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Pac-12 programs primed for runs at 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships

Nov 19, 2021
Jonathan Wang/Utah Athletics

MEET CENTRAL // LIVE RESULTS // ESPNU // PAC-12 NCAA HISTORY (PDF)

SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 will enter a total of nine teams along with two individuals for the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Cross Country Championships hosted by Florida State this Saturday morning at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Pac-12 enters the first NCAA Championships of the 2021-22 season with a national-best 537 all-time team national championships, including a record 29 combined men’s & women’s cross country crowns. The Pac-12 captured eight NCAA team titles in 2020-21, marking the 16th consecutive year and 55th time in the past 61 years that the Conference of Champions led the country in NCAA crowns.

2021 NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S & WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, November 20, 2021 - Tallahassee, Fla.
Apalachee Regional Park

RACE SCHEDULE
Women's 6k race: 7:20 a.m. PT/10:20 a.m. ET
Men's 10k race: 8:10 a.m. PT/11:10 a.m. ET

LIVE COVERAGE
TV: ESPNU
Results: Prime Time Timing
Meet Central

COURSE DESCRIPTION
The Apalachee Regional Park cross country course, developed by the Leon County Recreation Department in collaboration with Florida State University athletics and the local Gulf Winds Track Club, was designed with the sport in mind. A series of trails and loops allows for competition to be contested over a wide range of race lengths.

The predominant running surfaces are grass and crushed shell. The width of the course ranges from approximately 150 meters at the starting line and is significantly wider than 25 meters through the first 800 meters, where it narrows to 15 meters at the 1,000-meter mark. The course exceeds the NCAA Championships 10-meter width requirement at all points through the finish chute.

COLLEGIATE COURSE RECORDS
Women’s 6K: 19:17.0 - Colleen Quigley, Florida State, 2014 NCAA South Regional
Men’s 10K: 29:49.5 - Gilbert Kigen, Alabama, 2019 NCAA South Regional
Course Records (PDF)

NCAA MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - PAC-12 PREVIEW
PAC-12 TEAM AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS
Stanford - West Regional Champions (30th NCAA appearance, 28th consecutive)
Washington - West Regional Runners-up (19th NCAA appearance, fifth consecutive)

PAC-12 TEAM AT-LARGE QUALIFIERS (Regional finish)
Colorado - 3rd at Mountain Regional (51st NCAA appearance, 30th consecutive)
Oregon - 4th at West Regional (45th NCAA appearance)

PAC-12 INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Amir Ado, Jr., Washington State - 13th at West Regional

For the seventh time in eight seasons, the Pac-12 will boast at least four team representatives at the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The quartet will be racing for the league’s 17th all-time national title and first since Colorado went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014.

All four of the league’s programs enter the meet ranked in the top 20 in the latest USTFCCCA poll in No. 5 Colorado, No. 7 Stanford, No. 12 Washington and No. 20 Oregon, which is the most of any conference. However, the foursome as well as the rest of the 31-team field will be aiming to track down Northern Arizona, which has won four of the past five NCAA titles and been the nation’s No. 1 team all season. The Lumberjacks will be looking to become the first program to win five national championships in a six-year span since Arkansas (1990-95).

Coming off an eighth Pac-12 title in 11 seasons in the Conference and a third-place NCAA Mountain Regional finish, Colorado is No. 5 in the country and will be seeking its first podium finish since 2018 (fourth), as well as a sixth all-time NCAA crown.

No. 7 Stanford, the Pac-12's top team (fifth) at the 2020 NCAA meet contested this past March, enters Saturday on the heels of its first NCAA West Regional crown since 2016. The Cardinal edged Washington, 61-66, at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento on Nov. 12. Stanford is going for a fifth all-time national title along with a fifth podium showing in eight seasons.

No. 12 Washington enters the field as an automatic qualifier following its runner-up finish at the NCAA West Regional last weekend, where Kieran Lumb became UW's second ever and second consecutive regional champion (Andrew Jordan - 2019). Regional meets were canceled last season due to the pandemic. The Huskies were No. 13 in the season's first five polls, dropped to No. 26 on Oct. 19 and are now at a season-best No. 12 following its Pac-12 Championships (third) and NCAA West Regional performances.

Six-time NCAA champion No. 20 Oregon is in the field via an at-large selection after a fourth-place regional finish. The Ducks are in search of their first cross country national championship since 2008.

Led by 2021 Pac-12 champion Charles Hicks, six former All-Americans are set to race in the NCAA field:
Eduardo Herrera, Colorado (2017)
Charles Hicks, Stanford (2020)
Alec Hornecker, Colorado (2019)
Tibebu Proctor, Washington (2018)
Cole Sprout, Stanford (2020)
Cooper Teare, Oregon (2019)

NCAA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - PAC-12 PREVIEW
PAC-12 TEAM AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS
Stanford - West Regional Champions (34th NCAA appearance, 29th consecutive)
Colorado - Mountain Regional Runners-up (31st NCAA appearance, 13th consecutive)
Washington - West Regional Runners-up (28th NCAA appearance, 15th consecutive)

PAC-12 TEAM AT-LARGE QUALIFIERS (Regional finish)
Oregon - 3rd at West Regional (32nd NCAA appearance)
Utah - 5th at Mountain Regional (fourth NCAA appearance)

PAC-12 INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
Kaylee Mitchell, R-So., Oregon State - 12th at West Regional

No. 3 nationally ranked Colorado headlines the Pac-12’s pack of five women’s teams entered to compete for the NCAA Cross Country Championship this weekend. It marks the 12th time in 13 seasons at least five Pac-12 women’s programs advanced to compete at the NCAA Championships.

Each of the Pac-12’s five NCAA entrants appear in the latest USTFCCCA national rankings. Following Colorado is No. 14 Utah, No. 16 Stanford, No. 23 Washington and No. 26 Oregon. The Conference's five ranked teams are tied with the ACC for the most among all leagues.

The Buffs have won three of their last four meets this season, capturing titles at the Cowboy Jamboree (Sept. 18), Pre-Nationals at the site of Saturday's championships (Oct. 15), and the Pac-12 Championships (Oct. 29) with the best score (24) for a Conference champion since 2008. CU held out some runners at last weekend's NCAA Mountain Regional, but did enough to finish second and secure an automatic bid. Colorado boasts the Conference's most recent NCAA team (2018) and individual (Dani Jones - 2018) champions. 

No. 14 Utah is making its fourth NCAA appearance in the past seven seasons via an at-large berth after a fifth-place showing at the NCAA Mountain Regional. The Utes also ran without a handful of competitors last weekend, including Emily Venters, who was third at the Pac-12 Championships in late October and led Utah to a program-best second-place team finish. Utah was a program-best 16th in its most recent NCAA appearance in 2019.

No. 16 Stanford was one of the polls biggest movers, jumping 10 spots following its NCAA West Regional title, the program's 17th overall and second in a row. Julia Heymach won the individual crown to secure the Cardinal's 10th individual women's regional title and become the school's seventh different titlist. Stanford's five women's NCAA championships are tied for the second-most all-time with its last coming in 2007. The Cardinal has finished in the top five of each of the past five national championship races.

The NCAA West Regional runner-up and No. 23 Huskies will be making their 15th consecutive and 28th all-time NCAA appearance. UW placed 13th at the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships held eight months ago in Oklahoma and were led by an All-America finish from Allie Schadler (26th).

No. 26 OREGON finished behind Stanford and Washington and the West Regional to earn an at-large bid for its 32nd all-time NCAA appearance.

The Pac-12 quartet of Stanford (five), Oregon (four), Colorado (three) and Washington (one) have combined for 13 national titles, the most of any conference in the country.

Led by 2021 Pac-12 champion Abby Nichols, five former All-Americans are set to race in the NCAA field:
Christina Aragon, Stanford (2016)
Julia Heymach, Stanford (2020)
Kaylee Mitchell, Oregon State (2020)
Abby Nichols, Colorado (2020)
Allie Schadler, Washington (2020)

The Pac-12 is the winningest conference in NCAA Cross Country history, as current league members boast:

  • A national-best 29 NCAA Cross Country team titles (16 men, second-best among conferences & 13 women, most among conferences)
  • A national-best 29 NCAA Cross Country individual titles (25 men, most of any conference/4 women)
  • 34 NCAA Cross Country runner-up team finishes (19 men/15 women)

Since expanding to the Pac-12 in 2011, the league has produced the most competitive and successful NCAA teams and individuals in the country, highlighted by:

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

  • 2 NCAA men’s team national champions, the second-most of any conference.
  • 16 Top 5 men’s team finishes at NCAA Championship, the most of any conference.
  • 4 NCAA men’s individual national champions, the most of any conference.
  • 77 men’s All-Americans, the most of any conference. The ACC is second with 46.
  • The most or tied for the most men’s All-Americans in seven of last 10 years, highlighted by seven in 2011, seven in 2013, 15 in 2014, 12 in 2015, nine in 2016, eight in 2018 and seven in 2019.
  • 49 men’s NCAA Championship participant teams, tied with the ACC for the most of any conference.
  • The most men’s NCAA Championship participant teams in 2014 (five), 2015 (league-record seven), 2016 (six), 2017 (six) and 2018 (four).

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

  • 3 NCAA women’s team national champions, the most of any conference.
  • 19 Top 5 women’s team finishes at NCAA Championship, the most of any conference.
  • 91 women’s All-Americans, the most of any conference. The ACC is second with 46.
  • The most or tied for the most women’s All-Americans in eight of last 10 years, highlighted by 10 in 2011, 11 in 2012, seven in 2013, 10 in 2016, 14 in 2017, 13 in 2018, seven in 2019 and seven in 2020.
  • 57 women’s NCAA Championship participant teams, the most of any conference.
  • The women’s NCAA Championship participant teams in 2011 (seven), 2012 (five), 2015 (five) and 2016 (six).