Harriers Race to Success in Western Regional Champs

Nov. 16, 2002

STANFORD, Calif. - The University of Oregon men's and women's cross country teams made strong cases for the postseason Saturday with second- and fifth-place finishes in the NCAA Western Regional Championships, held at the Stanford Golf Course.

On the women's side, the No. 37 Duck women posted their best effort of the year as the team's top finisher, redshirt senior Carrie Zografos, earned an automatic NCAA individual bid with her sixth-place finish in the 6K chase (21:26). The Portland native went through the mile mark in 12th place, and just over a mile later, moved up to sixth place as she charged up a long steep grade. After cresting the top, she maintained her place in the final mile to the finish.

'I wanted to make sure I didn't go out too fast, because you'd pay for it on that mid-race hill,' Zografos said. 'We've been focusing on hills in practice since before Pac-10s, so we were ready, and got after it today. After I got to the top, I still felt good and pushed it in.'

Zografos' effort showed marked improvement over last year's 97th-place regional finish when she raced with the flu. The Central Catholic High School graduate foreshadowed Saturday's success two weeks ago with an eighth-place Pac-10 finish that was 27 places better than her league showing in 2001.

Yet the Ducks' success didn't stop there. A trio of top-30 finishers, juniors Laura Harmon (24th, 22:15), Eri Macdonald (26th, 22:20) and Magdalena Sandoval (30th, 22:30) all had their best regional efforts by at least 20 places each. Senior Erinn Gulbrandsen (47th, 22:55) wrapped up scoring, followed by freshman Nicole Feest (67th, 23:24) and redshirt sophomore Alicia Snyder-Carlson (72nd, 23:33).

'Virtually everybody finished higher than they did at Pac-10 so we were really pleased with that,' Oregon women's coach Tom Heinonen, 'Carrie ran really tough, especially since this was the first time she's run with any kind of injury this year (a slight hip muscle strain that appeared Tuesday). Laura hasn't been feeling very well but she was game, and she accomplished her goal coming into this season of finishing top 25 here. Eri, Magdalena and Erinn ran their best races of the year. We only lost to Washington by nine points, and this was the best race we could have looked for at the end of the season.'

Overall, No. 2 Stanford easily claimed the team crown (first, 24), ahead of No. 17 Arizona State (second, 70), No. 23 UCLA (third, 82), No. 21 Washington (fourth, 120), No. 37 Oregon (fifth, 129) and Idaho (sixth, 227) in the 28-team women's field.

The Duck women now look ahead to Monday's announcement of the remaining 13 at-large NCAA Championships qualifiers, selected nationally based on head-to-head wins during the regular season. The Ducks have beat two of Saturday's automatic qualifiers - Northwestern out of the Midwest and Florida State out of the South - and also have wins over Dartmouth and Ball State who finished fifth in their respective regionals.

'I really hope our team makes it,' Zografos said. 'We were really close to Washington today, and the team ran really well. Eri raced awesome and I heard Magdalena had a great finish, too. It feels really good to do well as a team, and we had a lot of positive energy.'

A NCAA selection would mean a fitting finale for 28th and final-year head coach Tom Heinonen, a two-time NCAA Coach of the Year who has guided Duck teams to two NCAA harrier titles and 24 prior national appearances.

'Today may get us to nationals, it may not,' Oregon women's coach Tom Heinonen said, 'but they certainly showed they can run well when it was counts, with virtually the same team that was 12th here last year. They showed guts early on, going out faster than they ever had this year. Our front four were in the top 30 at the mile, and then hung on and still passed people on the way in.'

Led by three finishers in the top seven overall, the No. 5 Duck men were one of 18 teams nationally to automatically advance to the upcoming NCAA Championships (11/25), by claiming second place with 43 points and also earning the region's last automatic invite.

Senior Jason Hartmann led the Ducks for the second time in as many meets, taking second overall in the 10K race (30:18) as Stanford's Donald Sage passed him in the final mile to win in 30:13. Duck redshirt sophomore Ryan Andrus and redshirt junior Brett Holts followed with their best ever regional finishes - sixth (30:37) and seventh (30:41), respectively. Also scoring their best-ever regional efforts, redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon (12th, 30:49) and redshirt junior John Lucas (16th, 31:00) also broke the regional top 20 for the first time in their careers. Other Duck finishers included junior Noel Paulson (31st, 31:48) and freshman Shane Ahlers (95th, 33:20).

Hartmann's effort match his best-ever finish of second as a sophomore in 2000, while last year he finished third.

As a team, the Ducks' runner-up finish was their highest under fourth-year cross country head coach Martin Smith who led young units to fourth-place regional finishes in 1999 and 2000, and third in 2001. Smith will take his third Duck unit to the NCAA finale after Oregon finished sixth in 1999 and 13th in 2001 - both higher than their pre-meet rankings of 12th and 14th, respectively.

Overall in Saturday's men's race, No. 1 Stanford split the top nine places with the Ducks and ended with 21 points to edge Oregon. Taking third with 115 points, the Mustangs of Cal Poly led candidates vying for Monday's NCAA at-large berths, ahead of Portland (fourth, 120), No. 22 Arizona State (fifth, 125) and No. 40 Washington (sixth, 170) in the 23-team field.

The upcoming NCAA Championships will feature 31-team, 255-runner men's and women's fields, and will be hosted by Indiana State University on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday, Nov. 25.


NCAA Western Regional Championships
Stanford Golf Course
Stanford, Calif.
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2002
Conditions: 60 degrees, sunny

Women's Team Results - 1, Stanford, 24. 2, Arizona State, 70. 3, UCLA, 82. 4, Washington, 120. 5, Oregon, 129. 6, Idaho, 227. 7, UC Irvine, 242. 8, UC Santa Barbara, 298. 9, Hawaii, 326. 10, Portland, 368. 11, Portland State, 375. 12, Washington State, 390. 13, California, 394. 14, Cal Poly, 437. 15, Santa Clara, 455. 16, Cal State Northridge, 457. 17, Cal State Fullerton, 476. 18, San Diego State, 478. 19, Eastern Washington, 524. 20, Boise State, 531. 21, Arizona, 542. 22, UNLV, 57. 23, San Diego, 566. 24, San Jose State, 607. 25, Long Beach State, 627. 26, Pepperdine, 687. 26, St. Mary's, 722. 28, UC Riverside, 747.

Women's Individual Results - 1, Alicia Craig, Stanford, 20 minutes, 39 seconds. 2, Lena Nilsson, UCLA, 20:45. 3, Lauren Fleshman, Stanford, 20:54. 4, Malindi Elmore, Stanford, 21:07. 5, Sara Bei, Stanford, 21:08. 6, Carrie Zografos, Oregon, 21:26. 7, Courtney Inman, Washington, 21:41. 8, Jessica Scazlo, Arizona State, 21:45. 9, Jenna Timinsky, UCLA, 21:46. 10, Amy Hastings, Arizona State, 21:48. 11, Jeanne Goff, Stanford, 21:51. 12, Victoria Chang, Hawaii, 21:51. 13, Anna Marie Miasinell, Arizona State, 21:53. 14, Brooke Thomas, USC, 21:54. 15, Jessica Zarndt, UNLV, 21:57. 16, Tania Vander Meulen, Idaho, 21:57. 17, Anita Siraki, Stanford, 22:02. 18, Desiree Davila, Arizona State, 22:06. 19, Carmen Winant, UCLA, 22:11. 20, Lindsey Egerdahl, Wahsington, 22:11.

Other Oregon Women's Finishers - 24, Laura Harmon, 22:15. 26, Eri Macdonald, 22:20. 30, Magdalena Sandoval, 22:30. 47, Erinn Gulbrandsen, 22:55. 67, Nicole Feest, 23:24. 72, Alicia Snyder-Carlson, 23:33.

Men's Results - 1, Stanford, 21. 2, Oregon, 43. 3, Cal Poly, 115. 4, Portland, 120. 5, Arizona State, 125. 6, Washington, 170. 7, UC Santa Barbara, 224. 8, UCLA, 236. 9, Washington State, 263. 10, Arizona, 300. 11, Idaho, 318. 12, California, 325. 13, Boise State, 339. 14, Santa Clara, 381. 15, Cal State Fullerton, 385. 16, UC Irvine, 396. 17, Portland State, 438. 18, Long Beach State, 488. 19, Eastern Washington, 515. 20, San Jose State, 560. 21, Cal State Northridge, 629. 22, Pepperdine, 634. 23, St. Mary's, 721.

Men's Individual Results - 1, Donald Sage, Stanford, 30:13. 2, Jason Hartmann, Oregon, 30:18. 3, Ian Dobson, Stanford, 30:21. 4, Adam Tenforde, Stanford, 30:32. 5, Louis Luchini, Stanford, 30:32. 6, Ryan Andrus, Oregon, 30:37. 7, Brett Holts, Oregon, 30:41. 8, Neil Davis, Stanford, 30:41. 9, Ryan Hall, Stanford, 30:41. 10, Matt Harriman, Portland, 30:42. 11, J.J. Duke, Arizona State, 30:49. 12, Eric Logsdon, Oregon, 30:49. 13, Fasil Bizuneh, Arizona State, 30:50. 14, David Jackson, C al Poly, 30:53. 15, Jeff Driscoll, Portland, 16, John Lucas, Oregon, 31:00. 17, Sean Ricketts, Cal Poly, 31:05. 18, John Service, UC Santa Barbara, 31:14. 19, Jan Eitel, Idaho, 31:20. 20, Brandon Fuller, Eastern Washington, 31:21.

Other Oregon Men's Finishers - 31, Noel Paulson, 31:48. 95, Shane Ahlers, 33:20.

*NOTE: Results from all nine regionals nationally are at the www.ncaachampionships.com web site.

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