Pac-12 cross country teams compete at NCAA Regionals

Chris Hook

SAN FRANCISCO Fresh off winning its sixth-straight Pac-12 Men’s Cross Country and third Pac-12 Women’s Cross Country title in five years, COLORADO competes at NCAA Regional competition this Friday, Nov. 11, as will the rest of the Pac-12 men’s and women’s cross country teams, to try to clinch berths to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Terre Haute, Ind.

The No. 2 team in the country, the Colorado men begin their NCAA journey on Friday. The Buffs won the title in 2013 and 2014, but were the runner up in 2015. The team looks to claim one of the two automatic berths at the Mountain Regional in Logan, Utah. The Buffs take with them three runners that ran at last year’s national meet and two members of the 2014 NCAA Championship-winning team. 

On the women’s side, the Buffs are the No. 1-ranked team in the nation and won the Pac-12 crown two weeks ago. The Colorado women also have plenty of experience with them, boasting three of their top five runners from last year’s second-place NCAA squad and one transfer who competed at nationals with Montana last year. UTAH will also be competing at the Mountain Regional and will be looking for its second-ever NCAA Championship appearance. The Utes are having one of their best seasons in program history for the second-straight season, and go into the meet nationally ranked in the USTFCCCA poll (No. 20). Utah is also coming off its best showing at the Pac-12 Championships, placing fifth for the second year in a row, its highest finish since joining the conference.

The rest of the 10 Pac-12 teams will compete at the NCAA West Regional in Sacramento, Calif. Historically one of the toughest cross country conferences in the nation, the Pac-12 is tied for the most men’s teams ranked with five and the most women’s teams with six. Four men’s squads are in the top 10 alone, with Colorado ranking No. 2 after winning the Conference meet, Stanford ranking No. 4, UCLA ranking No. 8, and Oregon at No. 10. The Cardinal are looking to vie for the West crown and claim one of the two automatic berths. Eighth-ranked Oregon is led by senior Edward Cheserek who won an unprecedented fourth-straight Pac-12 crown and is the three-time defending NCAA Champion. Meanwhile, UCLA will try to beat out the other two West Region teams for one of the automatic berths.

On the women’s side, Washington is the highest-ranked team in the West region, coming in at No. 4 in the country. The Huskies are led by Pac-12 Champion Amy-Eloise Neale. Neale edged out two Colorado runners by only 0.4 and 1.5 seconds to take the crown. The Ducks are looking to defend their regional crown but will be challenged by No. 7 Stanford. Five Pac-12 teams rank in the top seven in the West Region: Washington is No. 1, Stanford is No. 2, Oregon is No. 4, California is No. 6, and UCLA is No. 7. A Pac-12 team has claimed the West Region title every year since the event began in 1987 with the Cardinal, Ducks, Huskies and Arizona winning the race at least twice.

The six-kilometer women’s Mountain Regional race begins at 11 a.m. MT and the men’s 10k starts at 12 p.m. MT at the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course in Logan, Utah. The West region races will be at 11 a.m. PT and 12 p.m. PT, with the women running  first. Both will be at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento, Calif. A full list of team and individual qualifiers for the NCAA meet will be released on Saturday. To follow the West regional races, follow along here for live stats. For more information on the West region races, visit this page. To follow the Mouth region races, follow along here for live stats. For more information on the Mountain region races, visit this page.

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