Cross Country Teams Open Varsity Season in Minnesota
Sept. 25, 2002
This Week's Action: Roy Griak Invitational
The Duck men's and women's cross country squads get a jump on the start of fall classes (Mon., 9/30), with their first official varsity appearance of the season in the Roy Griak Invitational, Sat., Sept. 28. The Duck men race in the Gold 8K race at noon (CT), and women's gold 6K follows at 1 pm. Meet results will be at the www.gophersports.com and www.raceberryjam.com web sites.
The No. 9 Duck men are one of 12 top-40 teams in the men's field (No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 10 Providence, No. 11 BYU, No. 12 Eastern Michigan, No. 13 Weber State, No. 14 Arizona State, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 28 Minnesota, No. 32 Texas, No. 35 Nebraska, and No. 38 Wake Forest). The women's elite collegiate race features eight top-30 teams (No. 9 Michigan State, No. 13 Providence, No. 14 Marquette, No. 19 Arizona State, No. 27 Arizona, No. 28 Minnesota, No. 29 Toledo and No. 30 Weber State).
CLOSER TO HOME
The Duck women will also send a 'B' squad to the Northwest Cross Country Classic, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, at Lane Community College in Eugene. Sophomore Beth Jackson and freshmen Haripurkh Khalsa, Chelsea Mannesh and Krissy Sonniksen are entered in the combined men's/women's open 5K race that starts at 10 a.m. High school races will follow, and results will be posted at the www.goodrace.com web site.
THIS WEEK'S LIKELY DUCK ENTRIES
Duck M&W Yr.-Exp. Hometown (Last School/HS)Shane Ahlers Fr.-HS Black Hawk, S.D. (Sturgis Brown)Ryan Andrus So.*-1L-TR Orem, Utah (Wisconsin/Mountain View)Jason Hartmann Sr.-3L Rockford, Mich. (RHS)Brett Holts Jr.-2L Bend (BHS)Eric Logsdon So.*-1L Canby (CHS)John Lucas Jr.*-2L Eagle Point (EPHS)Noel Paulson Jr.-1L Aumsville (Cascade)Will Viviani Fr.*-HS Arlington, Va. (Yorktown)
Taylor Bryant So.*-SQ Ontario (OHS)Nicole Feest Fr.-HS Lombard, Ill. (Glenbard East)Erinn Gulbrandsen Sr.-3L Chico, Calif. (Pleasant Valley)Laura Harmon Jr.-2L Vancouver, Wash. (Jesuit-Portland)Eri Macdonald Jr.*-2L Honolulu, Hawai'i (Punahou)Magdalena Sandoval Jr.-1L Los Alamos, N.M. (Rice/LAHS)Alicia Snyder-Carlson Jr.*-1L Kihei, Hawai'i (St. Anthony (Wailuku))Carrie Zografos Sr.*-1L Portland, Ore. (Colorado/Central Catholic)
*indicates utilized redshirt season
Pronunciations: Men - AYE-lers, ANN-druhs, HOLTS, LAHGS-don, PAUL-son, VIH-vee-ah-nee; Women - AIR-ee, gull-BRAND-son, SAN-dah-vul, ZOE-graf-ohs, HIGH-nah-nen.
SIZING UP THE DUCKS
In his 28th season as women's head coach, Tom Heinonen returns six letterwinners who are ready to improve on last year's eighth-place Pac-10 finish. Senior Carrie Zografos and Erinn Gulbrandsen, juniors Laura Harmon, Eri Macdonald and Magdalena Sandoval are scoring veterans, and freshman Nicole Feest could join the battle for points. Junior Alicia Snyder-Carlson and sophomore Taylor Bryant continue to mature as collegiate harriers after formerly focusing primarily on the middle distances. The Duck men are ranked ninth nationally in the second poll of the season, and return six of last year's seven NCAA entries. Senior Jason Hartmann begins his chase after a third harrier All-America honor and finished 12th in the Roy Griak race last year. The squad's second through six positions were interchangeable last year and could be again in 2002 - and likely feature juniors Brett Holts, Eric Logsdon, John Lucas and Noel Paulson, and sophomore Ryan Andrus. Freshmen Shane Ahlers and Will Viviani will make their varsity debuts after finishing second and eighth overall, respectively, in a 'B' squad double-dual two weeks ago vs. Portland and Portland State in Portland (9/13).
DUCK WOMEN'S SEASON OUTLOOK
The Duck women return all of last year's letterwinnners, and a two-time NCAA veteran that redshirted in 2001, and sport 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). On the track, she led the team in the 1,500 with a Pac-10 qualifier that was 12 seconds better than her preseason best (4:26.98), and made an ever bigger splash over the barriers. In her season steeplechase debut vs. Washington, she missed the NCAA provisional mark by barely two seconds with her school record (10:42.02), and later added fifth in the Pac-10 finale. 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. On the track in 2002, she led the team in the 5K (17:12.04) and ranked second in the 1,500 (4:29.49) with Pac-10 qualifiers in both. 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. Outdoors on the track in 2002, she missed an NCAA invite in the 800 by .04 seconds with her personal best (2:06.37) and made her second appearance in the Pac-10 final. 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, then redshirted the track season. 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. On the track, she was the only athlete to qualify for the Pac-10 meet in the 400 hurdles (61.51) and steeplechase (11:07.85), and ranked first and second, respectively, on the team. Junior Annette Mosey (Wilsonville) will redshirt this season while studying in Spain after scoring in fix of her six races last fall. On the track in 2002 ranked second and third on the squad, respectively, in the 800 (2:10.55) and 1,500 (4:35.78). Freshman Sara Schaaf (Klamath Falls) will likely not compete this fall, switching to the Ducks' long sprint/middle distance corps this track season. She scored once last fall for the varsity harrier unit before missing the harrier regional finale because of a stress fracture.
DUCK MEN'S SEASON OUTLOOK
The Duck men return 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. Looking ahead to 2002, 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). He has led the squad in nine of his 10 races as a sophomore and junior, and was the Pac-10 Men's Newcomer of the Year as a frosh. On the track, he has placed top-four in the NCAA 10K in 2001 (third) and 2002 (fourth). His lowered his 10K in June's USA Championships (eighth, 28:48.76) and stands as the top collegiate returnee from the race for 2003, not to mention fifth all-time for the Ducks. 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). On the track in 2002, Lucas was an NCAA provisional qualifier indoors in the 5,000 (14:16.40) and a Pac-10 10K entrant (13th). Holts was a Pac-10 scorer in the steeplechase (9:03.32), with all four of his season and career races sub-9:05 - including a best of 8:57.33 three seconds shy of the NCAA provisional mark. 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. Indoors in 2002, he ran an NCAA provisional mile of 4:04.31. Redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon (Canby) scored in three of his final four races of 2001, including his Regional (41st) and NCAA (156th) debuts. On the track in May, he ran an NCAA provisional best of 14:04.85 with only one shoe the last mile in the Cardinal Invite, and later scored fourth in the Pac-10 track finale. 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). On the track, he owns 1,500/5K bests of 3:46.5/14:11 as a freshman at Wisconsin in the spring of 1998. The only loss from last year's harrier top seven is 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 2000 Foot Locker Championships as a prep senior, will begin a two-year religious mission this fall. Redshirt freshman Erik Heinonen, one place better (fifth) than Pilkington in the prep 2000 Footlocker Champs and the fastest 10K prep in 2001 (31:26.05), is recovering from a summer Achilles injury.
2002 MEN'S 'B' SQUAD GETS HEAD START
PORTLAND, Ore. (9/13/02) - The Duck men opened their season as a 'B' squad of Duck freshmen fell to 'B' units from Portland, 22-34, and Portland State, 23-35, at Pier Park two weeks ago. Individually, Portland senior Kevin Smith won the 7.6K race (24:31.5), edging Duck newcomer and Blackhawk S.D. native Shane Ahlers (second, 24:44). Ahlers was the South Dakota state champion last season and also finished 14th in the Footlocker Midwest Regional Championships. Other Duck finishers included redshirt frosh and Arlington, Va., native Will Viviani (eighth, 25:15), and true freshmen Ricky Scott of Newport (25th, 26:51), Collin Stark-Benz of Portland (26th, 26:55) and Ryan Flaherty of Bend (30th, 27:35). Those concerned about at-large NCAA qualifying implications from Friday shouldn't worry since head-to-head meetings before Sept. 28 aren't considered by the NCAA championships committee.
2001 ROY GRIAK FLASHBACK
ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/27/01) - Last year on the first day of the NCAA at-large qualifying season, the then-No. 16 UO men finished 11th in the 36-team field with a score of 326 points. Jason Hartmann led Oregon (12th, 24:31.7), and was followed by Seth Pilkington (52nd, 25:01.4), Ryan Andrus (84th, 25:15.6), and Noel Paulson (85th, 25:16.0), Brett Holts (93rd, 25:19.4), John Lucas (98th, 25:21.9), and Eric Logsdon (116th, 25:29.6). Then-No. 6 Wisconsin won the team race with 129 points, and Badger freshman Matt Tegenkamp won the individual title (8K, 23:58.0). The Duck women's squad finished 28th in the 32-team field, as Carrie Zografos led UO (99th, 22:32.2), followed by Laura Harmon (106th, 22:35.8), Magdalena Sandoval (162nd, 23:04.0), Erinn Gulbrandsen (180th, 23:19.1), Alicia Snyder-Carlson (188th, 23:24.0), Annette Mosey (199th, 23:41.2), and Sara Schaaf (210th, 24:23.8). Then-No. 11 Arizona State won the team title with 109 points. Washington senior Sabrina Munro won the individual title (6K, 20:12.9).
LIFE IN A WESTERN TOWN
In 2001, the NCAA Western Regional and the 'Conference of Champions' again laid claim as the most prolific among the NCAA fields with 11 combined M&W teams. The NCAA men's field featured six regional and four Pac-10 teams (Stanford (second), Portland (seventh), Oregon (13th), Santa Barbara (17th), Arizona State (20th), and Arizona (21st), and the women's field featured five conference foes (Arizona (fourth), Stanford (fifth), Washington (14th), UCLA (21st) and Arizona State (23rd). In six of the past seven NCAA finales, the men's Western Regional has featured six or more All-Americans, and the 2000 & 2001 NCAA women's fields featured five conference schools, and six in 1999. Altogether in the past 11 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the Pac-10 has featured three team titles (2 men's, 1 women's), three team runners-up (2 men's, 1 women's) and five individual winners (3 men's, 2 women's).
ACROSS THE NATION
A battle is brewing nationally on the men's front after Colorado edged Stanford by one point, 90-91, last fall for the NCAA team title. Stanford returns virtually all of last year's varsity talent, while Colorado is redshirting injured sophomore Dathan Ritzenhein (fourth as a frosh in '01, and a 13:27.77 5K in '02). 2000 NCAA champion Arkansas returns four All-American and joins Wisconsin other contenders. On the women's side, BYU has won three of the past team titles (2001, 1999 and 1997), and will fend off challenges from Stanford, Boston College, Colorado, North Carolina, and Georgetown. The men's individual chase could be one of the fastest ever with three of last year's top four back - 2001 champion Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan, Jorge Torres (second) of Colorado, and Alistair Cragg (third) of Arkansas - not to mention 1999 NCAA champ David Kimani of Alabama. Women's individual favorites include Stanford's Lauren Fleshman (third last year, and a two-time NCAA outdoor 5K champion), last year's harrier runner-up Renee Metivier of Georgia Tech, 2002 NCAA 10K champ Kristen Price of N.C. State, North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan, and Colorado's Molly Austin.
IN THE POLLS
The Duck men opened the year tied for ninth in the coaches preseason poll, then were pegged 10th in the first regular season poll (9/17). The Oregon women are unranked this season.
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 NCAA harrier champions 'Pre' (1970-71-73) and Alberto Salazar (1978) and fellow American track record holders Rudy Chapa and Matt Centrowitz. On the women's side, Oregon has qualified as a team in 24 of 27 NCAA meets since 1975 and has finished in the top 10 in 18 appearances. The University of Oregon women have garnered 30 All-America honors and have featured such greats as Marie Davis, Melody Fairchild, Kathy Hayes, Lisa Ondieki, and Annette Peters.
Redshirt freshman Erik Heinonen looms as the top addition to the men's squad in 2002. A local product out of South High School in Eugene, he placed fifth in the 2000 FootLocker Cross Country Championships, the national prep championship. On the track as a prep senior in 2001, he paced the national prep list in the 10,000 (31:26.05), while his 5,000 best of 14:35.8 dates back to his junior season. At the state harrier level, he finished third as a senior, 21st as a junior, third as a sophomore and 30th as a freshman. He also competed in the U.S. Junior Cross Country Championships in 2001 (13th) and 1999 (21st). Another redshirt frosh, Will Viviani (Arlington, Va.), attended UO last year but trained on his own, and ran season bests of 8:33.83 and 15:03.67 in area meets unattached. Among true freshmen, Shane Ahlers (Black Hawk, S.D.) was the state cross country and 3,200 champion in 2001-02, and was 14th in the 2001 Midwest Footlocker Regional, and Collin Stark-Benz (Portland) was 15th in the 2001 Oregon state 4A harrier meet and third on the track in the 1,500 in 2002 to go along with a regular season 1,500 personal best of 3:57.14. Leading a quartet of true freshmen, Nicole Feest (Lombard, Ill.) should contend immediately for Duck scoring honors after placing fourth last fall in the 2A state cross country meet (14:24). On the track she finished sixth in the state 3,200 as a junior (PR 11:07.62), but was slowed by a shin injury last spring. Other women's additions include Portland natives Krissy Sonniksen of Westview High School and Chelsea Manesh of Sunset High School who took 19th and 27th last fall in the 4A state cross country championships. Sabrina Turner of Crescent Valley High School followed close behind (31st), and on the track finished fourth in her district meet in 2002 in the 800 and 1,500.
Starting with the Roy Griak Invite, 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 and help their qualifying cause for the NCAA Championships. The NCAA men's and women's fields (31 teams in each) feature the top-two team finishers from each of November's nine NCAA regionals on Sat., Nov. 16, 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 top four individuals from each region, plus two at-large individuals selected nationally. Although the Duck women failed to qualify in 2001, they utilized the at-large route in 2000 after a fourth-place regional finish and previous regular season wins against five fellow NCAA qualifiers -- Marquette, North Carolina, South Florida, Wake Forest and Weber State.
AT THE HELM
Beginning his fourth 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 a sixth-place NCAA harrier finish -- its 24th top-10 national placing. Altogether in track and field and cross country since his arrival in 1998, the Ducks have garnered 20 All-America honors individually, and ninth-place NCAA finishes outdoors in 2001 and indoors in 2002. In return, Smith was tabbed Pac-10 and West Region Men's Track Coach of the Year in 2002. 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, 28th-year head 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, including 18 top-10 NCAA finishes. 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 16 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.
PAC-10 HONOR ROLL
Barely two weeks after the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Arizona's Tara Chaplin and Stanford's Donald Sage and were named Pacific-10 Conference Cross Country Athletes of the Year after their first- and seventh-place NCAA finishes. Arizona State's J.J. Duke and Stanford's Sara Bei claimed M&W Newcomer of the Year honors, and Stanford's Vin Lananna and Arizona's Dave Murray were named M&W Coaches of the Year. Honors were decided by a vote of conference cross country coaches.
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 in larger meets such as the NCAA Championships are much higher because of the larger number of teams on hand (i.e. 50-100+ points). In 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 40th-50th range on the men's side, and 35th-40th on the women's side.
COMING INTO HIS OWN
Senior Jason Hartmann is on pace to cap an impressive harrier career this fall. A two-time All-American in both cross country and track and field, he returns as one of the league's top harriers after runner-up regional and Pac-10 finishes in 2000 and third- and sixth-place efforts in 2001, respectively. However, last year's track season further cemented his place among the nation's top distance runners. The Rockford, Mich., native was one of the most-raced distance runners, racing 48K (29.8 miles) in 4 meets -- including three 10K's, one 5K and one 3K in a seven-week span in May and June. He opened the year with a personal best in the Stanford Invitational 10K in March (28:51.00), was slowed by a minor injury in April, then returned to duty in May's Oregon Twilight (3K, second, 8:20.02). During the championship season, he was one of only two league members to score in the Pac-10 5K (fifth) and 10K (second), then passed three runners in the final lap of a hot and humid NCAA 10K for his second top-four honor (fourth). At the USA Championships later in June, he raised the bar again when most collegians had already peaked. He ran among a crowded pack contesting third place for the first five miles of the national 10K finale, before coming away with an eighth-place finish and second among collegians. At the finish line, he added yet another personal best (28:46.76) that ranks him fifth in school history and stands as the top returnee for the 2003 edition. He made his debut on the national track spotlight in Eugene in 2001 with his third-place NCAA 10K finish (as he outkicked three runners in the final lap) - one of seven races and six home meets at the fabled facility (2000-2 races/2 meets; 2001-4 races/3 meets; 2002-1 race/1 meet). His personal bests follow - 3K (8:09.79), 5K (14:05.72), 10K (28:46.76) - and here's a quick rundown of his career so far:
Honors: Two-time All-American in cross country (1999, 2000) & track (2001, '02)
2001-02: Track: All-American (10K, 4th, 29:28.80). Pac-10 (5K, 5th,14:30.01; 10K, 2nd, 30:28.92). Season Bests: 3K (8:20.02), 5K (14:05.72), 10K (28:46.76). Cross Country: NCAA qualifier (50th, 30:21), Pac-10 (6th-fell, 24:30.9), West Regional (third, 30:57).
2000-01: Track: All-American (10K, 3rd, 29:28.97). Pac-10 (10K, 12th-ill, 31:33.83). Season Bests: 3K (8:09.79), 5K (14:05.72, indoors), 10K (28:56.06 debut). Cross Country: All-American (35th, 31:03.5). Pac-10 (2nd, 23:47.37). West Regional (2nd, 30:42).
1999-00: Track: Redshirted. Unattached Season Bests: 800 (1:56.18), 5K (14:22.25). Cross Country: All-American (NCAA - 37th, 31:17.3, top U.S. frosh); Western Regional (16th, 31:05); Pac-10 (15th, 24:46, Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year). World Junior Champs (66th, 8K, 25:50). U.S. Champs (6th, 26:40).
ONLINE CROSS COUNTRY RESOURCES
UO Athletics: www.goducks.comPacific-10 Conference: www.pac-10.orgNCAA Champs.: www.ncaachampionships.comNCAA host: http://web.indstate.edu/athleticMen's XC Poll: www.usccca.comWomen's XC Poll: www.raceberryjam.comM&W XC Regional Polls: www.usccca.comTrackwire: www.trackwire.com.USA Track and Field: www.uastf.orgUSOC: www.olympic-usa.orgIAAF: www.iaaf.orgTrack & Field News: www.trackandfieldnews.com