No. 9 Cross Country Set to Open Season in Portland

Sept. 12, 2002

EUGENE - A 'B' unit from the University of Oregon men's cross country squad will open its season Friday afternoon, Sept. 13 at 5:30 pm at Portland's Pier Park, in a quadrangular against No. 15 Portland and Portland State and Willamette. A women's race between each school except Oregon begins at 5 pm.

The men's varsity unit was recently tabbed ninth in the national preseason poll, second best among Pac-10 and Western Regional schools behind Stanford (No. 2), while returning champion Colorado topped the poll. Other ranked Pac-10 teams included No. 13 Arizona State, No. 27 Washington, and No. 33 Arizona, and other regional honorees included No. 15 Portland, No. 32 Cal Poly, and No. 36 UC Santa Barbara

The Duck men returns six of last year's top seven from last year's 13th-place NCAA finishers -- a solid effort considering the 14th-ranked squad entered six NCAA rookies. The squad foreshadowed their success with third-place Pac-10 and Western Regional finishes against fields that featured four and six NCAA team qualifiers, respectively.

Individually, two-time All-American Jason Hartmann (Rockford, Mich.) will try to become the eighth Duck to win three or more All-America honors after missing the honor by 10 seconds last year (50th, 30:21). Juniors John Lucas (Eagle Point) and Brett Holts (Bend) posted top-25 Pac-10 finishes both in 2001 (17th/21st), and 2000 (18th/19th), and scored in their 2001 NCAA debuts (117th/96th). Junior Noel Paulson (Aumsville) was also a top-25 Pac-10 harrier finisher in 2000 (25th), and in 2001 his Pac-10 open race time in Arizona was the sixth-fastest of the eight Ducks on the course that day. Redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon (Canby) scored in three of his final four races of 2001, including his Regional (41st) and NCAA (156th) debuts. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Andrus (Orem, Utah) figured as the team's third finisher in three meets in 2001, including top-25 Pac-10 and Western Regional finishes (23rd/27th).

The only loss from last year's harrier top seven was Adam Bergquist, the squad's second finisher in all three championships races -- (11th at Pac-10 and Regionals, 60th at NCAAs). Seth Pilkington (Roy, Utah), a freshman on the 2001 squad and sixth in the 2001 Foot Locker Championships as a prep senior, will begin a two-year religious mission this fall.

Last year at the team's season opener at the same location, a mostly Oregon 'B' squad edged UP, 20-36, and PSU, 15-47, and the host Pilots edged the Vikings, 18-41. Noel Paulson (Aumsville) claimed the first collegiate win of his career (18:27), just ahead of John Lucas of Eagle Point (second, 18:30) and Portland's Steve Schaeffer (third, 18:35). Other Duck finishers included Oliver Redig (fourth, 18:55), Adam Bergquist (sixth, 19:01), Kyle Robinson (seventh, 19:01), Simon Kimata (11th, 19:37) and Ross Krempley (12th, 19:59).

After Friday, the Ducks' next meet is the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn., Sat., Sept. 28. The 8K race will be held on the Les Bolstad Golf Course at the University of Minnesota. Last year's meet featured 13 top-25 teams, and six more top-40 ranked squads, as Wisconsin won the team race, and Badger then-frosh Matt Tegenkamp won the individual crown.

On the women's side, the Ducks report for practice Friday, Sept. 13, and will then head to a week-long training camp in the mountains. The squad then opens its season with the Duck men in Minnesota. Last year's Griak meet featured 12 top-25 teams and three more top-30 teams, as ASU won the team title and Washington's Sabrina Monro paced the field individually.

The Duck women return all of last year's letterwinnners, and a two-time NCAA veteran that redshirted in 2001, while sporting only one senior on their roster. Last year, they missed the national finale for only the third time in head coach's Tom Heinonen 27 years at the helm after eighth- and 12th-place Pac-10 and Western Regional finishes, respectively.

Redshirt senior Carrie Zografos (Portland) returns after a breakthrough 2001-02 season. In cross country, she ranked as the team's MVP and most improved and led the squad in four of her five cross country races, including the Pac-10 Champs (35th). Junior Laura Harmon (Vancouver, Wash.) led the squad once last season -- in the Western Regional (45th) -- and ranked second in the first two races of 2001 and fifth in the remaining two meets due to illness. Redshirt junior Eri Macdonald (Honolulu, Hawai'i) returns after redshirting last fall and has scored in 11 of 13 career races for the Ducks, including NCAA appearances in 1999 and 2000. Junior Magdalena Sandoval (Los Alamos, N.M.) was the team's top newcomer last fall and ran among the Ducks' top four in all five races -- including second twice -- before missing the spring as she returned from a stress fracture. Senior Erinn Gulbrandsen (Chico, Calif.) placed among the squad's top four in every race, including four stops in the top three. Junior Annette Mosey (Wilsonville) scored in five of her six races in her first varsity harrier season in 2001. Redshirt sophomore Alicia Snyder-Carlson (Kihei, Hawai'i) proved a pleasant surprise in her first season of varsity cross country duty in 2001 -- including two scoring efforts and top-seven finishes in her three other appearances. Freshman Sara Schaaf (Klamath Falls) scored once last fall before missing the harrier regional finale because of a stress fracture. She will likely not compete this fall, switching to the Ducks' long sprint corps this track season.

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