Pac-12 to crown cross country champions this Friday in Oregon
SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference will crown its first champions of 2019-20 this Friday as OREGON STATE hosts the 2019 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships at Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Ore.
RACE SCHEDULE (All times PT)
9:30 a.m. - Championship course open
10:50 a.m. - National Anthem
10:55 a.m. - Men called to Start
11:05 a.m. - Men’s final instructions
11:10 a.m. - Men’s 8k Championship Race
11:45 a.m. - Men's awards ceremony
11:55 a.m. - Women called to Start
12:05 p.m. - Women’s final instructions
12:10 p.m. - Women’s 6k Championship Race
12:50 p.m. - Women's awards ceremony
For the third consecutive year, the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live on Friday, Nov. 1 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 and Tom Feuer.
Ash Creek Preserve – Monmouth, OR 97361 - Ash Creek Preserve, the first dedicated cross country course to host the Pac-12 Championships, will also host the 2019 and 2021 NCAA Division II West Regional Championships. The course is able to accommodate 500 athletes on the start with distances ranging from 2,000 to 12,000 meters. The course is fairly flat and features a mostly grass surface, some gravel, and no pavement. Spectator parking is recommended in campus Lot G behind McArthur Field and WOU's Sport Performance Center.
A year ago, the golden edition of the Pac-12 Men’s Cross Country Championships made its 26th all-time appearance at Stanford Golf Course. Now for the 51st staging of the event in 2019, and thanks to Mother Nature, the Pac-12 title meet will move to a new venue in Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Ore.
Due to springtime flooding at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, this year’s Championships move 20 miles north to be contested on a dedicated cross country course for the first time in event history.
"We’re appreciative of the administration at WOU for their flexibility and openness in allowing the Pac-12 and Oregon State to host the Conference’s Cross Country Championships at Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth,” said Teresa Gould, Senior Associate Commissioner for Sports Management & Institutional Services at the Pac-12 Conference. “We look forward to having our student-athletes from the most dominant distance running conference in the country showcase their skills and to have the Pac-12 Network highlight WOU’s championship-caliber course. It will be a fitting test to determine our champions and prepare our programs for postseason competition.”
Two-time defending champion STANFORD enters as the ever-so-slight favorite as the Cardinal are tied with COLORADO for No. 3 in the country, but possess 1-of-11 first-place votes in the latest USTFCCCA national poll. A Cardinal three-peat would give the program its 15th all-time Conference title, moving it one shy of OREGON’s record of 16, while a Buffaloes victory would mark their seventh crown in nine seasons since joining the Conference.
OREGON, UCLA and WASHINGTON have all appeared in the national top 10 this season and have a shot at halting lengthy team title droughts. The No. 7 Huskies have spent the entire season in the top 10, peaking at a program-best No. 3, and could capture just their second-ever league championship (1993). The No. 10 Bruins improved 10 spots in the latest poll and are seeking their first crown since 1981. The No. 16 Ducks enter with their lowest ranking since 2012 but are familiar with the course after winning the Ash Creek Invitational in September which they aim to translate into their first title since 2008.
The men’s individual race appears to be as open as it has been essentially since the turn of the decade. Three men have combined to win the last eight Conference crowns in Lawi Lalang (ARIZ, 2011-12), Edward Cheserek (ORE, 2013-16) and Grant Fisher (STAN, 2017-18).
This year, 10 who have finished in the top 10 of previous Pac-12 meets are poised to make runs at their first league title:
John Dressel, COLORADO - 2015 (6th), 2016 (6th), 2018 (8th)
Eduardo Herrera, COLORADO - 2017 (10th)
Joe Klecker, COLORADO - 2017 (2nd), 2018 (5th)
Cooper Teare, OREGON - 2017 (8th), 2018 (6th)
Steven Fahy, STANFORD - 2017 (3rd)
Alex Ostberg, STANFORD - 2017 (4th), 2018 (3rd)
Alek Parsons, STANFORD - 2018 (4th)
Thomas Ratcliffe, STANFORD - 2016 (8th)
Robert Brandt, UCLA - 2017 (6th)
Talon Hull, WASHINGTON - 2nd in 2018
Two of the nation’s hottest programs enter as favorites, but with the defending NCAA national champions, the reigning Pac-12 champions, a Mountain-region upstart and a host school in the midst of a program-best season all in the mix, the 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Cross Country Championships stand to be hotly contested.
STANFORD, which won its last Conference crown in 2010, assumed the mantle as league favorite after climbing two spots to No. 2 - its highest ranking since 2007 - in the most recent USTFCCCA poll after finishing runner-up to unanimous No. 1 Arkansas at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. Clipping at the Cardinal’s heels is No. 3 WASHINGTON, which jumped five places following its victory at the competitive Pre-National Invitational at Indiana State. The Huskies are in search of their first Conference crown since 2009.
COLORADO spent the opening four weeks of the season at No. 1 after winning last year’s NCAA title. The Buffaloes have since fallen to No. 5, but remain serious threats to win their fourth Pac-12 title in five years. No. 20 OREGON enters the meet as the defending league champion after unseating top-ranked and three-time incumbent Colorado last fall. The Ducks also won the Ash Creek Invitational in Monmouth in September.
UTAH made national noise earlier this season with a surprising victory at the Joe Piane Invitational, subsequently surging to a program-best No. 6 ranking, and the now No. 16 Utes will look to ride that momentum to a first Pac-12 title. Similarly, OREGON STATE secured its highest ranking in program history at No. 24 in the USTFCCCA Week 3 poll and will look to play spoiler as host.
Should recent history prove telling, then the race for the individual title could prove thrilling. Each of the past three individual races have been decided by less than 1.5 seconds, with Colorado’s Dani Jones claiming the last two crowns including the 2017 event by 1.2 seconds over runner-up Katie Rainsberger.
Rainsberger is slated to be 1-of-5 former top-10 finishers at prior Pac-12 meets in the field, 1-of-2 with multiple top 10s along with Stanford’s Fiona O’Keeffe:
Sage Hurta, COLORADO - 2017 (9th)
Tabor Scholl, COLORADO - 2018 (9th)
Fiona O’Keeffe, STANFORD - 2018 (5th), 2017 (7th)
Lilli Burdon, WASHINGTON - 2017 (6th)
Katie Rainsberger, WASHINGTON - 2017 (2nd), 2016 (5th)
This same quintet also earned NCAA All-America honors at the 2018 NCAA Championship - the third such recognition for Hurta, O’Keeffe and Rainsberger. Stanford’s Christina Aragon (2016) and California’s Brie Oakley (2017) are other former All-Americans slated to compete.