Cross Country Prepares for NCAA Western Regional Championships
Nov. 7, 2001
THIS WEEK'S ACTION
NCAA Western Regional Championships (W6K/M10K)
The University of Oregon men's and women's cross country squads put their NCAA qualifying hopes on the line this weekend in Tucson, Ariz., at the NCAA Western Regional Championships. In each race, the top two teams and top four individuals from non-qualifying teams automatically advance to the NCAA Championships in Furman, (Mon., Nov. 19), while another 13 teams and two individuals will be selected from across the nation the following Monday, Nov. 12.
The men's and women's Western Regional fields each feature five top-25 teams (M - No. 2 Stanford, No. 14 Arizona State, No. 18 Oregon, No. 20 Arizona, No. 28 Washington / W - No. 1 Stanford, No. 8 Arizona, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 17 UCLA, No. 24 Washington). Two other men's regional foes (No. 8 Portland and No. 13 Santa Barbara) are also top-20 ranked.
A LOOK BACK
Last year the Duck men and women each took fourth at the 2000 NCAA Western Regional. Top UO returnees from the meet in Fresno include junior Jason Hartmann (second) and sophomore Laura Harmon (65th), and the squads returns five and three, respectively, of last year's M&W regional entries. Last year, Stanford swept both the M&W titles, ahead of Arizona (M) and ASU (W), and Stanford's Jonathon Riley and ASU's Lisa Aguilera took top individual honors.
LEADING THE CHARGE
Stanford looms as men's and women's team favorites and is ranked second and first nationally, respectively. Men's Pac-10 champ Grant Robison (Stanford) will contend with ASU's Fasil Bizuneh for top regional honors, and Pac-10 victor Lauren Fleshman (Stanford), Sabrina Monro (Washington), Lisa Aguilera (ASU) and Tara Chaplin (Arizona) are women's title hopefuls.
THIS WEEK'S LIKELY DUCK ENTRIES
Men Yr._Exp. Hometown (Last School/HS)Ryan Andrus Fr.*_TR Orem, Utah (Wisconsin/Mountain View)Adam Bergquist Sr.*-1L Boulder, Colo. (Fairview)Jason Hartmann Jr._2L Rockford, Mich. (RHS)Brett Holts So._1L Bend (BHS)Eric Logsdon Fr.*_RS Canby (CHS)John Lucas So.*_1L Eagle Point (EPHS)Noel Paulson So._1L Aumsville (Cascade)
Women Yr._Exp. Hometown (Last School/HS)Erinn Gulbrandsen So._1L Chico, Calif. (Pleasant Valley)Laura Harmon Fr._HS Vancouver, Wash. (Jesuit_Portland)Annette Mosey Fr._HS Wilsonville (WHS)Magdalena Sandoval So._TR Los Alamos, N.M. (Rice/LAHS)Alicia Snyder_Carlson So.*_1SQ Kihei, Hawaii (St. Anthony (Wailuku))Carrie Zografos So.*_TR Portland, Ore. (Colorado/Central Catholic)
DUCK WOMEN'S PREVIEW
Head Coach Tom Heinonen completes his 27th season as the Duck women feature one of their youngest teams, comprised of no seniors, four juniors and 10 sophomores or freshmen. Redshirt junior Carrie Zografos ranks as the team's most improved and has led the squad in all four of her races this year -- the Sundodger Invite (seventh), Roy Griak Invite (99th), Furman Invite (75th) and Pac-10 Champs (35th). Sophomore Laura Harmon was the team's second runner in her first two races of 2001, then its fifth runner the past two meets as she's recovered from illness. Sophomore Annette Mosey has scored at four of her five races this fall in her first varsity season. Among the team's top newcomers, sophomore Magdalena Sandoval (Rice University/Los Alamos, N.M.) has finished among the team's top four in all four races in 2001 -- including second the past two meets. Freshman Sara Schaaf (Klamath) has scored once this year, but may miss this weekend due to a bone injury in her thigh. Redshirt sophomore Tara Struyk was a top-three scorer every race her freshman season in 1999, but will miss this weekend's meet due to related achilles and calf muscle injuries.
DUCK MEN'S PREVIEW
Two-time All-American and junior Jason Hartmann has led the No. 18-ranked Duck men in all three races this fall, including sixth at the recent Pac-10 Championships. Last year's Pac-10 and Western Regional runner-up overcame a hard fall in the second mile of the league championships to still notch his second-highest career finish at the meet. Redshirt senior Adam Bergquist has quickly moved to the head of the Duck squad, ranking 10th overall and second on the unit at the Pac-10 meet and third on the squad time-wise at the Furman Invite, albeit in the open race. Sophomores John Lucas and Brett Holts repeated top-25 Pac-10 finishes last weekend, taking 17th and 21st overall. Fellow sophomore Noel Paulson was also top-25 last year, while his Pac-10 open race time in Arizona was the sixth-fastest of the eight Ducks that raced on the course that day. Redshirt frosh Eric Logsdon claimed his first harrier points in the fifth spot two meets ago at the Furman Invitational, and was 30th in his Pac-10 debut. Two freshman newcomers have played major roles -- redshirt transfer Ryan Andrus (Orem, Utah/Univ. of Wisconsin) and true freshman Seth Pilkington (Roy, Utah) -- as the duo ranked second and third on the team in their 2001 varsity debuts in Minnesota. Andrus returned to rank third at Furman and fifth at Pac-10s, while Pilkington was a DNF the past two races.
IN THE POLLS
After opening the season ranked 13th, the Duck men dropped to 16th in the second week's coaches poll, 18th in the next two editions, 20th in the subsequent edition, and back to 18th most recently, while the women were unranked in all six versions.
IN THE POLLS
2001 Mondo Men's Poll (updated 10/29)
Pl. Team Pts1. Colorado(13) 393*2. Stanford(2) 3813. Arkansas(1) 3734. Wisconsin 3525. Notre Dame 3296. N.C. State 3247. Villanova 283**8. Portland 2759. No. Arizona 26710. Providence 25411. Michigan 22712. BYU 223**13. Santa Barb. 211*14. Arizona St. 18915. Air Force 17116. E. Michigan 16517. Wake Forest 120*18. Oregon 11419. Michigan St. 111*20. Arizona 10221. Utah State 7322. Duke 6623. Colorado St. 5224. Will.&Mary 2425. Indiana 2025. Utah 20
Also receiving votes: Oklahoma State 19, Alabama 16, *Washington 16, Butler 9,Dartmouth 7, Georgetown 7, Ohio State 2, Weber State 2, LaSalle 1, Texas A&M 1.
2001 FinishLynx W Poll (updated 10/29)
*1. Stanford(11) 3232. BYU (1) 3113. Georgetown(1) 2994. N.C. State 2815. Boston Coll. 2656. Michigan St. 2607. Colorado 255*8. Arizona 2319. N. Carolina 22110. Providence 210*11. Arizona St. 19912. Arkansas 18613. No. Arizona 15714. Virginia 15015. Yale 12616. Colorado St. 113*17. UCLA 10218. Marquette 9219. Notre Dame 8220. Okla. St. 6721. Villanova 5922. Cornell 5623. J. Madison 50*24. Washington 4525. Duke 26
Also receiving votes: Georgia Tech 15, Michigan 14, Boston 12, Wisconsin 11, Texas 5, Minnesota 2.
* Pac-10 Team** Regional Team
Since 1975, the Duck women have won the most team (13) and individual (eight) crowns at the West Regional of any program, while Stanford ranks second in both categories with eight team and five individual crowns. Since the inception of a separate men's West Regional Championships in 1979, the Ducks lead the individual wins category (6), followed by Washington State and Arizona (5). Arizona owns the most team titles (8), ahead of Stanford (6) and Oregon (5). Prior to that, the regional champion was determined at the Pac-8 Championships, which Oregon won six team and three individual honors from 1969-1978.
2000 REGIONAL REWIND
FRESNO, Calif. (11/11) - At the 2000 NCAA Western Regional Championships, the Duck women ran their strongest race of the season, finishing fourth in the 26-team women's field which featured four, top-10 ranked teams. The Ducks tallied 169 points to narrowly edge an injury-depleted No. 9 Washington (fifth, 170), while No. 2 Stanford (58) won the team title over No. 4 Arizona State (second, 88) and No. 7 Arizona (third, 126). Hanna Smedstad led Oregon for the fifth of six consecutive races, clocking 20:42 on the six-kilometer course. Katie Crabb scored a best-ever regional finish (15th, 20:58), followed by Eri Macdonald (45th, 21:53), Rhiannon Glenn (46th, 21:55), Laura Harmon (66th, 22:24), Erinn Gulbrandsen (74th, 22:33) and Carrie Zografos (93rd, 22:51). The team's finish netted an at-large NCAA Championships invite and its 24th national meet trip in 26 years under head coach Tom Heinonen. On the men's side, the No. 10 Duck men also put in another solid effort, taking fourth overall behind No. 2 Stanford (first, 58), No. 12 Arizona (62) and Cal Poly (third, 114), and ahead of No. 30 Arizona State (fifth, 128) and No. 31 Portland (sixth, 150). Jason Hartmann scored his second runner-up finish in as many meets, clocking 30:42 just behind Pac-10 champion Jonathon Riley from Stanford (30:40). Oregon's Michael Kasahun registered his best-ever finish for the team, taking fourth overall (30:45) after placing 26th at 1999's edition. The rest of the Duck finishers included a trio of first-time regional scorers - Adam Bergquist (34th, 31:47), John Lucas (38th, 31:53) and Lincoln Nehring (45th, 32:10). A pair of then-freshmen, Noel Paulson (60th, 32:30) and Brett Holts (74th, 32:56), wrapped up the entry list.
2000 West Regional Champs Results - M10K/ W6K
Woodward Park - Fresno, Calif. - 11/11/00
Men's Teams (21 total) - 1, Stanford, 58. 2, Arizona, 62. 3, Cal Poly, 114. 4, Oregon, 122. 5, Arizona State. 128. 6, Portland, 150. 7, UCLA, 167.
Men's Individuals - 1, Jonathon Riley, Stanford, 30:40. 2, Jason Hartmann, Oregon, 30:42. 3, Tom Prindiville, Arizona, 30:43. 4, Michael Kasahun, Oregon, 30:45. 5, Steve Smith, Arizona, 30:49.
Other Duck Men's Finishers - 34, Adam Bergquist, 31:47. 38, John Lucas, 31:53. 45, Lincoln Nehring, 32:10. 60, Noel Paulson, 32:30. 74, Brett Holts, 32:56.
Women's Teams (26 total) - 1, Stanford, 58. 2, Arizona State, 88. 3, Arizona, 126. 4, Oregon, 169. 5, Washington, 170. 6, Cal Poly, 187. 7, Washington State, 188. 8, UCLA, 199. 9, UC Irvine, 219.
Women's Individuals - 1, Lisa Aguilera, Arizona State, 20:25. 2, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:33. 3, Mary Duerbeck, Arizona State, 20:36. 4, Elena Villarreal, Stanford, 20:37. 5, Kate Bradshaw, Washington, 20:37.
UO Women's Finishers - 8, Hanna Smedstad, 20:42. 15, Katie Crabb, 20:58. 45, Eri Macdonald, 21:53. 46, Rhiannon Glenn, 21:55. 66, Laura Harmon, 22:24. 74, Erinn Gulbrandsen, 22:33. 93, Carrie Zografos, 22:51.
Several recent men's and women's signees arrive with heralded credentials. On the men's side, freshmen Seth Pilkington and Erik Heinonen finished fifth and sixth last December at the Kinney FootLocker Cross Country Championships, the national prep championship. On the track last spring, the son of former L.A. Marathon winner Paul Pilkington ranked third nationally in the 3,200 (8:55.17). Heinonen paced the national prep list in the 10,000 (31:26.05), but is a likely redshirt this season. Two other redshirt freshmen could play big roles in their first fall seasons for the Ducks. Having trained in Eugene since January, transfer Ryan Andrus missed his 1997 freshman harrier season at Wisconsin due to a stress fracture, followed by a two-year religious mission in Mexico. Andrus clocked 3:46.5 and 14:11.8 as a freshman in 1998, and that summer finished second in the 5K at the U.S. Junior Championships to qualify for the 1998 World Junior Championships. Redshirt frosh Eric Logsdon took third at the 1999 Oregon 4A state cross country championships as a senior, but is better known for his national-caliber marks in the 1,500 (3:51.39), 3,000 (8:10.66) and 3,200 (8:47.88) as a prep senior in the spring of 2000. On the women's side, freshman Sara Schaaf of Klamath Falls is the team's top middle-distance signee after winning the 4A state title last year in the 800 (2:13.38). Sophomore Magdalena Sandoval transferred from Rice University and was a scorer for the Owls in her debut at the 2000 NCAA South Central Regional (44th overall). The daughter of 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials marathon champ Tony Sandoval was previously a New Mexico state class C champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters for Los Alamos High School.
ACROSS THE NATION
After coming up 11 points short of an NCAA title, last year's men's runner-up, No. 1 Colorado lost only one varsity entry from 2000. No. 2 Stanford is equally strong, and defending champion Arkansas joins Notre Dame and Wisconsin as other contenders. On the women's side, returning victor and No. 7 Colorado will have its hands full against perennially deep BYU, with Boston College, Stanford and Georgetown potential spoilers. Top men's individuals include Colorado's Jorge Torres, 1999 NCAA champ David Kimani of Alabama, Eastern Michigan's Boaz Cheboiywo, and Wisconsin's Matt Tegenkamp. Women's individual favorites include last year's runner-up Sabrina Monro of Washington, Lisa Aguilera and Kelly Macdonald of Arizona State, North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan, and Stanford's Lauren Fleshman.
LIFE IN A WESTERN TOWN
The Ducks will again match up against a rigorous schedule, partly courtesy of the Pac-10 and NCAA Western Regional. In the current rankings, there are seven regional men's teams in the top 30, and five women's squads in the top 25. In recent years, the men's regional has featured seven or more All-Americans at five of the past six NCAA finales, while the 2000 NCAA women's field featured five conference schools, and six the year before. On the track, Pac-10 women's teams flexed their muscle by going 1-2-3 at the 2001 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Individually, female league distance runners collected two NCAA titles and earned two or more All-America certificates at Hayward Field in the 800, 1,500 and 5K, and another in the steeplechase. Altogether at the past 10 NCAA Cross country Championships, the Pac-10 has featured three team titles (2 men's, 1 women's), two team runners-up (1 men's, 1 women's) and four individual winners (3 men's, 1 women's).
Continuing with the upcoming conference championship, the Duck men and women will try to garner as many head-to-head regular season wins against other potential NCAA participants from across the nation so they can help their qualifying cause for the NCAA Championships. The NCAA men's and women's fields (31 teams of seven entrants in each) feature the top-two team finishers from each of November 10th's nine NCAA regionals, along with an additional 13 at-large teams selected on their regional finish and regular-season wins against other automatic qualifiers and at-large hopefuls. The 255-individual NCAA field also features 38 individuals from non-qualifying teams - the four highest individuals from each region, plus two at-large individuals selected nationally. With the depth of the NCAA Western Regional, which featured four top-15 ranked teams for much of 2000, the Duck women went the at-large route last year for the third straight season, thanks to a fourth-place regional finish and previous wins against five fellow NCAA qualifiers -- Marquette, North Carolina, South Florida, Wake Forest and Weber State. The Oregon men fell victim last year to an aberration in the system after finishing fourth in the NCAA Western Regional. Although the Ducks had previously piled up regular-season wins over 19 of the 31 eventual NCAA qualifiers, they had to wait until the third-place regional finisher, Cal Poly, was selected. However, the Mustangs were shut out of an invite (and ultimately the Ducks) after they had beat only two NCAA qualifying teams, Indiana and Nebraska, during the year.
HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD AGAINST POTENTIAL NCAA QUALIFIERS
Roy Griak Wins
William and Mary
Furman Invite Wins
Pac-10 Champs Wins
Roy Griak Wins
Furman Inv. Wins
WOMEN'S 2000 SEASON REVIEW
The Ducks saw seven different harriers score last season and nine appear among the squad's top seven. Hanna Smedstad led the Ducks in each of her six appearances after sitting out the season opener in Portland. Katie Crabb led the squad at the Pier Park showing, followed with runner-up squad placings in four races. Rhiannon Glenn also stood second on the varsity at three meets, fourth twice and seventh once. Eri Macdonald stepped up as one of the team's most improved - ranking third on the team at three races and fourth at four races. Erinn Gulbrandsen ran equally steady, scoring at three races and ranking sixth at three others. Laura Harmon scored at six of her seven races, including appearances at the third (twice), fourth (once), fifth (thrice) and sixth (once) positions. Transfer Carrie Zografos (Portland) proved a welcome addition, ranking seventh for the team at four races and sixth in two other Duck appearances. Annette Mosey, ranked seventh at two of the first three meets and eighth at another. Annie Davis stood fifth in the team's opener, then ninth and eighth in the Ducks' races at the Roy Griak and Willamette Invites.
MEN'S 2000 SEASON REVIEW
The Duck men were led in the final four races by Jason Hartmann (Rockford, Mich.) and in the season opener by senior Michael Kasahun, with the other ranking second at the other four races. Hartmann and Kasahun made their second NCAA appearances (35th and 65th, respectively) after qualifying individually based on their second- and fourth-place NCAA Western Regional finishes. Adam Bergquist (Boulder, Colo.) collected his first-ever points as a Duck, ranking third at four races. John Lucas (Eagle Point) ran at the fourth position the last three races and fifth in his Duck debut, while Brett Holts (Bend) inverted those positions (fourth once and fifth thrice). Holts also led the 'B' unit at the season opener. Noel Paulson (Aumsville), ranked sixth on the varsity in all four races, just ahead of a pair of seniors that split the seventh slot - Lincoln Nehring at the Pac-10 and Western Regional meets, and Sam Hill at the first two varsity meets.
No university boasts a combined history as rich as the Oregon men's and women's programs. Dating back to All-American Steve Prefontaine in 1969, 18 men's runners have finished among the top five at the NCAA meet - the most recent being Steve Fein (third in '99). The list of Oregon greats includes such legends as American track record holders 'Pre', Alberto Salazar, Rudy Chapa and Matt Centrowitz. On the women's side, Oregon has qualified as a team in 24 of 26 NCAA meets since 1975 and has finished in the top 10 in all but five appearances. University of Oregon women have garnered 30 All-America honors and have included such greats as Marie Davis, Melody Fairchild, Kathy Hayes, Lisa Ondieki, and Annette Peters.
AT THE HELM
Beginning his third season as men's cross country head coach, Martin Smith has solidified Oregon as one of nation's preeminent programs. In his first season as cross country head coach in 1999, he guided Oregon to its 24th top-10 NCAA cross country finish, while Ducks have garnered 15 All-America honors in track and cross country in his first three seasons in Eugene. Previously, the two-time NCAA Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year (1985 & 88) led Wisconsin harrier squads to two NCAA titles, nine top-five finishes, and top-14 finishes in each of his 15 years in Madison. On the individual side, his Badger cross country athletes won one NCAA title and 34 All-America awards, to go with five NCAA titles and 44 All-America honors on the track. His harrier All-America tally during that period trailed only Arkansas, and even bettered the Hogs' tally counting only U.S. athletes. On the women's side, 27th-year coach Tom Heinonen has also been honored as NCAA Coach of the Year for each of Oregon's NCAA two cross country and one track and field team titles, and has directed the Ducks to the collegiate harrier finale 24 times. Individually, his distance pupils have scored 30 All-America honors in cross country and 53 awards on the track. In conference competition the Ducks have historically paced 'The Conference of Champions' as his teams have won seven of 15 Pac-10 team titles and six individual crowns since the league's inception in 1986 - also garnering him six Pac-10 Coach-of-the-Year honors.
SCORING THE RACE
Cross country races are scored by adding together the places of each seven-person team's top five finishers, with the lowest score winning. A perfect score would be 15 points (1+2+3+4+5), although scores at larger meets such as the NCAA Championships are much higher because of the larger number of teams on hand (i.e. 50-100+ points). At the NCAA Championships or other regular season invitationals where some individuals compete apart from teams, their places are not counted in the team scoring (i.e. a runner who finished 49th overall but was beaten by two individuals not affiliated with teams would be scored 47th in the team scoring).
All-America honors are awarded based on NCAA Championships finishes. The top 30 finishers from both the men's and women's races, regardless of citizenship, are honored by the U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association, along with any additional finishers that are among the top 30 U.S. finishers. Often the award will extend to Americans in the 40-50th range on the men's side, and 35th-40th on the women's side.
Men's head coach Martin Smith's impact on two of the past three NCAA races have carried beyond the Ducks' top-10 finishes. In 1999, his former Wisconsin crew - including six of the seven runners he recruited - took second overall with 185 points after entering the meet fourth-ranked. The Badgers featured two runners in the top six in Matt Downin (fourth) and Jay Schoenfelder (sixth), and also had two other transfers in the top 10 in Oregon's Steve Fein (third) and Arkansas' Andrew Begley (seventh). The Badgers' final scorer, Jason Vanderhoof (60th), would have given Wisconsin a hypothetical NCAA title with 62 points - five ahead of Arkansas which would have scored 67 without Begley. The previous year in 1998, the Badgers would have claimed similar honors with 62 points with two UW individuals in the top 20 overall in Downin (fourth) and Schoenfelder (20th), and three former Badgers in the top-25 that were also All-Americans - Begley (16th), Fein (18th) and UCLA senior Mark Hauser (24th).
RECENT VARSITY RECAP
2001 Pac-10 Championships
Pavilion Lakes Golf Course - M8K/ W6K
Scottsdale, Ariz. - 10/27/01
Men's Teams - 1, Stanford 28 points. 2, Arizona State 75. 3, Oregon 78. 4, Arizona 96. 5, Washington 102. 6, UCLA 148. 7, Washington State 163. 8, California 192.
Men's Individuals - 1, Grant Robison, Stanford, 24:04.0. 2, Fasil Bizuneh, ASU, 24:06.4. 3, Donald Sage, Stanford, 24:11. 4, Jason Fayant, Washington, 24:17.7. 5, Ian Dobson, Stanford, 234:26.3.
UO Men - 6, Jason Hartmann, 24:30.9. 11, Adam Bergquist, 25:00.4. 17, John Lucas, 25:10.0.21, Brett Holts, 25:17.2. 23, Ryan Andrus, 25:23.8. 30, Eric Logsdon, 25:50.1.
Women's Teams - 1, Stanford 27. 2, Arizona 64. 3, ASU 79. 4, UCLA 107. 5, Washington 109. 6, Washington State 155. 7, USC 168. 8, Oregon 210. 9, Cal 259.
Women's Individuals - 1, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:08.1. 2, Sara Bei, Stanford, 20:17.4. 3, Tara Chaplin, Arizona, 20:19.6. 4, Everlyn Lagat, WSU, 20:48.0. 5, Alicia Craig, Stanford, 20:56.0.
UO Women - 35, Carrie Zografos, 22:58.8. 37, Magdalena Sandoval, 23:06.9. 44, Erinn Gulbrandsen, 23:32.6. 46, Annette Mosey, 23:34.2. 48, Laura Harmon, 23:39.7. 56, Sara Schaaf, 25:05.1. 60, Alicia Snyder-Carlson, 27:12.3.