Pac-12 cross country to compete at NCAA regionals

Cliff Grassmick/Pac-12 Conference

Pac-12 NCAA History

WALNUT CREEK, Colo. -- Pac-12 men’s and women’s cross country teams are headed to the NCAA Regional meets this Friday, Nov. 15. League teams will go to Sacramento, Calif., for the NCAA West Regional or the Mountain Regional in Ogden, Utah, to try to earn berths to the NCAA Championships being held on Saturday, Nov. 23.

On the men’s side, three-time Pac-12 Champion COLORADO will represent the Pac-12 at the NCAA Mountain Regional race which is being hosted by Weber State. Ranked No. 1, the Buffs have earned a spot in the NCAA Championships every year since 1992, but have not won the regional race since 2008. The top two teams at each regional earn automatic bids to the national meet.

The men’s West Regional meet features eight Pac-12 teams, led by fourth-ranked OREGON. Four of the eight teams participating in the race are ranked in the top 30 in the country, including No. 6 STANFORD, No. 28 ARIZONA STATE and No. 29 WASHINGTON. Also participating in Friday’s meet being hosted by Sacramento State are ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, UCLA and WASHINGTON STATE. A Pac-12 team has won the West Region every year since the start of the event in 1997. Oregon or Stanford have claimed the title every year since 2007, with the Cardinal having won the last two and 11 in all.

The women’s West Regional race will be stacked with some of the nation’s top teams, primarily because five of the nine Pac-12 teams competing are ranked in the country, including No. 1 ARIZONA. The Wildcats claimed their first-ever Pac-12 title two weeks ago. Also in the race are No. 12 WASHINGTON, No. 15 OREGON, No. 18 STANFORD and No. 26 ARIZONA STATE. Additionally, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE, UCLA and WASHINGTON STATE will be sending full teams to compete, while USC entered individuals. A Pac-12 team has captured the West Region title every year since the start of the event in 1997. The Ducks claimed last year’s crown, en route to winning the NCAA title. The Huskies won the event four-straight years from 2008-2011, before UO won the crown last season. The individual women’s crown is also up for grabs after former Duck Jordan Hasay had won the title three years in a row.

The UTAH and COLORADO women will be among the field at the Mountain Regional title. The Buffs, who are ranked 10th in the country, are coming off a second-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships by just six points behind the Wildcats.

Individually, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek and Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe look to compete for the individual West Region titles. Cheserek became the first Duck to win the Pac-12 men’s title as a freshman, winning by six seconds ahead of second-place finisher Stanford’s Jim Rosa. The Buffs placed five runners in the top 10 at the Pac-12 Championships to claim the league crown, so it will be a tight race for the Mountain Region individual crown

Cuffe beat the Pac-12 women’s field by 11 seconds to take home the league’s individual crown and looks to be one of the favorites for the West Region women’s title. Colorado’s Shalaya Kipp could figure to be a top women’s contender for the individual crown in the Mountain Regional. She placed in the top-10 at the Pac-12 meet and is a 2012 Olympian in the steeplechase.

The West Regional begins with the men’s race at 10:30 a.m. PT and the women’s race at 11:45 a.m. PT at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. The Mountain Regional starts with the men’s race at 12 p.m. MT and concludes with the women’s race at 1:15 p.m. MT. A full list of team and individual qualifiers for the NCAA meet will be released on Saturday.

For more information, visit the USTFCCCA’s NCAA Regional Meet Central here: http://www.ustfccca.org/infozone/regional-championship-central.php