O'Keeffe, Klecker lead Stanford, Colorado to Pac-12 Cross Country titles
MONMOUTH, Ore. – The No. 2 ranked STANFORD women and No. 3 COLORADO men rolled to commanding victories at the 2019 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships at Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Ore., on Friday. Cardinal senior Fiona O’Keeffe and Buffaloes senior Joe Klecker captured their first Conference individual titles to spark their teams to victory.
Klecker – who was 19th during CU’s most recent team title in 2016, runner-up in 2017 and fifth last fall – separated over the final 1,000 meters of the eight-kilometer race to post a three-second victory over OREGON’s Cooper Teare. His triumph along with top-10 finishes from freshman Kashon Harrison (seventh) and senior John Dressel (eighth) helped the Buffaloes to 41 points and their seventh team title in nine seasons since joining the Conference. Klecker is the first Pac-12 men’s individual champion for Colorado, while Dressel collected his fourth career top-10 finish at the Conference meet.
Teare and fellow top-10 finisher James West (ninth) guided No. 16 Oregon to second with 57 points for its best Championships showing since 2014. No. 3 Stanford placed third with 69 points behind top-10 racers Alex Ostberg (fourth) and Thomas Ratcliffe (sixth). No. 10 UCLA also landed a pair in the top 10 in Robert Brandt (fifth) and Garrett Reynolds (10th) for fourth with 84 points, while third-place individual Andrew Jordan paced No. 7 WASHINGTON to fifth with 87 points.
O’Keeffe, who placed fifth in 2018 and seventh in 2017, led from the start to engineer a 1-2-3 finish ahead of junior teammates Ella Donaghu and Jessica Lawson as Stanford claimed its first women’s team title since 2010. It also marked the Cardinal’s Conference-leading 16th all-time women’s crown.
The Cardinal’s victorious 27 points – which included a fourth top-10 showing from junior Jordan Oakes (eighth) – tied for the fifth-fewest in the 34-year history of the women’s Championship and were the fewest since Washington’s record-setting mark of 15 in 2008.
No. 3 Washington, led by senior Katie Rainsberger (fourth) and freshman Melany Smart (fifth), came in second with 55 points. It marked Rainsberger’s third top-10 at the Pac-12 meet after a runner-up showing in 2017 and fifth in 2016.
No. 16 UTAH put three in the top 10 – Poppy Tank (sixth), Bella Williams (seventh) and Sarah Feeny (10th) – en route to 86 points and third place for its best finish in Pac-12 history (fifth – 2015, 2016). Defending NCAA champion and No. 5 ranked Colorado came in fourth with 89 points, and 2018 Pac-12 champion and No. 20 Oregon finished fifth with 115 points.
Pac-12 teams, including 10 nationally ranked programs, now set their sights on NCAA Regional competition on Friday, Nov. 15, with the West Regional hosted by Washington State at Colfax Golf Club in Colfax, Wash., and Mountain Regional hosted by Utah at Rose Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City.
The 2019 NCAA Championships will take place in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23, with the Pac-12 seeking to add to its national-best totals of 29 combined team crowns and 29 combined individual titles.