Pac-12 schools have strong showing at NCAA Regional Championships
Pac-12 Conference teams made a strong showing at Friday's NCAA cross country regional championships. Colorado men and women dominated the Mountain Region, while Oregon, Washington and Stanford took the West. Following this round of competition, qualifiers move on to race at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 21 at Louisville, Kentucky.
Quick recap on how selections for the NCAA Cross Country Championships are made: The top two men's and women's teams in each region earn an automatic bid to the national championships. An additional 13 team bids are at-large and based on competition throughout the season. On top of the team selection, 38 individuals per gender are chosen to run at the Championships. The top four finishers from each gender and region who are NOT a part of a team already with a bid automatically earn Championship berth, provided they finish in the top-25 overall in their region. Finally, two additional athletes are chosen from the national pool for individual bids.
[Related: Complete NCAA mountain regional results]
Today, five Pac-12 teams earned automatic berths in the Nov. 21 championship: Oregon women, Washington men, Stanford men, and Colorado men and women.
The women of Oregon’s depth gave them the advantage and one-point victory over Boise State. While the Broncos put three runners in the top 5, Oregon had all five of its scorers cross before the Broncos’ fourth. Waverly Neer finished second overall and led the Ducks to their 15th regional title.
Also on the women’s side, the Buffs edged out New Mexico to win the Mountain Region also by one point. Kaitlyn Benner, Erin Clark and Maddie Alm all ran tight to finish in the top 7. Sweeps seem to be the Buffaloes' style this season, so it’s no surprise that the Colorado men joined the women’s team atop the podium. Pierce Murphy led the men to regional victory, with the entire scoring line-up finishing in the top 20.
In the upset of the meet, No. 17 Washington took the men’s West Region, knocking off No. 4 Stanford and No. 7 Oregon to claim the title for the first time in school history. The Huskies put all five of their scoring men in the top 22 to secure the 20-point victory over the Card.
Stanford’s men took the second automatic berth to the NCAA Championship from the West Region. Jim Rosa, Sean McGorty and Joe Rosa went 6-7-8 with the final two of the Card’s scorers finishing 20th and 42nd.
Notable Pac-12 women’s teams vying for an at-large Championship bid include: Washington, which placed third in the West Region; Stanford, close behind in fourth; and Utah, which placed third in the Mountain Region.
[Related: Complete NCAA west regional results]
Potential Pac-12 men’s teams to take the at-large bid are: Oregon, which placed third in the West Region; Washington State, which placed fourth; California, which placed sixth; and UCLA, which placed seventh.
Individually, the Pac-12 Conference had standout performances today. Waverly Neer (Oregon), Maddie Meyers (Washington), Alli Cash (Oregon) and Katie Knight (Washington) all placed in the top-ten in the West Region. In the Mountain Region, Colorado saw three runners in the top-ten with Kaitlyn Benner, Hannah McInturff and Maddie Alm.
Edward Cheserek (Oregon) took the West Region crown, and every runner in the top ten in the region hails from the Pac-12 Conference: John Whelan (Washington State), Michael Williams (Washington State), Travis Neuman (Oregon), Tyler King (Washington), Jim Rosa (Stanford), Sean McGorty (Stanford), Joe Rosa (Stanford), Sergey Sushchickh (UCLA), Andrew Gardner (Washington) finished 2-10, respectively.