Harrier Teams Draw Closer to Season Opener
Aug. 16, 2002
With more than a month to go before the start of fall classes (Tue., 9/24), the University of Oregon men's and women's cross country squads are drawing closer to their first practices in early September, approximately two weeks before their first contests of the season. The men open competition with a scaled-back unit in a triangular vs. Portland and Portland State, at Pier Park at 4 p.m., Fri., Sept. 13. Two weeks later, both squads travel to St. Paul, Minn., for one of the nation's biggest and most challenging meets, the Roy Griak Invitational. Last year, the 36-team men's field featured 14 top-25 teams (and nine more receiving votes among the top 40), and 12 teams on the 33-team women's side.
DUCK MEN'S PREVIEW
The Duck men return six of last year's top seven from last year's 13th-place NCAA finishers -- a solid effort considering the 14th-ranked squad entered six NCAA rookies. The squad foreshadowed their success with third-place Pac-10 and Western Regional finishes against fields that featured four and six NCAA team qualifiers, respectively. Looking ahead to 2002, two-time All-American Jason Hartmann (Rockford, Mich.) will try to become the eighth Duck to win three or more All-America honors after missing the honor by 10 seconds last year (50th, 30:21). He has led the squad in nine of his 10 races as a sophomore and junior, and was the Pac-10 Men's Newcomer of the Year as a frosh. On the track, he has placed top-four in the NCAA 10K in 2001 (third) and 2002 (fourth). His lowered his 10K in June's USA Championships (eighth, 28:48.76) and stands as the top collegiate returnee from the race for 2003, not to mention fifth all-time for the Ducks. Juniors John Lucas (Eagle Point) and Brett Holts (Bend) posted top-25 Pac-10 finishes both in 2001 (17th/21st), and 2000 (18th/19th), and scored in their 2001 NCAA debuts (117th/96th). On the track in 2002, Lucas was an NCAA provisional qualifier indoors in the 5,000 (14:16.40) and an entrant in the Pac-10 10K (13th). Holts was a Pac-10 scorer in the steeplechase (9:03.32), with all four of his season and career races sub-9:05 -- including a best of 8:57.33 three seconds shy of the NCAA provisional mark. Junior Noel Paulson (Aumsville) was also a top-25 Pac-10 harrier finisher in 2000 (25th), and in 2001 his Pac-10 open race time in Arizona was the sixth-fastest of the eight Ducks on the course that day. Indoors in 2002, he ran an NCAA provisional mile of 4:04.31. Redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon (Canby) scored in three of his final four races of 2001, including his Regional (41st) and NCAA (156th) debuts. On the track in May, he ran an NCAA provisional best of 14:04.85 with only one shoe the last mile in the Cardinal Invite, and later scored fourth in the Pac-10 track finale. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Andrus (Orem, Utah) figured as the team's third finisher in three meets in 2001, including top-25 Pac-10 and Western Regional finishes (23rd/27th). On the track, he owns 1,500/5K bests of 3:46.5/14:11 as a freshman at Wisconsin in the spring of 1998. The only loss from last year's harrier top seven is Adam Bergquist, the squad's second finisher in all three championships races -- (11th at Pac-10 and Regionals, 60th at NCAAs). Seth Pilkington (Roy, Utah), a freshman on the 2001 squad and sixth in the 2001 Foot Locker Championships as a prep senior, will begin a two-year religious mission this fall.
DUCK WOMEN'S PREVIEW
The Duck women return all of last year's letterwinnners and a two-time NCAA veteran that redshirted in 2001, while sporting only one senior on their roster. Last year, they missed the national finale for only the third time in head coach's Tom Heinonen 27 years at the helm after eighth- and 12th-place Pac-10 and Western Regional finishes, respectively. Redshirt senior Carrie Zografos (Portland) returns after a breakthrough 2001-02 season. In cross country, she ranked as the team's MVP and most improved and led the squad in four of her five cross country races - the Sundodger Invite (seventh), Roy Griak Invite (99th), Furman Invite (75th) and Pac-10 Champs (35th). On the track, she led the team in the 1,500 with a Pac-10 qualifier that was 12 seconds better than her preseason best (4:26.98), and made an ever bigger splash over the barriers. In her season steeplechase debut vs. Washington, she missed the NCAA provisional mark in the steeplechase by barely two seconds with her school record (10:42.02), and later added fifth in the Pac-10 finale. Junior Laura Harmon (Vancouver, Wash.) led the squad once last season -- in the Western Regional (45th) -- and ranked second in the first two races of 2001 and fifth in the remaining two meets due to illness. On the track in 2002, she led the team in the 5K (17:12.04) and ranked second in the 1,500 (4:29.49) with Pac-10 qualifiers in both. Redshirt junior Eri Macdonald (Honolulu, Hawai'i) returns after redshirting last fall and has scored in 11 of 13 career races for the Ducks, including NCAA appearances in 1999 and 2000. Outdoors on the track in 2002, she missed an NCAA invite in the 800 by .04 seconds with her personal best (2:06.37) and made her second appearance in the Pac-10 final. Junior Magdalena Sandoval (Los Alamos, N.M.) was the team's top newcomer last fall and ran among the Ducks' top four in all five races -- including second twice -- before missing the spring as she returned from a stress fracture. Senior Erinn Gulbrandsen (Chico, Calif.) placed among the squad's top four in every race, including four stops in the top three, then redshirted the track season. Junior Annette Mosey (Wilsonville) scored in five of her six races in her first varsity harrier season in 2001, and on the track in 2002 ranked second and third on the squad, respectively, in the 800 (2:10.55) and 1,500 (4:35.78). Redshirt sophomore Alicia Snyder-Carlson (Kihei, Hawai'i) proved a pleasant surprise in her first season of varsity cross country duty in 2001 -- including two scoring efforts and top-seven finishes in her three other appearances. On the track, she was the only athlete to qualify for the Pac-10 meet in the 400 hurdles (61.51) and steeplechase (11:07.85), and ranked first and second, respectively, on the team. Freshman Sara Schaaf (Klamath Falls) scored once last fall before missing the harrier regional finale because of a stress fracture. She will likely not compete this fall, switching to the Ducks' long sprint corps this track season.
LIFE IN A WESTERN TOWN
In 2001, the NCAA Western Regional and the 'Conference of Champions' again laid claim as the most prolific among the NCAA fields with 11 combined M&W teams. The NCAA men's field featured six regional and four Pac-10 teams (Stanford (second), Portland (seventh), Oregon (13th), Santa Barbara (17th), Arizona State (20th), and Arizona (21st), and the women's field featured five conference foes (Arizona (fourth), Stanford (fifth), Washington (14th), UCLA (21st) and Arizona State (23rd). In six of the past seven NCAA finales, the men's Western Regional has featured six or more All-Americans, and the 2000 & 2001 NCAA women's fields featured five conference schools, and six in 1999. Altogether in the past 11 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the Pac-10 has featured three team titles (2 men's, 1 women's), three team runners-up (2 men's, 1 women's) and five individual winners (3 men's, 2 women's).
ACROSS THE NATION
A battle is brewing nationally on the men's front after Colorado edged Stanford by one point, 90-91, last fall for the NCAA team title. Both squads return most all of last year's varsity talent, with 2000 NCAA champion Arkansas and Wisconsin other contenders. On the women's side, BYU has won three of the past team titles (2001, 1999 and 1997), and will fend off challenges from Stanford, Boston College, Colorado, North Carolina, and Georgetown. The men's individual chase could be one of the fastest ever with last year's top four back -- 2001 champion Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan, Jorge Torres (second) and Dathan Ritzenhein (fourth) of Colorado, and Alistair Cragg (third) of Arkansas -- not to mention 1999 NCAA champ David Kimani of Alabama. Women's individual favorites include Stanford's Lauren Fleshman (third last year, and a two-time NCAA outdoor 5K champion), last year's harrier runner-up Renee Metivier of Georgia Tech, 2002 NCAA 10K champ Kristen Price of N.C. State, North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan, and Colorado's Molly Austin.
IN THE POLLS
Although the 2002 preseason poll isn't released until early September, the Men of Oregon will likely climb from 2001's pre-NCAA final ranking of 14th. The Oregon women were unranked at the end of last 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 list of Oregon greats includes such legends as NCAA harrier champions 'Pre' (1970-71-73) and Alberto Salazar (1978) and fellow American track record holders Rudy Chapa and Matt Centrowitz. On the women's side, Oregon has qualified as a team in 24 of 27 NCAA meets since 1975 and has finished in the top 10 in 18 appearances. The University of Oregon women have garnered 30 All-America honors and have featured such greats as Marie Davis, Melody Fairchild, Kathy Hayes, Lisa Ondieki, and Annette Peters.
Redshirt freshman Erik Heinonen looms as the top addition to the men's squad in 2002. A local product out of South High School in Eugene, he placed fifth in the 2000 FootLocker Cross Country Championships, the national prep championship. On the track as a prep senior in 2001, he paced the national prep list in the 10,000 (31:26.05), while his 5,000 best of 14:35.8 dates back to his junior season. At the state harrier level, he finished third as a senior, 21st as a junior, third as a sophomore and 30th as a freshman. He also competed in the U.S. Junior Cross Country Championships in 2001 (13th) and 1999 (21st). Several men's and women's walk-ons will join the squads in September, but NCAA rules prevent publicity until they begin official team practice in the fall.
Starting with the Roy Griak Invite, the Duck men and women will try to garner as many head-to-head regular season wins against other potential NCAA participants from across the nation and help their qualifying cause for the NCAA Championships. The NCAA men's and women's fields (31 teams in each) feature the top-two team finishers from each of November's nine NCAA regionals on Sat., Nov. 16, along with an additional 13 at-large teams selected on their regional finish and regular-season wins against other automatic qualifiers and at-large hopefuls. The 255-individual NCAA field also features 38 individuals from non-qualifying teams -- the top four individuals from each region, plus two at-large individuals selected nationally. Although the Duck women failed to qualify in 2001, they utilized the at-large route in 2000 after a fourth-place regional finish and previous regular season wins against five fellow NCAA qualifiers -- Marquette, North Carolina, South Florida, Wake Forest and Weber State.
AT THE HELM
Beginning his fourth season as men's cross country head coach, Martin Smith has solidified Oregon as one of nation's preeminent programs. In his first season as cross country head coach in 1999, he guided Oregon to a sixth-place NCAA harrier finish -- its 24th top-10 national placing. Altogether in track and field and cross country since his arrival in 1998, the Ducks have garnered 20 All-America honors individually, and ninth-place NCAA finishes outdoors in 2001 and indoors in 2002. In return, Smith was tabbed Pac-10 and West Region Men's Track Coach of the Year in 2002. On the women's side, 28th-year head coach Tom Heinonen has also been honored as NCAA Coach of the Year for each of Oregon's NCAA two cross country and one track and field team titles, and has directed the Ducks to the collegiate harrier finale 24 times, including 18 top-10 NCAA finishes. Individually, his distance pupils have scored 30 All-America honors in cross country and 53 awards on the track. In conference competition the Ducks have historically paced 'The Conference of Champions' as his teams have won seven of 16 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.
PAC-10 HONOR ROLL
Barely two weeks after the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Arizona's Tara Chaplin and Stanford's Donald Sage and were named Pacific-10 Conference Cross Country Athletes of the Year after their first- and seventh-place NCAA finishes. Arizona State's J.J. Duke and Stanford's Sara Bei claimed M&W Newcomer of the Year honors, and Stanford's Vin Lananna and Arizona's Dave Murray were named M&W Coaches of the Year. Honors were decided by a vote of conference cross country coaches.
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 would be 15 points (1+2+3+4+5), although scores in larger meets such as the NCAA Championships are much higher because of the larger number of teams on hand (i.e. 50-100+ points). In the NCAA Championships or other regular season invitationals 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).
All-America honors are awarded based on NCAA Championships finishes. The top 30 finishers from both the men's and women's races, regardless of citizenship, are honored by the U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association, along with any additional finishers that are among the top 30 U.S. finishers. Often the award will extend to Americans in the 40th-50th range on the men's side, and 35th-40th on the women's side.
Oregon M&W Cross Country Quick Facts
2001 Pac-10 All-Academic Honorees
Women's First Team - Erinn Gulbrandsen, English/Exer. and Movement Science
2001 NCAA Championships
Furman University Cross Country Course
M10K/ W6K * Greenville, S.C. * 11/19/01
Men's Team Results - 1, Colorado 90. 2, Stanford 91. 3, Arkansas 118. 4, N. Arizona 193. 5, Wisconsin 245. 6, Notre Dame 248. 7, Portland 273. 8, Villanova 282. 9, N.C. State, 293. 10, Providence 294. 11, Michigan 364. 12, BYU 368. 13, Oregon 389. 14, Duke 410. 15, Georgetown 419. 16, William & Mary 420. 17, UCSB 432. 18, Michigan State 449. 19, Wake Forest 450. 20, ASU 477. 21, Arizona 486. 22, Colorado State 491. 23, Butler 529. 24, Dartmouth 548. 25, Minnesota 584. 26, Air Force 620. 27, Nebraska 661. 28, Texas 679. 29, Alabama 681. 30, Tennessee 722. 31, Oklahoma State 729.
Individuals - 1, Boaz Cheboiywo, E. Michigan, 28:47. 2, Jorge Torres, Colorado, 29:06. 3, Alistair Cragg, Arkansas, 29:10. 4, Dathan Ritzenheim, Colorado, 29:11. 5, Luke Watson, Notre Dame, 29:19.
Women's Team Results - 1, BYU 62. 2, N.C. State 148. 3, Georgetown 180. 4, Arizona 194. 5, Stanford 206. 6, Boston College 232. 7, North Carolina 239. 8, Colorado 240. 9, Virginia 303. 10, Providence 337. 11, Michigan State 353. 12, Northern Arizona 367. 13, Yale 423. 14, Washington 425. 15, Marquette 437. 16, Boston 454. 17, Arkansas 460. 18, Oklahoma State 482. 19, Notre Dame, 509. 20, Colorado State 529. 21, UCLA 539. 22, Columbia 553. 23, Arizona State 554. 24, Villanova 560. 25, Minnesota 582. 26, Georgia Tech 583. 27, Brown 592. 28, Texas 620. 29, Dartmouth 636. 30, Cornell 653. 31, South Florida 662.
Individuals - 1, Tara Chaplin, Arizona, 20:24. 2, Renee Metivier, Georgia Tech, 20:31. 3, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:35. 4, Kristin Price, N.C. State, 20:36. 5, Michaela Manova, BYU, 20:42.
NCAA Western Regional Champs
Dell Urich Golf Course * M10K/W6K
Tucson, Arizona * 11/10/01
Men's Teams (20 Total) - 1, Stanford 37 points. 2, Portland 91. 3, Oregon 112. 4, ASU 116. 5, Santa Barbara 124. 6, Arizona 135. 7, Washington 140. 8, WSU 194. 9, UCLA 222. 10, Cal Poly SLO 246. ... 20, St. Mary's 651.
Men's Individuals - 1, Donald Sage, Stanford, 30:43.4. 2, Grant Robison, Stanford, 30:50.1. 3, Jason Hartmann, Oregon, 30:57.6. 4, Fasil Bizuneh ASU, 30:59.1. 5, Joe Driscoll, Portland, 31:01.4.
Women's Teams (23 total) - 1, Stanford 39 points. 2, Arizona 81. 3, Arizona State 85. 4, Washington 118. 5, UCLA 164. 6, WSU 214. 7, UC Irvine 229. 8, Cal Poly SLO, 250. 9, Boise State 268. 10, Hawaii 295. 11, Santa Barbara 298. 12, Oregon 350. ... 23, St. Mary's 608.
Women's Individuals - 1, Tara Chaplin, Arizona, 20:40.1. 2, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:52.0. 3, Lisa Aguilera, ASU, 20:54.5. 4, Alicia Craig, Stanford, 21:04.4. 5, Everlyne Lagat, WSU, 21:06.6.
UO Women - 45, Laura Harmon, 23:07.1. 75, Erinn Gulbrandsen, 23:59.5. 78, Magdalena Sandoval, 24:03.7. 81, Annette Mosey, Oregon, 24:07.2. 97, Carrie Zografos, 24:25.8. 125, Alicia Snyder-Carlson, 25:07.5.
Pacific-10 Conference Championships
Pavilion Lakes Golf Course * M8K/ W6K
Scottsdale, Ariz. * 10/27/01
Men's Teams - 1, Stanford 28 points. 2, ASU 75. 3, Oregon 78. 4, Arizona 96. 5, Washington 102. 6, UCLA 148. 7, WSU 163. 8, California 192.
Men's Individuals - 1, Grant Robison, Stanford, 24:04.0. 2, Fasil Bizuneh, ASU, 24:06.4. 3, Donald Sage, Stanford, 24:11. 4, Jason Fayant, Washington, 24:17.7. 5, Ian Dobson, Stanford, 234:26.3.
Women's Teams - 1, Stanford 27. 2, Arizona 64. 3, ASU 79. 4, UCLA 107. 5, Washington 109. 6, Washington State 155. 7, USC 168. 8, Oregon 210. 9, Cal 259.
Women's Individuals - 1, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:08.1. 2, Sara Bei, Stanford, 20:17.4. 3, Tara Chaplin, Arizona, 20:19.6. 4, Everlyn Lagat, WSU, 20:48.0. 5, Alicia Craig, Stanford, 20:56.0.
UO Women - 35, Carrie Zografos, 22:58.8. 37, Magdalena Sandoval, 23:06.9. 44, Erinn Gulbrandsen, 23:32.6. 46, Annette Mosey, 23:34.2. 48, Laura Harmon, 23:39.7. 56, Sara Schaaf, 25:05.1. 60, Alicia Snyder-Carlson, 27:12.3.
UO Athletics: www.goducks.com
Pacific-10 Conference: www.pac-10.org
NCAA Champs.: www.ncaachampionships.com
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Women's XC Poll: www.raceberryjam.com
M&W XC Regional Polls: www.usccca.com
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