Pac-12 set to crown cross country champions Friday in Oregon
SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference will crown its first champions of 2017-18 this Friday as OREGON hosts the 2017 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships at Springfield Golf Club in Eugene, Ore.
RACE SCHEDULE (All times PT)
9:00 a.m. - Championship course open
10:50 a.m. - National Anthem
10:55 a.m. - Women called to Start
11:05 a.m. - Women’s final instructions
11:10 a.m. - Women’s 6k Championship Race
11:55 a.m. - Men called to Start
12:05 p.m. - Men’s final instructions
12:10 p.m. - Men’s 8k Championship Race
Approx. 12:50 p.m. - Awards Ceremony
For the first time in event history, the 2017 Pac-12 Cross Country Championship will be broadcast live on Friday, Oct. 27 beginning at 11 a.m. PT. Both races will air live nationally on Pac-12 Network as well as across all six Pac-12 regional channels. The events will also be available to stream live for authenticated subscribers via the Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com. On the call will be Jim Watson, Dwight Stones and Lewis Johnson.
Springfield Golf Club – 90333 Sunderman Rd., Springfield, OR 97478 - is the competition site for the 2017 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships. One of Oregon’s premier golf courses, student-athletes will race entirely on grass and mostly on fairways. The course consists of two relatively flat loops - an outer loop and a finish loop. The outer loop is approximately 2,320 meters in length, and the finishing loop is approximately 1,350 meters in length.
The Pac-12 has had the nation’s No. 1 ranked women’s team for the last nine USTFCCCA polls, including all six polls so far in the 2017 season. That recent battle for national supremacy has always featured the same two teams - COLORADO and OREGON.
Colorado brought the No. 1 ranking into the 2016 Pac-12 Championship and backed up the billing by posting a 41-point victory en route to their second straight Conference crown. The Buffaloes also owned the top spot through the first five polls this fall, and should they win a third consecutive crown at the 2017 Pac-12 Championships they would be the first to three-peat since STANFORD completed its stretch of 12 straight championships from 1996-2007.
Oregon, last year’s NCAA national champion, took over the role of Pac-12 favorite last week as the Ducks assumed the nation’s No. 1 ranking following a 63-91 victory over runner-up and now No. 3 ranked Colorado at the Pre-Nationals meet. Oregon will now look to accomplish what CU did a season ago - back up its billing as the country’s No. 1 team at the Conference championship meet.
The Ducks will have home-course advantage on the Springfield Golf Club circuit, where they cruised to a 33-point victory in the Bill Dellinger Invitational in late September, paced by Katie Rainsberger's course-record shattering effort.
However, history has shown that playing host rarely equates to a team title. Only five times in Conference history has the host won the women’s team title - with all five being won by Stanford (1993-94, 1996-97, 2006).
In the race's history, only five schools have laid claim to the Pac-12 crown with Stanford winning 15 times, Oregon nine times, Colorado and Washington three times, and ARIZONA once.
Last year’s individual title was one of the closest in Conference history, with No. 13 ranked WASHINGTON’s Amy-Eloise Neale edging CU’s Erin Clark by four-tenths of a second.
Neale is among 13 former NCAA All-Americans entered to compete for the Pac-12 individual crown - No. 28 CALIFORNIA’s Bethan Knights (2014), Colorado’s Kaitlyn Benner (2016), Mackenzie Caldwell (2016), Sage Hurta (2016) and Dani Jones (2016); Oregon’s Alli Cash (2015) and Rainsberger (2016); No. 14 Stanford’s Christina Aragon (2016), Elise Cranny (2014), Vanessa Fraser (2015) and Fiona O’Keeffe (2016); and No. 27 UTAH’s Grayson Murphy (2016).
Joining that group are past Pac-12 All-Conference performers in ARIZONA’s Addi Zerrenner (2016), California’s Marissa Williams (2015), Colorado’s Makena Morley (2016) and Melanie Nun (2013 & 2015), and Utah’s Hannah McInturff (2015). Oregon’s Lilli Burdon has posted a pair of top-10 finishes this fall and should also vie for the front.
A year after history was made on the individual front, COLORADO will seek to make history from a team perspective at the 2017 Pac-12 Men’s Cross Country Championships.
The CU men have won every Conference team title since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, a streak of six consecutive crowns. Another triumph in 2017 will break the previous league-record streak of six currently shared by the Buffaloes (2011-16) and STANFORD (2000-05).
However, a quintet of nationally ranked teams will be part of the eight-team pack seeking to spoil No. 5 Colorado’s run at history. No. 6 Stanford and No. 8 OREGON are the lead candidates to challenge CU - the Buffaloes (six), Cardinal (eight) and Ducks (three) have combined to win all 17 Pac-12 men’s team championships in the new millenium. The last team to unseat that trio was ARIZONA in 1999.
No. 14 UCLA, No. 20 WASHINGTON STATE and No. 21 WASHINGTON have all surged late in the season - climbing a combined 25 spots (UCLA +6, WSU +9, WASH +10) in the latest USTFCCCA national poll - and appear primed to contend.
This marks just the third time Oregon has hosted the Pac-12 Championships, doing so in 1998 (Eugene) and 2008 (Springfield). The Ducks used the home-course advantage to capture the 2008 men’s team title, their most recent Pac-12 crown.
The host school has won the men’s team title five times, including Oregon’s 2008 triumph. Stanford accomplished the feat in 1985, 1996 and 1997, while Colorado was the last to do so in 2013.
On the individual side, the Pac-12 Championships will have a new men’s champion for the first time since 2013 as the legendary Edward Cheserek capped his career with a fourth consecutive Pac-12 crown last fall, joining Arizona alumna Amy Skieresz as the only four-time individual champions in event history.
Seven past NCAA All-Americans are entered for the quest to assume Cheserek’s vacant throne - Colorado’s John Dressel (2015) and Joe Klecker (2016), Oregon’s Matthew Maton (2016), Stanford’s Grant Fisher (2015-16) and Sam Wharton (2014), Washington’s Colby Gilbert (2015) and Washington State’s Michael Williams (2016).
CU’s Ryan Forsyth and Zach Perrin, Oregon’s Travis Neuman and UCLA’s Collin Burke also look to be in the mix as past Pac-12 All-Conference performers in this year’s race. UCLA transfer Robert Brandt, who raced in the Pac-12 Championships the past two seasons at Cal, has a pair of top-10 finishes at major national races this fall and should also contend at the front.
- Arizona Cross Country
- Arizona State Cross Country
- California Cross Country
- Colorado Cross Country
- Oregon Cross Country
- Oregon State Cross Country
- Stanford Cross Country
- UCLA Cross Country
- USC Cross Country
- Utah Cross Country
- Washington Cross Country
- Washington State Cross Country
- Pac-12 Cross Country Championships
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- Cross Country
- Pac-12 Conference
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