Pac-12 announces cross country honors

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SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference announced today the recipients of the 2014 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country All-Conference honors. On the men’s side, OREGON’s Edward Cheserek was named Athlete of the Year, while WASHINGTON’s Colby Gilbert was tabbed Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and COLORADO’s Mark Wetmore was voted the Coach of the Year. For the women, ARIZONA STATE’s Shelby Houlihan was named Athlete of the Year, while STANFORD’s Elise Cranny was tabbed Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and OREGON’s Robert Johnson was voted Coach of the Year. 

Edward Cheserek (Newark, N.J.) took home his second-consecutive Pac-12 Cross Country individual title, breaking away from the pack at the five-kilometer mark to finish the race with a mark of 23:23. He also won at the ISU Pre-National Invitational, the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, and the Bill Dellinger Invitational. The four meet victories extend his streak of consecutive first-place finishes at cross country meets to seven, dating back to 2013. The sophomore, who also took home the NCAA Cross Country Championship last year, joined Steve Prefontaine (1970-71) and Jim Hill (1982-83) as the only runners in Oregon history to win back-to-back Pac-12 titles. 

Colby Gilbert (Vancouver, Wash.), who redshirted last season, was the highest freshman finisher at this year’s Pac-12 Cross Country Championships, coming in at 17th with a time of 24:11. He was one of five Huskies to finish in the top 25, which led UW to a fourth-place team finish, the best for the program since 2009. Gilbert has been a consistent runner for the Dawgs, as he posted top-75 finishes in the Washington Invitational (51st, 24:36) and the Wisconsin adidas Invitational (53rd, 24:21). 

Shelby Houlihan (Sioux City, Iowa) won the women’s Pac-12 Cross Country individual title with a time of 19:59. It marked her third top-three finish on the season as she also took home first in the Roy Griak Invitational and placed third at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Houlihan, who took home the NCAA title in the outdoor 1500-meter as a junior, had previously finished in the top 10 three times as a Sun Devil, coming in eighth in 2011 and 2012 before finishing fourth in 2013. 

Elise Cranny (Longmont, Colo.) finished four seconds behind Houlihan for a second-place finish at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships, with a mark of 20:03. The freshman took home first place at the Washington Invitational in her first-ever collegiate cross country meet, then followed with a seventh-place finish and a personal record of 19:53 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. 

Mark Wetmore takes home Men’s Coach of the Year honors for the second year in a row after leading the Buffs to capture the men’s Pac-12 team title for the fourth year in a row, recording a score of 30 with five runners finishing in the top eight. Colorado has been unanimously ranked first in the nation by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association all six weeks of the 2014 season. Wetmore’s men’s teams have won four NCAA team titles since 2001, including the 2013 NCAA Championship. 

Robert Johnson coached the Oregon women to their second Pac-12 title in three years, with the last coming in 2012 when the Ducks also claimed the NCAA crown. Seven Ducks finished in the top 20 of this year’s championship race, with all five scorers crossing the finish line within 11 seconds of each other, giving Oregon 54 points to take home the crown. It is Johnson’s third year as the head coach of the program and 10th overall with the Ducks.

First Team
Edward Cheserek, So., Oregon
Eric Jenkins, Sr., Oregon
Ammar Moussa, Jr., Colorado
Pierce Murphy, Jr., Colorado
Joe Rosa, Jr., Stanford
Blake Theroux, Sr., Colorado
Connor Winter, Jr., Colorado
Second Team 
Michael Atchoo, Sr., Stanford
Tyler King, Jr., Washington
Maksim Korolev, Sr., Stanford
Sean McGorty, So., Stanford
Aaron Nelson, Sr., Washington
Ben Saarel, So., Colorado
Chris Walden, Jr., California
Athlete of the Year: Edward Cheserek, So., Oregon
Freshman of the Year: Colby Gilbert, Fr., Washington
Coach of the Year: Mark Wetmore, Colorado
First Team
Maddie Alm, Jr., Colorado
Frida Berge, Fr., Oregon
Erin Clark, So., Colorado
Elise Cranny, Fr., Stanford
Shelby Houlihan, Sr., Arizona State
Bethan Knights, Fr., California
Maddie Meyers, Jr., Washington
Second Team 
Alli Cash, Fr., Oregon
Emma Fisher, Fr., Stanford
Molly Grabill, Jr., Oregon
Molly McNamara, Sr., Stanford
Waverly Neer, Jr., Oregon
Abby Regan, Sr., Washington State
Kelsey Smith, Sr., UCLA
Athlete of the Year: Shelby Houlihan, Sr., Arizona State
Freshman of the Year: Elise Cranny, Fr., Stanford
Coach of the Year: Robert Johnson, Oregon
Now on Pac-12 Network
3:00 AM PT

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