Cheserek, Jenkins Pace Ducks’ Victory in Boston
BOSTON, Mass. – Defending NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek won his fifth cross country race in a row to lead the third-ranked Men of Oregon to the team title Friday at the Battle in Beantown.
Cheserk and teammate Eric Jenkins crossed the finish line in a virtual dead heat, finishing the 8,000 meter course at Franklin Park in 24:20. Cheserek reached the tape just a hair ahead of Jenkins to keep his winning streak intact, though Jenkins was just as impressive in his return to his native New England.
The senior from Portsmouth, N.H., was one of five Oregon runners in the top 10, as the Ducks easily won the Battle in Beantown for the second year in a row with 24 points. No. 8 Syracuse was second with 52 points, followed by No. 16 Providence (79), Georgetown (103) and Dartmouth (142).
Also scoring for the Ducks was senior Daniel Winn, who placed fifth overall. The Portland, Ore., finished in 24:33 in one of his best races in an Oregon uniform. Freshman Sam Prakel was right behind Winn in sixth (24:36), with junior Matthew Melancon rounding out Oregon’s scoring with a 10th-place finish in 24:42.
The Ducks also had freshman Travis Neuman place 14th in 24:45.
How It Happened: Winn and Melancon carried the load for the Ducks for much of the race, with Cheserek and Jenkins tucked behind. Winn and Melancon – both Oregon natives - helped the Ducks control the pace and keep the pack tightly grouped until Cheserek hit the afterburners and Jenkins followed.
Beyond the Splits: Friday was the second consecutive top-five finish for the under-the-radar Winn. The only other Duck who can make that claim is Cheserek.
What It Means: Oregon gained both confidence with the win, and NCAA points with head-to-head victories over fellow NCAA contenders Syracuse, Providence, Georgetown, Dartmouth and Columbia.
Odds and Ends: Friday marked the season debut for sophomore Jake Leingang, who was 40th in 25:13.
What’s Next: Washington Invitational (women), Oct. 4, Seattle, Wash.; Charles Bowles Invitational (men), Oct. 4, Salem, Ore.
Quoteworthy: “It was a great race across the board for the Men of Oregon. Today’s race keeps us on pace with what we want to accomplish this season. The guys ran well as a group, and it was a really good day for Edward (Cheserek) and Eric Jenkins. Not only did we have those two together up front, but I was just as excited to have five guys finish in the top 10 in a really competitive field,” said Oregon associate head coach Andy Powell.
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