Pac-12 announces 2016 cross country honors

Chris Hook

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek Named Men’s Athlete of the Year
Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale Named Women’s Athlete of the Year
Stanford’s Thomas Ratcliffe Named Men’s Freshman of the Year
Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger Named Women’s Freshman of the Year
Colorado’s Mark Wetmore Named Men’s & Women’s Coach of the Year

 

SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference announced on Tuesday the recipients of the 2016 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country All-Conference honors. On the men’s side, OREGON’s Edward Cheserek was named Athlete of the Year for an unprecedented fourth straight year, while STANFORD’s Thomas Ratcliffe was tabbed Freshman of the Year. For the women, WASHINGTON’s Amy-Eloise Neale was named Athlete of the Year and OREGON’s Katie Rainsberger was tabbed Freshman of the Year. COLORADO’s Mark Wetmore swept the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season.

Edward Cheserek (Newark, N.J.) completed the most decorated men's career in Conference history with his unrivaled fourth consecutive Pac-12 individual championship on Friday, passing distance legends and three-time champions Steve Prefontaine (OREGON, 1970-71 & 1973) and Henry Rono (WASHINGTON STATE, 1976-77 & 1979). He is now the first man to earn the Conference's Athlete of the Year award four times, eclipsing Rono's total of three. He joins ARIZONA alumna Amy Skieresz (1995-98) as the only four-time individual champions and Athletes of the Year in Conference cross country history. The senior will aim for a third NCAA West Regionals individual win on Nov. 11 in Sacramento, and then look to cement his legacy as the most decorated runner in NCAA history with a fourth straight national championship on Nov. 19 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Thomas Ratcliffe (Concord, Mass.) was the highest freshman finisher in the field at the Pac-12 Championships with a time of 24:31.9, placing eighth to earn second team All-Pac-12 honors. Remarkably, it was Ratcliffe's first attached race as a Cardinal and just his second cross country race since middle school. The rookie harrier played soccer throughout his career at Concord-Carlisle High School, yet won the Stanford Invitational earlier this fall as an unattached runner. He is the fourth Cardinal to claim the honor, the first since Miles Unterreiner in 2009.

In her first Pac-12 Championships appearance in three years, junior Amy-Eloise Neale (Snohomish, Wash.) climbed six spots over the final 1,000 meters and outkicked two COLORADO runners to the finish to become the third-ever Husky to win the Conference's individual crown. Neale's title also helped nationally ranked WASHINGTON to its best Pac-12 finish since 2011. After battling a stress fracture and IT band issues the past two cross country seasons, Neale will now look to add to her individual mantle at her first NCAA West Regionals and NCAA Championships since 2013.

Katie Rainsberger (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished fifth at the Pac-12 Championships, the highest freshman finisher in the field, in a time of 20:30.6 to earn first team All-Pac-12 honors. Rainsberger's fifth-place run was the highest by a Duck true freshman since 2009 Conference Freshman of the Year Jordan Hasay placed third.

After guiding COLORADO to back-to-back men's and women's team title sweeps, Mark Wetmore was voted both the men’s and women’s Pac-12 Coach of the Year by the league’s coaches for the second straight season. The men's Coach of the Year award extends Wetmore's league-record streak of six straight honors, coinciding with the Buffaloes' league-record tying six consecutive Conference crowns. The No. 1 nationally ranked CU women became the first repeat champions since WASHINGTON in 2008-09, helping Wetmore become the first repeat Coach of the Year recipient since the Huskies' Greg Metcalf in 2008-09.

2016 PAC-12 CROSS COUNTRY HONORS*

MEN’S ALL-PAC-12
First Team
Edward Cheserek, Sr., Oregon
Grant Fisher, So., Stanford
Ben Saarel, Sr., Colorado
Zach Perrin, Jr., Colorado
Ferdinand Edman, Sr., UCLA
John Dressel, So., Colorado
Sean McGorty, Sr., Stanford

Second Team
Thomas Ratcliffe, Fr., Stanford
Ryan Forsyth, So., Colorado
Jonah Diaz, Sr., UCLA
Collin Burke, Fr., UCLA
Austin O'Neil, Sr., UCLA
Travis Neuman, Jr., Oregon
Garrett Sweatt, Sr., Stanford

Men's Athlete of the Year
Edward Cheserek, Sr., Oregon

Men's Freshman of the Year
Thomas Ratcliffe, Fr., Stanford

Men's Coach of the Year
Mark Wetmore, Colorado

WOMEN’S ALL-PAC-12
First Team
Kaitlyn Benner, Jr., Colorado
Erin Clark, Sr., Colorado
Dani Jones, So., Colorado
Bethan Knights, Jr., California
Amy-Eloise Neale, Jr., Washington
Charlotte Prouse, So., Washington
Katie Rainsberger, Fr., Oregon

Second Team
Christina Aragon, Fr., Stanford
Alli Cash, Jr., Oregon
Vanessa Fraser, Jr., Stanford
Makena Morley, So., Colorado
Grayson Murphy, Jr., Utah
Fiona O'Keeffe, Fr., Stanford
Addi Zerrenner, So., Arizona

Women's Athlete of the Year
Amy-Eloise Neale, Jr., Washington

Women's Freshman of the Year
Katie Rainsberger, Fr., Oregon

Women's Coach of the Year
Mark Wetmore, Colorado

* - All-Conference teams determined by order of finish at the Pac-12 Championships.

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