Hicks Wins Pac-12 Title
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Charles Hicks became the eighth conference champion in Stanford men's cross country history.
Hicks, a freshman in eligibility, pulled away from Oregon's Cooper Teare with 300 meters left to win the 8-kilometer (4.97-mile) Pac-12 championship race at the Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex on Friday. Hicks was clocked in 23:34.9 and won by nine seconds.
Stanford placed three in the top eight – with Ky Robinson fourth and Cole Sprout eighth -- and finished second with 52 points, to Colorado's 39. The Stanford men finished among the top three teams at conference for the 27th consecutive season.
The Cardinal women welcomed the return of Pac-12 5,000-meter track champion Julia Heymach, who made her season debut, and were fifth with 120 points. Zofia Dudek placed 10th to lead the Cardinal over the 6-kilometer (3.73-mile) flat course and Heymach and Christina Aragon were the team's No. 2 and No. 3 runners, in 25th and 26th.
Zofia Dudek. Photo by Chuck Aragon.
Hicks was Stanford's first men's champ since Grant Fisher captured back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. Previous Cardinal winners were Marc Olesen (1985), Jonathon Riley (2000), Grant Robison (2001, 2002), Ian Dobson (2003), Chris Derrick (2009), and Elliot Heath (2010).
"I'm going to be honest, if you're right with Cooper Teare with 300 meters to go, that's not exactly where you want to be," Hicks said. "I was confident in the training and in the reps I've been able to do with these guys day in and day out, so I trusted the legs, trusted my coach and left it all on the homestretch. I'm just happy to have come away with the win."
Midway through the men's race, Stanford had four of the top eight, with Devin Hart running tough in the front pack, which began to splinter as the race continued.
A six-man pack still held three Cardinal, and then it became three – Hicks, Teare, and defending champion Eduardo Herrera of Colorado.
A year ago, Herrera and Hicks ran a two-man race before Herrera outlasted Hicks down the stretch while Teare and Oregon focused on indoor track, a season concurrent with the cross country in the COVID-influenced 2020-21 season.
With three together, Herrera was the first to fall off, leaving Hicks and Teare to battle side by side over the final kilometer. Though many knew of Teare, the reigning NCAA 5,000 champion, it was Hicks, the reigning Pac-12 10,000 champ, who made the decisive move. And Teare was unable to respond as Hicks won going away.
"Coming in second as a rookie was way more than I could have expected last year, and I was blown away by that result," Hicks said. "But you never really want to get the same result twice in this sport, because it's all about progress. I was going for first, that's all I wanted to do. That's all I was focused on."
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At Regional Athletic Complex
Men (8K, 4.97 miles)
Team scores – 1, Colorado 39; 2, Stanford 52; 3, Washington 68; 4, Oregon 72; 5, Washington State 146; 6, UCLA 190; 7, Arizona State 205; 8, California 208; Arizona, Inc.
Winner and Stanford – 1, Charles Hicks (Stanford) 23:34.9; 4, Ky Robinson (Stanford) 23:47.4; 8, Cole Sprout (Stanford) 23:57.9; 15, Devin Hart (Stanford) 24:14.7; 26, Liam Anderson (Stanford) 24:50.7; 35, Nolan Topper (Stanford) 25:15.2; 40, Joshua Schumacher (Stanford) 25:28.3; 42, Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau (Stanford) 25:30.2; 51, Nick Feffer (Stanford) 25:49.4; 57, Caleb Boutelle (Stanford) 26:12.9.
Women (6K, 3.73 miles)
Team scores – 1, Colorado 24; 2, Utah 52; 3, Oregon 92; 4, Washington 107; 5, Stanford 120; 6, Oregon State 156; 7, Washington State 179; 8, UCLA 130; 9, California 265; 10, Arizona State 299; 11, USC 332; 12, Arizona 343.
Winner and Stanford – 1, Abby Nichols (Colorado) 20:25.4; 10, Zofia Dudek (Stanford) 21:03.3; 25, Julia Heymach (Stanford) 21:34.0; 26, Christina Aragon (Stanford) 21:36.6; 32, Lily Flynn (Stanford) 21:45.8; 33, Grace Connolly (Stanford) 21:46.4; 39, Audrey Suarez (Stanford) 21:57.1; 53, Lucy Jenks (Stanford) 22:28.1; 71, Tori Starcher (Stanford) 23:17.6.