Cross Country Teams Head to Pre-NCAA Invite.
Oct. 11, 2000
The University of Oregon No. 18 men's and No. 22 women's cross country teams face their biggest test of the regular season this weekend, traveling a month early to the NCAA Championships course for the 28th Iowa State Memorial Classic. The two fields feature most of the nation's best, including 14 top-25 men's squads and 16 top-25 women's teams. After this meet, the Ducks' next major stop is the Pac-10 Championships, Saturday, Oct. 28 in Seattle's Lincoln Park.
SETTING THE STAGE
This week is the second major varsity test for the men's `A' squad after taking seventh at the Roy Griak Invite two weekends ago. Senior Michael Kasahun (13th) and sophomore Jason Hartmann (18th) paced the team at the meet. The Duck women, led by seniors Hanna Smedstad and Katie Crabb, will also enter their varsity `A' unit for third time this fall. Last year at the Pre-NCAA Invitational in Bloomington, Ind., the Duck men finished seventh among 35 teams (including 15 top-25 and six top-10 squads), while the women stood 16th of 32 teams (18 of which were top-25 ranked and seven top-10).
AT THE LINE
M&W Teams Competing This Weekend - Air Force, Alabama, Appalachian State, Arizona, Arizona State, Ark.-Little Rock, Ball State, Bradley, Brown, Bucknell, Butler, BYU, UC Irvine, Colorado, Colorado State, Columbia, Cornell, Creighton, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Illinois State, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Marquette, McNeese State, Miami-Ohio, Missouri, Missouri Valley, Montana, Montana State, Nebraska, Northern Arizona, Northern Iowa, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, Portland, South Florida, St. Joseph's, Stanford, Texas Tech, UC Santa Barbara, Villanova, Virginia, Washington State, Weber State, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Wichita State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Men's Only Teams - Belmont, Central Michigan, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, TCU, Utah, Wake Forest, William & Mary.
Women's Only Teams - Boston College, Boston, North Carolina, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Princeton, Toledo, Navy, Wisconsin.
TENTATIVE DUCK ENTRIES THIS WEEK
Men/Women Yr.-Exp. Hometown (Last School/HS)Adam Bergquist Jr.*-2SQ Boulder, Colo. (Fairview)Chris Clancy Fr.-HS Portland (John Marshall)Aaron Emery Fr.-HS Croghan, N.Y. (Beaver River Central)Jason Hartmann So.-1L Rockford, Mich. (RHS)Sam Hill Sr.*-1L Kotzebue, Alaska (Nikiski)Brett Holts Fr.-HS Bend (BHS)John Lucas Fr.*-HS Eagle Point (EPHS)Michael Kasahun Sr.-TR-1L Fresno, Calif. (Fresno City College/Fresno)Lincoln Nehring Sr.*-TR-2L Salt Lake City, Utah (Utah/Memorial)Noel Paulson Fr.-HS Aumsville (Cascade)
Katie Crabb Sr.*-2VL Chico, Calif. (Pleasant Valley)Rhiannon Glenn Sr.*-1L Eugene (South)Erinn Gulbrandsen So.-1L Chico, Calif. (Pleasant Valley)Laura Harmon Fr.-HS Vancouver, Wash. (Jesuit-Portland)Eri Macdonald So.-1L Honolulu, Hawaii (Punahou)Hanna Smedstad Sr.-TR Sundsvall, Sweden (Oklahoma State/Kattgatt Gymnasiet)Carrie Zografos So.*-TR Portland, Ore. (Colorado/Central Catholic)
IN THE POLLS
In the third poll of the season, the Duck men were tabbbed 18th, while the women rank 22nd. Going back to previous rankings, the Duck men ranked ninth in the preseason poll, while the women stood 12th. The men then dropped to 16th the second poll, while the women fell to 24th. In the third poll, the men climbed to 15th and the women advanced to 22nd.
MEN'S SEASON PREVIEW
The Ducks lost their top two runners from last season in All-Americans Steve Fein and Andrew Bliss, but All-America sophomore Jason Hartmann (Rockford, Mich.) leads a veteran group focused on making their 28th NCAA trip. Senior Michael Kasahun (Fresno, Calif.) had a strong summer of training after finishing seventh on the track in the Pac-10 10,000 (30:11.43) and running a 5,000 personal best of 14:16.98 at home in April. Last fall, he was a top-five scorer for the team at all six races, including the Pac-10 (19th), NCAA West Regional (26th) and NCAA (107th) Championships. Senior Sam Hill (Kotzebue, Alaska) stood out as the most improved harrier in 1999, scoring at all five of his races, including a 35th-place NCAA West Regional debut. Senior Lincoln Nehring (Salt Lake City, Utah) earned his second letter for the Ducks last fall and scored at his first NCAA finale (203rd). Junior Adam Bergquist (Boulder, Colo.) is the team's fastest track returnee in the 5K with his 14:14.51 debut from 1998 and ran on the `98 varsity harrier unit twice before redshirting last fall. Among a group of nine newcomers, several were nationally ranked on the track as preps, including freshmen Eric Logsdon (Canby) in the 1,500/3,000 (3:51.39/8:10.66), Noel Paulson (Cascade) in the mile/3,000 (4:07.14/8:18.72), Aaron Emery (Croghan, NY) in the 3,000 (8:32.18) and Chris Clancy (Portland) in the 1,500 (3:52.8). Among other in-state newcomers, Kyle Robinson (Salem) placed fifth and fourth, respectively, in the 4A state 1,500 and 3,000 finals last spring, Brett Holts (Bend) was the 4A state cross country runner-up in 1999, and John Lucas (Eagle Point) was the 4A state cross country runner-up in 1998.
WOMEN'S SEASON PREVIEW
On the women's side, the Ducks return five of their top seven from last year and add All-America transfer, senior Hanna Smedstad (Sundsvall, Sweden) who was top-30 for Oklahoma State in the past two seasons (18th in `99 and 28th in `98). Senior Katie Crabb (Chico, Calif.) capped her final track season last spring with her first All-America award (1,500, 7th, 4:19.30). Crabb is a two-time NCAA veteran in cross country and ranked fourth on the squad last fall at the NCAA Championships even though she missed most of the season with a September calf injury. Senior Rhiannon Glenn (Eugene) stood out as the team's most improved last fall, and ran in the top three at all six races including an 84th-place NCAA debut. Sophomore Tara Struyk (Edmonton, Alberta) also ran in the team's top three at all six contests in 1999, and ranked fourth among freshmen at the NCAA West Regional. Sophomore Eri Macdonald (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored for the team in five of six races last fall. On the track, she led the team in the 800 (2:08.62), followed by Pac-10 and USA Jr. finals appearances. Sophomore Erinn Gulbrandsen (Chico, Calif.) ran in the team's top seven at five races last fall and ranks second among returnees on the track in the 800 (2:14.80). Freshman Laura Harmon (Vancouver, Wash.) was a three-time top-10 finisher at the 4A Oregon state harrier meet, and the state track champion owns 1,500 and 3,000 bests of 4:34.80 and 9:57.8, respectively. Freshman Annette Mosey (Wilsonville) was a two-time 4A state runner-up in the 800 and was 13th at the state cross country meet last fall.
LAST MEET RECAP
SALEM, Ore. (10/7) - The Duck men and women made their last in-state appearance Saturday and claimed both individual and team wins at Bush Park. Two-time All-American and senior Hanna Smedstad paced the women's squad with the 5K individual crown (17:05), four seconds ahead of unattached entrant Abby Peters (17:09). Fellow senior Katie Crabb also placed well up front (third, 17:30), joined by fellow scorers sophomore Eri Macdonald (sixth, 17:57), freshman Laura Harmon (seventh, 17:58), sophomores Erinn Gulbrandsen (14th, 18:19) and Carrie Zografos (19th, 18:32), freshman Annette Mosey (34th, 18:50) and sophomore Annie Davis (47th, 19:03). In the women's Division 1 team competition, the No. 22 Ducks came away with the team title with 15 points, edging the University of Portland (second, 49). On the men's side, the No. 16 Ducks added the other Division 1 team title with 31 points, ahead of Portland (33), San Francisco (59) and Portland State (DNS). Freshman Chris Clancy (23rd, 25:06), led the mostly `B' unit on the 8K course followed by junior Sean Gross (133, 27:04), senior Merrit McDole (134, 27:04), junior Ross Krempley (162, 27:23), freshman Mike Pluth (169, 27:32) and sophomore Jake Horner (244, 29:29).
At the end of last season, conference coaches honored then-freshman Jason Hartmann for his strong championship run with the 1999 Pac-10 Top Men's Cross Country Newcomer Award. The Rockford, Mich., native was the top freshman at the Pac-10 Championships (15th) and West Regional Championships (16th), and the top American freshman at the NCAA finale (37th), not to mention third among all freshmen including foreigners. The league also honored then-senior Steve Fein as the 1999 Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year. The Lenexa, Kan., native became only the sixth Duck ever to win both the Pac-10 and West Regional titles (while setting course records in both events). Fein had enjoyed an undefeated regular season leading up to the NCAA final before taking third in his final collegiate cross country race and tops among Americans. On the women's side, Stanford's Erin Sullivan, a freshman from Jericho, Vt., won both the Pac-10 Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards after becoming just the second freshmen to win the Pac-10 title. Dave Murray was named Men's Coach of the Year, while Arizona State's Walt Drenth was named the Women's Coach of the Year.
No university boasts a combined history as rich as the Oregon men's and women's programs. Dating back to All-American Steve Prefontaine in 1969, 18 men's runners have finished among the top five at the NCAA meet - the most recent being Steve Fein (third in `99). The Oregon list of greats includes such legends as American track record holders `Pre', Alberto Salazar, Rudy Chapa and Matt Centrowitz. On the women's side, Oregon has qualified as a team in 23 of 25 NCAA meets since 1975 and has finished in the top 10 in all but four. University of Oregon women have garnered 29 All-America honors and have included such greats as Marie Davis, Melody Fairchild, Kathy Hayes, Lisa Ondieki, and Annette Peters.
AT THE HELM
Beginning his second season as men's cross country coach, men's head coach Martin Smith has solidified Oregon as one of nation's most preminent programs. Last fall, he guided Oregon to its 24th top-10 NCAA cross country finish, while Ducks have garnered nine All-America honors in track and cross country in his first two seasons in Eugene. Previously, the two-time NCAA Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year (1985 & 88) led Wisconsin harrier squads to two NCAA titles, nine top-five finishes, and top-14 finishes in each of his 15 years in Madison. On the individual side, his Badger cross country athletes won one NCAA title and 34 All-America awards, to go with five NCAA titles and 44 All-America honors on the track. His harrier All-America tally during that period trailed only Arkansas, and even bettered the Hogs' tally counting only U.S. athletes. On the women's side, 26th-year coach Tom Heinonen's has also been honored as NCAA Coach of the Year for each of Oregon's two NCAA team titles and has directed the Ducks to the NCAA meet 24 times. Individually, his distance pupils have scored 30 All-America honors in cross country and 52 awards on the track. In conference competition the Ducks have historically paced 'The Conference of Champions' as his teams have won seven of 14 Pac-10 team titles and six individual crowns since the league's inception in 1986 - also garnering him six Pac-10 Coach-of-the-Year honors.
SCORING THE RACE
Cross country races are scored by adding together the places of each seven-person team's top five finishers, with the lowest score winning. A perfect score, thus, would be 15 (1+2+3+4+5), although scores at larger meets such as the NCAA Championships level are much higher because of the larger number of teams on hand (i.e. 50-100+ points). At the NCAA meet or other regular season meets where some individuals compete apart from teams, their places are not counted in the team scoring (i.e. a runner who finished 49th overall but was beaten by two individuals not affiliated with teams would be scored 47th in the team scoring).
NCAA QUALIFYING FORMULA
Just as the past two seasons, all Division 1 programs will compete for one of 31 starting positions in the NCAA Championships, Nov. 20 at Ames, Iowa. To qualify automatically, 18 teams - the top-two finishers from the nine regionals held on Saturday, Nov. 11 - will be selected as well as 13 `at-large' teams on Monday, Nov. 13, based on regular-season wins against other automatic and potential-qualifying teams. Individuals from non-qualifying teams also advanced to the NCAA finale, 38 total - the top four individuals from each region plus the two at-large individuals selected nationally. Before the 1998 NCAA Championships, the field was distinctively smaller, featuring 182 runners composed of 22 teams (four at-large) and 28 individual qualifiers (including four at-large).
ON PACE IN THE CLASSROOM
Last year the Ducks featured five harriers among the three Pac-10 All-Academic teams led by first-team pick Steve Fein (Accounting, 3.80). Senior Sam Hill (3.33, Exercise & Movement Science) was a second-team men's pick, while Annie Ebiner (3.76, Psychology), Lisa Jansen (3.40, Psychology) and junior Chrissy Ruiter (3.13, General Science) were selected as honorable mentions to the women's squad.
Martin Smith's impact on the 1999 NCAA race carried beyond the Ducks' impressive sixth-place finish as his former Wisconsin crew - including six of the varsity runners he recruited - took second overall with 185 points after entering the meet fourth-ranked. The Badgers featured two runners in the top six in Matt Downin (fourth) and Jay Schoenfelder (sixth), and also had two other transfers in the top 10 in Oregon's Steve Fein (third) and Arkansas's Andrew Begley (seventh). The Badger's final scorer, Jason Vanderhoof (60th), would have given Wisconsin the NCAA title with 62 points - five ahead of Arkansas which would have scored 67 without Begley. The previous year in 1998, the Badgers would have also won the title with 62 points with two individuals in the top 20 overall in Downin (fourth) and Schoenfelder (20th), and three others in the top-25 that were also All-Americans - Begley (16th), Fein (18th) and UCLA senior Mark Hauser (24th).
1999 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS REVIEW
The Duck men's and women's harrier teams put a fitting signature to the 1999 season finishing sixth and 19th overall with scores of 306 and 460 points, respectively. The Duck men featured All-America efforts by senior Steve Fein, who finished third (30:14.3) for Oregon's highest men's finish in 20 years, senior Andrew Bliss (34th, 31:14.1) and the top American freshman Jason Hartmann (37th, 31:17.3). The trio also marked Oregon's first trio of All-Americans in the top 40 overall in a decade. Also competing for the Ducks in their NCAA debuts were Michael Kasahun (107th, 32:08.0), Lincoln Nehring (203rd, 33:29.9) and Tom Becker (210th, 33:34.0). Overall in the team standings, race favorite Arkansas ran away with the team title with 58 points, ahead of Wisconsin (second, 185). The Ducks, ranked 12th before the meet, edged No. 5-ranked Colorado (seventh, 307) by one point for sixth in the 31-team field with 306 points. Individually, South Alabama freshman David Kimani pulled away from Fein in the eighth kilometer en route to the NCAA title. Arkansas senior Michael Power rode a strong final kick to runner-up honors as the top three were all under the previous course record set in 1992 when Olympian Bob Kennedy won his final NCAA title. On the women's side, the green and yellow effort was equally impressive as the No. 24-ranked Ducks met their pre-race objective of finishing top-20 by tying for 19th place with 11th-ranked N.C. State. Head coach Tom Heinonen's squad - featuring six in their NCAA debuts including four freshmen - responded with their best race of the year, putting their front four all in the top 110 overall. Freshman Amy Nickerson paced the team for the fifth time during the season (65th, 17:47.6), and less than 20 seconds ahead of Rhiannon Glenn (84th, 17:56.5), Tara Struyk (101st, 18:01.6) and Katie Crabb (114th, 18:06.2). The Ducks closed their scoring with Eri Macdonald (226th, 19:07.6), followed by Lisa Jansen (237th, 19:31.1) and Erinn Gulbrandsen (239th, 19:36.90). Among the women's efforts, Crabb's particularly stood out as the Chico, Calif., native had barely two weeks of training after an Achilles injury held her out of most of the fall. The Ducks' NCAA effort marked their 23rd top-20 national finish in the program's 25-year history.
Preseason Mondo Men's Poll (10/10)
Pl. Team Pts*1. Stanford(12) 3962. Arkansas(4) 388*3. Colorado 3684. Providence 3505. Wisconsin 3266. Iona 302*7. Georgetown 2938. BYU 277*9. Arizona 269*10. No. Arizona 261*11. Colo. St. 243*12. Will.&Mary 20213. N.C. State 18614. Michigan St. 18115. Okla. St. 180*16. Arizona St. 178*17. Notre Dame 167*18. Oregon 145*19. Weber State 10420. Washington 98*21. So. Florida 80*22. Indiana 5423. Princeton 4824. Michigan 43*25. Duke 25
Other Men's Teams
*Nebraska 24, *Eastern Michigan 12, *Minnesota 9, *Dartmouth 4, Villanova 4, Florida 3, *Portland 2, Penn 1, *UC-Santa Barbara 1, Utah State 1.
FinishLynx Women's Poll (10/9)
Pl. Team Pts*1. Stanford(11) 298*2. Colorado(1) 2873. BYU 2734. Washington 253*5. Kansas St. 248*6. Wisconsin 247*7. Georgetown 2178. N.C. State 204.59. Minnesota 204*10. Bost. Coll. 19211. Yale 17412. Arkansas 17013. Michigan 158*14. Arizona St. 156*15. Arizona 13316. Providence 124*17. Colo. St. 107*18. Villanova 9219. Texas A&M 78*20. Marquette 21*21. Brown 52*22. Oregon 51*23. Duke 48*24. No. Arizona 27*25. So. Florida 20
Other W Teams
TCU 7, Wake Forest 7, *Northwestern 6.5, *Boston 2, UCLA 2, *West Virginia 2, *Ball State 1, New Orleans 1, *Weber State 1.
UO Athletics: www.goducks.com
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NCAA Champs.: www.ncaachampionships.com
Iowa State Athletic Department (NCAA host): www.cyclones.com
Men's XC Poll: www.usccca.com
Women's XC Poll: www.raceberryjam.com
USA Track and Field: www.uastf.org
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Track & Field News: www.trackandfieldnews.com
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