regional individual title to lead the Women of Oregon to a runner-up finish Saturday at Springfield Country Club. The Men of Oregon then topped that by taking the team title in a two-point decision over Stanford in a thrilling morning of racing along the Mohawk River.
Both Oregon teams automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
“All guys came along; all seven guys did a good job,” said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. “It’s always good to go into the NCAA’s with a win.
“We do feel pretty good (about the women) going into Nationals,” said Lananna. “Jordan Hasay looked good, and Alex Kosinski had a good race.”
Luke Puskedra led the Duck men by finishing the 10,000-meter course in fourth in 30:03.29. Matthew Centrowitz was just behind him in sixth in 30:14.57.
Those two paced third-ranked Oregon to 63 points, two better than No. 2 Stanford’s 65. No. 22 California was third with 78 points, followed by No. 13 Portland with 131.
“We had a good race as a team,” said Puskedra, a junior from Ogden, Utah. “All the top guys were there and that was exciting.”
In addition to Puskedra and Centrowitz, Oregon counted an 11th-place finish from senior Danny Mercado (30;16.58), a 16th-place finish from senior A.J. Acosta (30:31.65) and a 28th-place finish from freshman Ben DeJarnette (30:45.76).
That was just enough to clip the Cardinal, who went seventh through ninth with Chris Derrick (30:14.57), Elliott Heath (30:14.71) and Jake Riley (30:14.75), respectively. All five Oregon scorers posted career best Regional finishes, a mark particularly satisfying for Centrowitz. The senior from Arnold, Md., struggled to a 73rd-place finish a year ago.
It was Oregon’s fourth NCAA West win in the last five years and eighth Regional title overall.
The men’s individual race came down to the wire with Portland’s Trevor Dunbar leaning at the line to edge Stephen Sambu of Arizona by a fraction of a second. Dunbar crossed in 29:57.89, the third-fastest time on the Springfield course, with Sambu in 29:57.95. Michael Coe of California was third in 29:59.47.
“I didn’t really know how the team was doing so I figured every point was going to be important, so I just sprinted in at the end,” said Dunbar. “The race felt kind of slow until the last lap. I just tried to give it a shot getting up front and it worked out well.”
Earlier in the women’s race, Hasay and Alexandra Kosinksi kept pace in the front pack to lead the women to second place. The seventh-ranked Ducks finished just four points behind No. 11 Washington in a tight race that mirrored the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago.
The Huskies won with 73 points, followed by Oregon with 77, No. 4 Stanford with 86 points and No. 6 Arizona with 90 points.
UC Santa Barbara was the surprise of the women’s race, tying No. 26 California for fifth with 159 points. Like she did in winning the Pac-10 title, Hasay used a late push to pull away for the win after staying in the lead pack the entire race. The sophomore from Arroyo Grande, Calif., won in 20:01.90, which was the sixth-fastest time at the 6,000-meter Springfield course. Deborah Maier of California was second in 20:06.81, with Kosinski, the 2008 NCAA West Regional champ, third in 20:09.53.
“It was a great day,” said Hasay. “We wanted the win, but we got the automatic qualifier. I am happy for the win and I am really excited for the national meet.”
Washington used a sixth-place finish by Katie Flood (20:17.03) and a seventh-place showing from Justine Johnson (20:17.74) to edge the Ducks. In addition to Hasay and Kosinski, Oregon also counted a career-best 10th-place showing from senior Zoe Buckman (20:24.73), a 27th-place finish from freshman Lanie Thompson (20:47.57) and a 36th-place showing from sophomore Anne Kesselring (21:02.30).
“I didn’t feel there was every any separation,” said Kosinski. “At the end I think some people stepped up and maybe a few others dropped off. With 500 meters to go, I felt a real pace change and started my kick.”
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