It's a Pac-12 podium party at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships
It was one for the Pac-12 history books at the NCAA cross country championships Saturday morning in Louisville, Kentucky.
Edward Cheserek, AKA “The King,” became the first man in NCAA Division I history to win three consecutive individual national cross country titles. You read that right. The only one. Ever. Oregon is feeling pretty good right now.
Team-wise, the Ducks scored 183 points – good enough for a fourth-place finish. Ahead of them were impressive Pac-12 showings from Colorado and Stanford, who finished second and third, respectively.
Colorado’s Pierce Murphy finished third overall to wrap up his career as a Buffalo. The rest of the Buffs’ scoring men used a pack mentality to take places 20, 21, 23 and 25. The two-time defending national champions finished second with 91 points this year behind Syracuse (82).
Right behind Colorado in the team race, Stanford (151) grabbed third place. Sixth- and seventh-place finishes by Jim Rosa and Sean McGorty, respectively, helped the Card in a big way to get on the podium. Freshman Grant Fisher made his NCAA championship debut with a 17th-place finish.
Other notable performances from the men’s side include Washington’s eighth-place team finish and UCLA’s 14th-place finish, despite coming in ranked 28th. The Cal Golden Bears finished 23rd as a team and the Washington State Cougars were right behind at 26th.
On the women’s side, Washington senior Maddie Meyers was the first Pac-12 runner across the line in eighth place, helping the Huskies (297) to their 10th-place team finish.
Colorado (129) had the best team finish from the Pac-12 Conference with second place. Junior Erin Clark and sophomore Kaitlyn Benner led the cause for the Buffs, scooping up 10th and 13th places respectively.
At the start of the season, Colorado’s head coach Mark Wetmore was quoted at media day saying the Buffs “will be a team that can definitely challenge for the podium. Combined with the men and the women, they might be the best two teams we’ve had here.” Considering the men’s and women’s finishes, it’s safe to say coach knows best.
Oregon senior Waverly Neer led the Ducks (214) to a third-place finish after coming in ranked No. 5. It marks the team’s best performance at nationals since 2012. The Ducks women wrapped up their season able to say that they finished no lower than third as a team at any meet.
Stanford and Utah were the final two Pac-12 teams from the women’s side and finished 14th and 26th, respectively.
For full results from Saturday's championships, please visit NCAA.com.