Hartmann Notches Second All-America Award At NCAA Cross Country Finale

Nov. 20, 2000

AMES, Iowa - The University of Oregon men's and women's cross country teams capped their seasons Monday on the Iowa State University Cross Country Course, competing in one of the coldest NCAA Championships ever.

Braving temperatures and winds that eventually dropped to -18 degrees wind chill, the No. 22-ranked women's squad took 28th in their 24th NCAA appearance under 26th-year head coach Tom Heinonen.

Senior and two-time All-American Hanna Smedstad paced the No. 22-ranked UO squad, placing 64th overall in a time of 21:38.6 on the six-kilometer course. The Sundsvall, Sweden native was impeded by the frigid weather, evidenceed by her 35th-place finish at the Pre-NCAA meet just over a month ago on the same course. However, the first-year Duck still held on to clock a time that was 18 seconds faster than her October effort (21:56.7) which featured much more moderate weather.

'It wasn't a very good day, and I didn't run that well,' Smedstad said. 'These are the worst conditions I've raced in, but that's not an excuse. I was feeling better than I had last week, so I don't think I was effected by that today. Although it's disappointing, I still have an outdoor season to come back to and a long time to focus my training towards it.'

Senior Rhiannon Glenn ran perhaps her best race of the season Monday, ranking second for the team and 153rd overall (22:25.6). The Eugene native and South High School product also ranked second for the squad last year (84th) and was the team's top returnee from last year's chase.

'It was pretty bad out there,' Glenn said. 'I had tights on, and still never warmed up, even after I was inside for 30 minutes. That was the coldest weather I'd ever been, and not just in a race, ever. During the race, I saw Katie the whole time and was working off her. As a senior I was a little teary-eyed at the end because it's my last race, but I ran with my heart. I couldn't feel it, but I ran with it.'

Senior Katie Crabb joined Smedstad in her third NCAA appearance, taking 176th overall (22:38.9) and only 13 seconds behind Glenn. Crabb made her sixth appearance in the team's top three in seven tries this year and capped her strongest harrier season yet after reaping All-America honors on the track last spring in the 1,500 meters.

The Ducks closed their scoring with sophomore Eri Macdonald (194th, 22:50.4) and freshman Laura Harmon (196th, 22:51.2). Macdonald also scored for the team at last year's NCAA finale (226th), while Harmon fought off a serious cold leading up to the race to aid the team's scoring efforts for the sixth time in seven races this season.

Other Duck competitors included sophomores Carrie Zografos (220th, 23:20.2) and Erinn Gulbrandsen (240th, 24:06.7).

Tom Heinonen's crew earned Monday's entry in the 31-team field by virtue of their fourth-place regional finish last Saturday in Fresno, Calif., and five regular-season wins against Monday's NCAA finalists.

'The conditions were brutal,' Oregon women's coach Tom Heinonen said. 'I've never seen anything like this in 26 years. Even when we've run in snow, it hasn't been this bad. Our kids competed hard. I thought Rhiannon ran maybe her best race of the year. Laura has been sick for several days, and she ran amazingly well. She and Eri really helped each other in the last stages of the race. Katie and Erinn really had a rough day and tried to focus as well as they could. Before the race, I told them to run smart, run tough, and try to forget about the conditions, but that was pretty difficult to do.'

Overall, No. 1 Colorado swept the team and individual titles. CU senior Kara Grgas-Wheeler crossed the line first in 20:30.5, edging Montana's Sabrina Monro (second, 20:37.8) and Wisconsin's Erica Palmer (20:39.9) who claimed last year's title. In the team race, the Buffs ran away from the field with 117 points, edging No. 3 BYU (167) and No. 2 Stanford (third, 198).

On the men's side, the No. 20 Ducks sent two individuals who both improved on their NCAA debuts from last season.

Duck sophomore Jason Hartmann led the way with his second All-America honor, taking 35th overall in the men's 10,000-meter race (31:03.5) that saw even more inclimate conditions. While the women's race at least began with a smattering of sun, clouds and stiffer winds buffeted the men's affair and barely held off occasional post-race snow flurries. Hartmann earned his first All-America honor last year, taking 37th at the meet held in Bloomington, Ind.

'I did alright but not as well as I would have liked,' Hartmann said. 'It comes down to doing it on the day. I was in position most of the way, but couldn't close it, and that's the key. I'm happy with the progression this season, but would have liked to finish it off better.'

Even with his Midwest upbringing, the Rockford, Mich., native still ran the race in a long-sleeve T-shirt and cu-off tights. Running the entire race among the top 50 overall, the transplant Duck appeared to have a shot at a top-25 finish with 3K remaining. Even though he dropped back slightly in the closing stages, his effort guaranteed the Ducks their sixth All-America honor under the guidance of Martin Smith who served as an assistant coach his first season in 1998 before taking over head duties the past two seasons.

Senior Michael Kasahun also ran a tactically-sound race, running a few seconds behind Hartmann for much of the first 2/3 of the race. The Fresno, Calif., native however was effected by the course conditions in the final kilometers and took 65th overall (31:26.2). Monday's effort still marked an improvement of 42 places from last year, while his time was 15 seconds faster this his October race on the same course which featured much milder temperatures and virtually no wind.

'Today, I ran in control, but couldn't close it up,' Kasahun said. 'My legs basically froze up on me at the end. I was trying everything I could, but just couldn't get it out. I was happy with my race until then and was in perfect position at the 8K. I was probably a little too far behind Jason today and didn't use him enough. I tucked in behind him at regionals and he helped me out a lot there.'

'As a whole, the season went well and showed how hard I worked this summer. I'm ready to go back to training and put it on the line for track.'

Hartmann and Kasahun competed Monday thanks to strong individual performances 10 days before at the NCAA Western Regional. Hartmann finished second overall, only two seconds behind the winner, while Kasahun was only three seconds behind his Duck teammate and fourth overall.

'The two runners ran solid, smart races Monday,' Smith said. 'Jason got his second All-America award and ran very tough and very consistent. He was extremely close to a breakthrough, but just couldn't quite hold on. Michael ran well, and also put himself in position but just couldn't move up much at the end.'

Monday's race capped a men's season that featured strong performances from a virtually new varsity unit. Although the Ducks failed to qualify for the NCAA Championship because of a flaw in the qualifying procedure when they finished fourth at the regional meet, they proved they deserved a place in Monday's race after beating 19 of the 31 teams at the NCAA start line during the regular season.

'This year, our team had a unique blend of talent,' Smith said. 'The highlight was our second-place Pac-10 finish, but in every competition, we ran steady and improved throughout the season - those are there are things to be proud of. I'm not pleased that we weren't here as a team. The goal of any program is to be at the national championship -- but we'll build off what we accomplished this year and move forward.'

In the men's team race, No. 3 Arkansas surprised the field with its third straight title, putting its top five in the top 25 overall, and tallying 83 points. No. 1 Colorado answered with a front four in the top 30 but fell just short scoring 94 points, ahead of Providence (third, 121) and Stanford (fourth, 149).

Providence senior Keith Kelly won the individual crown (30:14.5) on the 10K route, outkicking senior Stephen Odieki of Farleigh Dickinson (30:16.3) in the final 250-meter straightaway. Colorado's Jorge Torres followed in third (30:21.4), outleaning returning NCAA champion David Kimani at the line (fourth, 30:21.4).

The top-30 overall finishers from both races automatically earned All-America honors, regardless of citizenship, while the remaining top -30 U.S. athletes also received honors from the U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association.

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