Pac-12 cross country teams set sights on NCAA Championships

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SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 will enter a total of 11 teams - the most of any conference in the country - along with five individuals for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Cross Country Championships this Saturday morning at Louisville's E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park.

The Pac-12 Conference enters the first NCAA Championship of 2017-18 with a record 501 team national titles across its membership, becoming the first and only league to reach 500 NCAA Championships in the spring of 2017.

2017 NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S & WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Louisville, Ky.
E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park

RACE SCHEDULE
Women's 6k race: 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. ET
Men's 10k race: 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET

LIVE COVERAGE
Live stream: NCAA.com and flotrack.com ($)
Live results: via Record Timing
2017 NCAA Meet Central | Louisville Meet Central

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This is the third time in NCAA history that the Division I cross country championships will take place in the state of Kentucky (previous times: 2012 and 2015 in Louisville). It is the 80th annual men’s competition and the 38th annual women’s competition. The 2017 championships will feature slightly modified 10K and 6K courses. The course enhancements will improve overall athlete flow/movement on the course, increase spectator viewpoints for both championship races, and improve camera placement and increase visibility for the live stream.

COURSE RECORDS
Women's 6k: 19:42.2 - Cally Macumber, Kentucky, 2012 NCAA Championships
Men's 10k: 29:36.1 - Jacob Korir, Eastern Kentucky, 2007 NCAA Southeast Regional

NCAA MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - PAC-12 PREVIEW
PAC-12 TEAM AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS
Washington - NCAA West Regional Runners-up

PAC-12 TEAM AT-LARGE QUALIFIERS (Regional finish)
Colorado (3rd), Oregon (4th), Stanford (3rd), UCLA (5th), Washington State (7th)

PAC-12 INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Trent Brendel, California (13th at West Regional)
Garrett Corcoran, California (15th at West Regional)

The Pac-12 will have the most men’s teams in the NCAA Cross Country Championships field for the fourth consecutive year with six teams aiming to capture the league’s 17th men’s team national title in the sport.

No. 5 nationally ranked COLORADO, the last Pac-12 member to capture the NCAA crown in 2014, and No. 6 STANFORD, this year’s Pac-12 champions, appear to be the most likely to unseat defending national champion and top-ranked Northern Arizona. CU is making its national-best 26th consecutive trip to NCAAs, while Stanford is close behind with its 24th straight appearance.

Also in the mix is No. 12 WASHINGTON, which finished runner-up at last week’s NCAA West Regional and was the lone Conference team to secure an automatic bid to Louisville. Five of the 13 available at-large berths were awarded to the Pac-12.

Rounding out the Pac-12 in the 31-team field are No. 14 OREGON (sixth consecutive appearance), No. 16 UCLA (fourth consecutive) and No. 27 WASHINGTON STATE (third consecutive).

The Buffaloes and Cardinal will be anchored by a pair of returning All-Americans and individual race favorites in sophomore Joe Klecker (2016) and junior Grant Fisher (2015, 2016). Fisher, the reigning NCAA outdoor 5,000-meter champ, outkicked Klecker on the final straightaway to win the Pac-12 individual title and lead Stanford to a team crown over six-time defending champion CU on Oct. 27. Klecker responded with an individual win at the NCAA Mountain Regional last Friday.

Four other NCAA All-Americans return from the Pac-12 in Colorado’s John Dressel (2015, 2016), Stanford’s Sam Wharton (2014) Washington’s Colby Gilbert (2015), Washington State’s Michael Williams (2016).

Stanford’s Steven Fahy, who finished third at both the Pac-12 and NCAA West Regional championships, could also factor into the individual title race, as well as fellow All-Pac-12 performers Robert Brandt (UCLA), Alex Ostberg (Stanford) and Cooper Teare (Oregon), the league’s Freshman of the Year.

NCAA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - PAC-12 PREVIEW
PAC-12 TEAM AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS
Colorado - NCAA Mountain Regional Champions
Stanford - NCAA West Regional Runners-up

PAC-12 TEAM AT-LARGE QUALIFIERS (Regional finish)
California (5th), Oregon (3rd), Washington (6th)

PAC-12 INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Grayson Murphy, Utah (2nd at Mountain Regional)
Claire Green, Arizona (15th at West Regional)
Vallery Korir, Washington State (19th at West Regional)

No. 1 nationally ranked COLORADO headlines the Pac-12’s pack of five women’s teams entered to compete for the NCAA Cross Country Championship this weekend. It marks the seventh consecutive year that at least five women’s teams from the Conference reached the national title race, the longest such streak in the country.

The Buffaloes have been dominant this season - winning all but one race entered including the Pac-12 and NCAA West Regional titles - but expect resistance from region rival New Mexico and San Francisco along with league foes No. 4 STANFORD and defending national champion No. 7 OREGON. CU’s lone defeat this season came to Oregon at the Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville on Oct. 14.

Oregon entered last year’s NCAA Championship ranked No. 12, but pulled off a shocking win over Michigan in the closest finish in event history. The Ducks edged the Wolverines by a single point, 125-126, based on an individual finish that was one-tenth of a second better. The title jumpstarted Oregon to what eventually became the first triple crown - cross country, indoor & outdoor track & field national titles - in NCAA history.

The Ducks’ cross country title was the 12th all-time for the Pac-12 membership, which is tied for the most of any conference along with the Big East.

Along with the league’s three top-10 programs, No. 22 WASHINGTON and No. 23 CALIFORNIA will race in the 31-team field. The Huskies make their 11th consecutive appearance, while the Golden Bears are making their first since 2011.

The Pac-12 will bring a loaded list for the women’s individual race with 12 past NCAA All-Americans in the field:
Christina Aragon, Stanford (2016)
Kaitlyn Benner, Colorado (2015, 2016)
Mackenzie Caldwell, Colorado (2016)
Alli Cash, Oregon (2015, 2016)
Elise Cranny, Stanford (2014)
Vanessa Fraser, Stanford (2015)
Sage Hurta, Colorado (2016)
Dani Jones, Colorado (2016)
Bethan Knights, California (2014)
Amy-Eloise Neale, Washington (2016)
Fiona O’Keeffe, Stanford (2016)
Katie Rainsberger, Oregon (2016)

Lilli Burdon (Oregon), Grayson Murphy (Utah) and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Brie Oakley (California) should figure into individual title contention as well.

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