Cross Country Teams Compete in Pac-10 Champs
Nov. 2, 2002
PASADENA, Calif. - The University of Oregon men's and women's cross country teams opened their championship season with strong efforts in the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Championships, hosted by UCLA at the Brookside Golf Course, adjacent to the Rose Bowl.
The Duck men's harriers took second with 51 points in the eight-team race that included four top-25 teams, and the Oregon women placed fifth with 134 points against the nine-team field that featured four, top-25 teams.
In the men's 8K race, No. 5-ranked Oregon and No. 1 Stanford split the top nine places, as Duck senior Jason Hartmann and redshirt sophomore Ryan Andrus (fifth, 23:43) were the only runners to break up Stanford's front seven. The duo also became the first Duck pair since 1995 to score top-five finishes when Karl Keska won the league title and Matthew Davis followed in fourth place.
'I was pretty pleased with the race since it was our first in more than a month,' Hartmann said. 'It was good for our team, to go against a talented field to help us see where we stand nationally. It was also nice to shake off the rust a little and turn it up, especially on such a flat, fast course. The course and conditions were good, and it was also fun to hit the road as a team and get mentally focused back into racing mode.'
Andrus's effort was particularly impressive as the Orem, Utah native improved upon a 23rd-place finish last season as the team's fifth runner in the ASU-hosted meet. Earlier this year, Andrus paced the team in its other varsity stop, finishing eighth overall in September's Roy Griak Invite, St. Paul, Minn.
'Personally, I wasn't surprised by my place,' Andrus said. 'Last year I came into this race a little tentative and nervous, but this year the team needed me to run up front, and I wasn't afraid to push myself. Jason and I knew we needed to try and break up Stanford's points in the front. At 5K, I made the decision to let the leaders to go, and it was a smart, conservative move that paid off in the end. I needed to maintain my position, and at the end of the race, I still felt strong, and was closing on the guys ahead. I felt like my splits were pretty even, and I know I have to room to improve.'
Junior Brett Holts stepped up with his best conference finish (12th, 24:08), after taking 21st as a sophomore in '01 and 19th as a freshman in '00. Redshirt junior John Lucas (17th, 24:29) added his third straight top-20 effort, and junior Noel Paulson (18th, 24:34) added his second similar honor. Other Duck finishers included redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon (21st, 24:41) and redshirt freshman Will Viviani (46th, 25:23).
'I was very pleased with how the guys stepped up today,' Oregon men's cross country head coach Martin Smith said. 'I know not racing for five weeks wasn't easy, but the guys ran well. They looked a little slow initially, but finished really well on the third and fourth of the 2K laps. Jason and Ryan ran well in the front group; Brett made a brave and smart move to release himself from our 3-6 pack and move up midway; and Noel and John ran well in the last 2K. This was a very flat course, and they're not as calloused for such a fast, track-like race, but they ran well, and this gives us a good momentum leading into regionals.'
No. 1 Stanford took full advantage of a new rule this season that allowed a maximum of 10 entries per team. Senior Grant Robison defended his title (23:27) en route to a 1-2-3 sweep that included juniors Ian Dobson (second, 23:30) and Donald Sage (third, 23:36), while altogether the Cardinal claimed seven of the top nine places and nine of the top 15 overall. Trailing the Ducks by by 34 points, No. 25 Arizona State (third, 85), edged No. 35 Washington (fourth, 114), Washington State (fifth, 165), California (sixth, 166), Arizona (seventh, 176) and UCLA (eighth, 183).
Saturday's runner-up finish also marked Oregon's fifth top-two conference finish in the past seven years, and second in Martin Smith's four-year tenure (with third-place efforts the other two seasons).
On the women's side, the Ducks showed marked improvement this season with two runners in the top 20 and two others in the top 40, after last year's race featured only one Duck in the top 40 overall.
Redshirt senior Carrie Zografos enjoyed a breakthrough eighth-place finish in the 6K chase (21:03) - the Ducks' highest since Marie Davis took fifth in 1998. Looking back at past league finales, the Portland, Ore., native and Central Catholic High School graduate finished 35th last year and 44th in 2000 as a sophomore after transferring from Colorado, and overall has led the Ducks in six of her last seven races going back to 2001.
'I came in wanting to go top 10, so I'm really happy,' Zografos said. 'I went out harder than before, and was probably in the top 20 in the beginning. The difference was that I ran a hard middle half, so much that I wasn't sure how I would feel at the finish. But, Tom (Heinonen) told me that I needed to go out harder, because once the gaps opened between the different packs, it would be hard to move up, and he was right. I tried really hard on the second 2K loop to catch up to the back of the front pack, and I paid for it a little in the end, but I'm glad I still tried. Tom's been great at emphasizing speed in practice, and I'm feeling the difference, and I'm also feeling stronger.'
Junior Laura Harmon was close behind with a Pac-10 best of her own (19th, 21:25), after taking 48th last year due to an illness, and 35th as a freshman in 2000. Harmon's runner-up placing on the team was her third in the Ducks' second spot or higher this year.
'I went out conservatively,' Harmon said, 'because I've had some minor problems lately with my shins. At the halfway point I started to feel really good, and I was able to feed off of a lot of the nearby runners. When you start to pass people, it gives you confidence and makes it easier to build momentum. I liked the small course, too, since it was easy to get familiar with the layout - you always knew exactly where you were and how far the finish was. I've been improving during the season, and I felt really good afterwards and hope to finish even higher in regionals.'
Other Duck finishers included junior Magdalena Sandoval (36th, 22:13), senior Erinn Gulbrandsen (40th, 22:22), redshirt junior Eri Macdonald (44th, 22:36) and freshmen Nicole Feest (54th, 23:00) and Eleanor Gordon (58th, 23:13). Although she has been slowed at times this year with a hamstring injury, Sandoval's placing was one better than last year, while Gulbrandsen was four places better than last season. Oregon's other entrant, redshirt junior Alicia Snyder-Carlson, was injured in a fall in the opening 100 meters of the race, and received a deep gash in her arm after being spiked by another runner.
'Carrie ran her best race of the year,' Oregon women's cross country head coach Tom Heinonen said. 'She went out faster than normal and moved all the way up to sixth at the halfway point. She paid for pushing the pace at the end, and it may have cost her two spots, but it was a good experience for her to go out faster. Laura moved up from 33rd at two miles to 19th and the end, and had a good solid race. Overall, we didn't beat the teams we needed to help our nationals case, but we competed well and showed much improvement over last year.'
The Duck women's finish also marked the final conference harrier finale for Heinonen in his 28th year head coach. During his career, the six-time Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year has led the Ducks to wins in seven of the 17 Pac-10 Championships ever held - second-most among any league team - and Duck individuals have claimed a conference-best eight individual crowns.
Overall in the women's race, No. 2 Stanford took four of the top five individual spots and scored 23 points, edging No. 17 Arizona State (second, 59), No. 25 Washington (third, 79), No. 19 UCLA (fourth, 86), Oregon (fifth, 134), Washington State (sixth, 197), USC (seventh, 202), California (eighth, 208) and Arizona (ninth, 242).
Looking ahead, the Duck men and women take a week off from racing before heading to the Stanford Golf Course, Sat., Nov. 16 for the NCAA Western Regional Championships. The top two teams and top four individuals from non-qualifying teams automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships (Mon., Nov. 25) in Terre Haute, Ind., with 13 more at-large teams and two at-large individuals selected nationally on Monday, Nov. 18 to fill out the 31-team, 255 men's and women's fields.
Pacific-10 Conference Championships
Brookside Golf Course - UCLA
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2002
Men's Team Scores - 1, Stanford, 19. 2, Oregon, 51. 3, Arizona State, 85. 4, Washington, 114. 5, Washington State, 165. 6, California, 166. 7, Arizona, 176. 8, UCLA, 183.
Men's Individual Results (8K) - 1, Grant Robison, Stanford, 23:27. 2, Ian Dobson, Stanford, 23:30. 3, Donald Sage, Stanford, 23:36. 4, Jason Hartmann, Oregon, 23:38. 5, Ryan Andrus, Oregon, 23:43. 6, Adam Tenforde, Stanford, 23:51. 7, Neil Davis, Stanford, 23:58. 8, Ryan Hall, Stanford, 24:00. 9, Peter Meindl, Stanford, 24:00. 10, Fasil Bizuneh, Arizona State, 24:03. 11, Justin Romaniuk, Stanford, 24:08. 12, Brett Holts, Oregon, 24:08. 13, J.J. Duke, Arizona State, 24:20. 14, Mark Anderson, Arizona, 24:21. 15, Robert Smitson, Stanford, 24:24. 16, Aaron Aguayo, Arizona State, 24:28. 17, John Lucas, Oregon, 24:29. 18, Noel Paulson, Oregon, 24:34. 19, Eric Garner, Washington, 24:38. 20, Matt Topping, Washington, 21, Eric Logdson, Oregon, 24:41. 22, Martin Conrad, California, 24:44. 23, Danny Wolf, Washington State, 24:45. 24, Erik Emilsson, UCLA, 24:47. 25, Ryan Warrenburg, Arizona State, 24:47.
Other Oregon Men's Finishers - 46, Will Viviani, 25:23.
Women's Team Scores - 1, Stanford, 23. 2, Arizona State, 59. 3, Washington, 79. 4, UCLA, 86. 5, Oregon, 134. 6, Washington State, 197. 7, USC, 202. 8, California, 208. 9, Arizona, 242.
Women's Individual Results (6K) - 1, Sara Bei, Stanford, 19:48. 2, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 19:50. 3, Lena Nilsson, UCLA, 20:01. 4, Alicia Craig, Stanford, 20:10. 5, Malindi Elmore, Stanford, 20:25. 6, Jessica Scalzo, Arizona State, 20:53. 7, Courtney Inman, Washington, 20:57. 8, Carrie Zografos, Oregon, 21:03. 9, Alejandra Barrientos, UCLA, 21:11. 10, Amy Hastings, Arizona State, 21:11. 11, Erin Sullivan, Stanford, 21:14. 12, Desiree Davila, Arizona State, 21:19. 13, Kate Bradshaw, Washington, 21:20. 14, Lindsey Egerdahl, Washington, 21:21. 15, Cynthia Atencio, Arizona State, 21:22. 16, Liz Lindgren, Arizona State, 21:23. 17, Kate Spigel, Washington, 21:23. 18, Jeane Goff, Stanford, 21:24. 19, Laura Harmon, Oregon, 21:25. 20, Anna Blue, Washington State, 21:26. 21, Anna Masinelli, Arizona State, 21:29. 22, Jenna Timinsky, UCLA, 21:30. 23, Cody Sohn, Arizona State, 21:30. 24, Brooke Thomas, USC, 21:30. 25, Carmen Winant, UCLA, 21:31.
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