2015 Pac-12 cross country preview-Men's race
The Pac-12’s 46th-annual men’s cross country championships will again be one of the most competitive championships in the country. Four-time champion COLORADO is the overwhelming favorite to win the title again, but six league teams in total are ranked in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches poll making the field a strong challenger for the Conference title.
The Buffs have not lost in the men’s race since joining the league in 2011. The two-time defending NCAA Champions have been the No. 1 team in the country since the final poll of the 2013 campaign. The Buffs, however, have been without Ben Saarel, a two-time All-American and a key member of the national championship teams. He could run at the Conference meet this week.
Third-ranked OREGON has the arsenal to unseat the Buffs. First and foremost, the Ducks will look to junior Edward Cheserek, the two-time Pac-12 and NCAA Champion. He is looking to become only the third person in league history to win the individual title, but also the first to win it in three-consecutive years. UO also has a pair of freshmen talents in Matthew Maton and Tanner Anderson who look to help Cheserek knock off the Buffs.
15th-ranked UCLA returns the top-seven from last season’s squad that qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second time in three years. Senior Lane Werley has paced the Bruins at meets earlier this month, including a third-place overall finish at the Washington Invitational. He will be looked to lead the squad in Colfax this week.
Washington is ranked 20th in the poll this week, but the Huskies have even fallen out of the polls this year, before getting back to No. 20. The Husky to watch is Izaic Yorks who placed seventh at the competitive meet at the Wisconsin Invitational for the best finish of his cross country career. He will have help from teammates Fred Huxham, Andrew Gardner and All-American Tyler King.
No. 21 California has turned in solid results this season, including a seventh-place finish at the Pre-NCAA Invitational where veterans Chris Walden and John Lawson led the team with top-50 finishes. The Golden Bears will bring with them plenty of experience with four of last year’s Pac-12 Championship competitors still on the roster.
Stanford is ranked 23rd, making a dive from No. 4 during the week of Oct. 6. The Cardinal, however, have not run its full A squad. Freshman Grant Fisher, who runs a sub-4 minute mile, will make his much-anticipated debut at the Pac-12 Championships. 2013 Pac-12 runner up Jim Rosa is also expected to make his season debut at the Conference meet. He also placed fifth at the NCAA Championships in 2013 before redshirting the 2014 campaign because of injury.
ARIZONA will look to veteran Collins Kibet who appears to be saving his best performances for the end of the season. He has been the Wildcats’ top finisher in the last three meets. He has been one of UA’s top three finishers in every meet this season.
With no seniors on the squad, WASHINGTON STATE will lean on junior John Whelan to lead the squad as the most veteran member of the team. Sophomore Michael Williams is following up a strong freshman campaign last year with a solid second year. He has been the Cougs’ top finisher so far and will run at his first Pac-12 Championship after missing out last year’s race due to injury.
Arizona State’s Ryan Herson is expected to run at this week’s Pac-12 Championships despite seeing limited action this season. He was the Sun Devils’ top finisher last year, placing 20th overall. ASU will be one of the more veteran teams on the course, with all but one scoring runner from last year’s squad that placed sixth back for this season.
- Arizona Cross Country
- Arizona State Cross Country
- California Cross Country
- Colorado Cross Country
- Oregon Cross Country
- Stanford Cross Country
- UCLA Cross Country
- Washington Cross Country
- Washington State Cross Country
- Pac-12 Championships
- Arizona State
- Washington State
- Cross Country