Stanford Sweeps Men's & Women's Pac-10 Cross Country Championships
SEATTLE - It was a sweep for the Stanford cross country program, as the Cardinal claimed the Pac-10 Men's and Women's Cross Country Championship titles at the Jefferson Golf Club on Saturday in Seattle. Individually, Oregon's Jordan Hasay was the top women's finisher, posting a time of 19:44.95. Stanford swept the top three spots in the men's race, with Elliott Heath winning by a nose over his teammates with a time of 23:00.46.
Six points separated the top four teams in the women's race, the closest in Pac-10 history. Stanford had three runners in the top 10 and collected 62 points. Arizona, who has had a breakout season this fall, had 65 points to place second. Oregon and Washington tied for third in the standings with 68 points. The Cardinal reclaimed the title after a three-year absence, last winning the crown in 2007. It is also Stanford's 15th Pac-10 Championship all-time.
"I told the women it would be a close race," said Cardinal head coach Jason Dunn. "We needed to place three in the top 10 if we were going to win. I'm happy with the way they and Kathy [Kroeger] ran well with Jordan [Hasay] up front to lead the team. Stephanie [Marcy] placing in the top five, and Jessica Tonn, only a freshman, did a great job coming in eighth."
The top three runners were from different teams with Hasay leading the way. Stanford's Kathy Kroeger was second with a time of 19:49.43, and California's Deborah Maier was third, posting a time of 20:01.85.
"It's definitely an honor to win for Oregon, but I'm disappointed our team didn't do as well as we wanted to. We have the potential. It was a close race, good competition. It's a great Conference," said Pac-10 Champion Hasay, who is the second-straight Duck to win the individual title after former Duck Nicole Blood won it in 2009. "It was really close. The last [kilometer] was really tough between Kathy [Kroger] and I. With 400 meters to go, I tried to kick it as hard as I could. I just had a little more today. It was an exciting battle."
Washington's Katie Flood edged Arizona's Jennifer Bergman down the stretch to get her Huskies on the podium, posting a sixth-place finish with a time of 20:15315. Bergman was the top finisher for the Wildcats, coming in seventh place with a time of 20:15.32 to lead her squad to the second-place showing.
In the men's race, the lead pack was following Stanford's trio for the entire race. The three essentially crossed the finish line at the same time, with officials needing to check the video before making the official declaration of the winner. Jake Riley came in second place behind Elliott by just a hair, recording a time of 23:00.57. Last year's Pac-10 Individual Champion, Chris Derrick, was just a tad bit behind him at 23:00.59. The title was Stanford's second in a row, after capturing the 2009 crown, and 12th all-time.
"I'm thrilled with the result. The guys ran exactly to plan. We wanted our first three guys to get out and push the pace, and the rest of the guys to hang back and work their way through the pack and that's exactly what they did," said Cardinal head coach Jason Dunn. "Our sights have been set on nationals since we met in August and now we want to see it to the end. This is a great victory. We're going to work hard and continue to make progress as we head to nationals."
"I won the race, but it was anyone's race. We were't separated by much," said Pac-10 Champion Elliott Heath. "We wanted to set the pace from the start and run out together. There was a good pack behind us, but it wasn't until the end that were able to pull away a little bit. It's a great win and now we're focused on nationals and winning a title after the letdown last year. We want to finish strong this year."
Coming in second place in the men's team standings was Oregon with 56 points, and California placed third with 86 points. The top finisher for the Ducks', Luke Puskedra, came in behind the Cardinal trio, with a time of 23:05.80. Michael Coe was Cal's top runner, placing sixth with a time of 23:12.33. Stephen Sambu from Arizona rounded out the top five with a time of 23:06.77.
All teams look forward to the NCAA Regional meet on Nov. 13 in Springfield, Ore. The teams and runners who qualify go on to compete for the national championship at the NCAA meet on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.