EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon will send some of its younger runners to compete that Beaver Classic Saturday at Avery Park in Corvallis, Ore. The women's 6,000 meter race gets underway at 9:45 a.m., while the men's 8,000 meter competition goes off at 10:45.
Teams in action on Saturday include Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Portland State and Seattle University, among other colleges from the region.
For Oregon, the Beaver Classic could mark the varsity cross country debuts of a number of runners. For the women, Laura Roesler, Phyllis Francis, Camilla Dencer, Devin Gosberry and Lyndsay Pearson could all make their first forays off the track, while the men could look to redshirt freshman Colby Alexander for the first time in a Oregon singlet.
The men will also feature a number of experienced runners in the race, including seniors Chris Kwiatkowski and Travis Stanford, junior Bryce Burgess, sophomores Tim Costin, Mitch Hunt and Hank Morrison and redshirt freshmen Boru Guyota and Daniel Winn.
For the women, senior Bronwyn Crossman and junior Taylor Wallace will pace the rookies through the course.
BEAVER CLASSIC WOMEN'S RACE
Time: 9:45 a.m. PDT
Length: 6,000 Meters
Teams: Oregon, Oregon State, Oregon Tech, Portland, Portland State, Seattle, Southern Oregon.
Oregon Entries: While veterans Bronwyn Crossman and Taylor Wallace should lead the Ducks this weekend, look for a number of runners to make their cross country debuts. That list includes redshirt freshmen Laura Roesler and Phyllis Francis, junior Devin Gosberry and seniors Camilla Dencer and Lyndsay Pearson. Roesler won a pair of North Dakota state cross country titles in high school.
BEAVER CLASSIC MEN'S RACE
Time: 10:45 a.m. PDT
Length: 8,000 Meters
Teams: Oregon, Oregon Tech, Portland, Portland State, Seattle, Southern Oregon.
Oregon Entries: Watch for redshirt freshman Colby Alexander to make his varsity debut on Saturday. Other Ducks in the race include seniors Chris Kwiatkowski and Travis Stanford, junior Bryce Burgess, sophomores Tim Costin, Mitch Hunt and Hank Morrison and redshirt freshmen Boru Guyota and Daniel Winn.
In the last half century, no other conference can match the league's combined 19 NCAA men's and women's team championships in cross country.
Combined NCAA Team Titles by Conference, 1958-present
19 Pacific-10 Conference
14 Big East Conference
13 Southeastern Conference
10 Big XII
9 Conference USA
8 Big Ten
The championships season begins next week at the Pac-12 meet Oct. 29 at Arizona State. That will be followed by the NCAA West Regional Nov. 12 at Stanford and the NCAA Championships Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE TEAMS
The Ducks return eight talented letterwinners, including 2010 Pac-10 champion and NCAA third-place finisher Jordan Hasay, for the 2011 season. That's the good news for Oregon.
On the flip side, the 2010 season saw the closest conference race in league history, where the top four teams finished within six points of each other, and now 2011 welcomes distance power Colorado into the mix for the inaugural Pac-12 Championships.
It means that Oregon will need all of that talent and depth to once again challenge at the conference and national levels.
Hasay, a junior from Arroyo Grande, Calif., had a dynamite sophomore season both on and off the track. She was named the Pac-10's cross country runner of the year, and her third-place showing at the NCAA meet last fall was the best by a Duck in nearly 30 years.
She'll lead a team that will have to overcome the graduation of two-time All-American Alex Kosinski and NCAA veteran Zoe Buckman.
Stepping up behind Hasay will be sophomore Lanie Thompson, who was the team's most consistent runner behind Hasay and Kosinski in 2010, including a 16th-place finish at the Pac-10 meet.
Oregon also has NCAA veterans in seniors Bronwyn Crossman and Claire Michel, junior Anne Kesselring and sophomore Sarah Andrews, while juniors Becca Friday and Taylor Wallace both have Pac-10 cross country championships experience.
The women also to look to be able to add depth from a pair of talented distance newcomers in freshmen Molly Grabill (Poway, Calif.) and Allie Woodward (Green Bay, Wis.).
There are also middle distance runners Phyllis Francis (Laurelton, N.Y.), Megan Patrignelli (Monroe, N.Y.) and Laura Roesler (Fargo, N.D.), who all redshirted the 2010 season, on the roster, as well as true freshman Claudia Francis (Laurelton, N.Y.).
The Ducks have also added senior transfer Kimber Mattox to the roster. The Bend, Ore., native was a Division III cross country All-American as a junior in 2010 for Willamette University.
Senior Luke Puskedra figures to lead a talented group of youngsters into the 2011 cross country season.
Puskedra, from Ogden, Utah, had his finest season as a Duck in 2010 as he finished third at the NCAA Championships and fourth at the Pac-10 Championships. He should again be positioned for a high finish at the conference and national meets.
Beyond Puskedra, the Ducks will largely be a team of freshmen and sophomores who will look to fill a number of openings left by the graduation of All-Americans A.J. Acosta, Matthew Centrowitz and Danny Mercado.
There are some experienced runners on the team, such as senior Chris Kwiatkowski who finished 24th at the Pac-10 Championships in 2010, as well as junior Bryce Burgess, a two-time Pac-10 competitor and a 2010 NCAA West Regional qualifier.
But the bulk of the team will be youngsters. Sophomores Ben DeJarnette, from Mechanicsville, Va., and Parker Stinson, from Austin, Texas, both ran in all three championship races for the Ducks as freshmen in 2010.
Fellow sophomore Brian Shrader was also a Pac-10 and NCAA championships performer last fall. Sophomore Mac Fleet redshirted the 2010 cross country season but was a Pac-10 competitor in 2009. Sophomore Mitchell Hunt also was a Pac-10 qualifier in 2010.
Oregon will have a bounty of freshmen and redshirt freshmen competing for roster spots. Highly touted newcomer Lukas Verzbicas (Orland Park, Ill.) leads that list. Other true freshmen to watch include Chris Brewer (Vista, Calif.), Jeramy Elkaim (Livingston, N.J.), Russell Hornsby (Williamsburg, Va.), Matthew Jablonski (Cockeysville, Md.), Matt Melancon (Eugene, Ore.), Chad Noelle (Greene, N.Y.) and Ryan Pickering (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
The redshirt freshmen include Colby Alexander (Strongsville, Ohio), Boru Guyota (Portland, Ore.), Cole Watson (Rogue River, Ore.) and Daniel Winn (Portland, Ore.).
In recent seasons, the men have experienced success on a national level rarely seen in Track Town, USA. Oregon won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008, and followed that with a runner-up finish in 2009. Those results harken back to the era of the legendary Steve Prefontaine, when the Ducks won national titles in 1971, 1973 and 1974, were second in 1970 and third in 1972.
TRACK TOWN, USA, HERITAGE
The last three years have certainly lived up to the heritage established by the legends of Track Town, USA. In 18 NCAA championships and 12 Pac-10 championships, the Men and Women of Oregon have won 11 championships and another 12 silver medals.
- www.GoDucks.com -