EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon's women's cross country team concludes the 2011 season with its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Championships, Monday, Nov. 21, at the LaVern Gibson Championships Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Luke Puskedra will also be travelling to Terre Haute for the men's championships.
The men's 10,000 meter race opens the day at 9:08 a.m. PST (12:08 p.m. EST), with the women's 6,000 meter race following at 9:58 a.m. PST (12:58 p.m. EST). The 2011 NCAA Championships will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.ncaa.com.
The women earned an at-large bid out the deep West Region; the Ducks were one of a championships-leading seven teams to come out of the West. Oregon, ranked 16th nationally, will be led by NCAA West Regional individual champion Jordan Hasay. The junior from Arroyo Grande, Calif., became the first Duck to win consecutive West Region titles Nov. 12 at Stanford, and finished third at the NCAA Championships a year ago.
The Ducks also have a fairly experienced team with seniors Bronwyn Crossman and Claire Michel, junior Anne Kesselring and sophomore Lanie Thompson all having previously run at the NCAA meet, in addition to Hasay. This will be the third NCAA appearance for Hasay, Michel and Kesselring and the second for Crossman and Thompson.
On the men's side, Puskedra looks to be one of a number of contenders for the individual title. He finished third at the 2010 NCAA Championships and a week ago, was sixth at the West Regional at Stanford.
DUCKS AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Women: Oregon has won this event twice, in 1983 and 1987, and has been the runner-up on five other occasions (1979, 1981, 1988, 2007, 2008). UO is one of only seven schools that has won the national title more than one time. Oregon has produced 14 top-10 individual finishes at the NCAA Championships, including Jordan Hasay's third place showing a year ago. That was the best finish by a Duck since Lisa Karnopp ran third in 1991. The best individual finish by an Oregon woman was second by Leann Warren in 1981.
Men: An Oregon individual has won this race on five occasions: Steve Prefontaine, only of only three, three-time NCAA cross country champions, won in 1970-71 and 1973. Alberto Salazar was the 1978 champion and Galen Rupp was the 2008 winner.
NCAA THREE DOT NOTES
* The Oregon women are making their fifth straight NCAA Championships appearance and 22nd overall.
* The Ducks' five consecutive NCAA bids are the most since making six straight appearances between 1990-95.
* Of the Ducks' previous 21 appearances, nine resulted in trophies (top-four finishes): 2 championships, 4 runner-up finishes, 1 third and two fourths. Oregon also has 15 top-10 finishes in those 21 appearances.
* Oregon finished 12th at the 2011 meet, ending a string of three straight top-10 finishes.
* The 2011 Women's Indoor Track & Field title was the 18th NCAA championship in school history. The others are men's outdoor track & field in 1962, 1964, 1965, 1970 and 1984, women's outdoor track & field in 1985, men's indoor track & field in 2009, women's indoor track & field in 2010, men's cross country in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 2007 and 2008, women's cross country in 1983 and 1987, and men's basketball in 1939. Oregon's acrobatics and tumbling team also won the NCATA national title in 2011.
HASAY WINS SECOND STRAIGHT USTFCCCA WOMEN'S WEST REGION RUNNER OF THE YEAR
NCAA West Regional champion Jordan Hasay won her second straight USTFCCCA Women's West Region Athlete of the Year honors, the organization announced on Wednesday.
The junior from Arroyo Grande, Calif., became the first Duck to win back-to-back NCAA West titles in school history when she took the race in 19:44 last Saturday at Stanford. This fall, Hasay was also third at the 2011 Pac-12 Championships and opened the season by placing second at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
Duck runners have now won three of three of the last four West Region athlete of the year honors. Alexandra Kosinski was the 2008 winner.
The LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center was dedicated on October 17, 1997. The land for the course was donated by LaVern Gibson for the development of the facility. Indiana State and Boston Celtic basketball star Larry Bird made a donation to the facility in honor of his father, Joe Bird, and the donation was matched by Max and Greg Gibson in the name of their father and grandfather respectively. The 240 acres of land is a reclaimed coal mine and includes the cross country course, softball, soccer and football fields and an indoor facility.
The women complete one lap on the winding and undulating 6,000 meter course, while the men will run two circuits for their 10,000 meters. The women will navigate approximately 12 turns, while the men will cover approximately 22 of them. Most of the course is grass, with a number of gentle drops and rises in elevation, before a long, uphill grind to the finish line.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS MEN'S RACE
Time: 9:08 a.m. PST (12:08 p.m. EST)
Length: 10,000 Meters
Live Webcast: www.ncaa.com
Results: www.goducks.com and www.ncaa.com
Oregon Entry: Luke Puskedra returns to Terre Haute for his fourth NCAA Cross Country race. He is a three-time All-American in cross country, having finished fifth as a freshman (2008), 21st as a sophomore (2009) and third as a junior (2010). The men's individual race should be an interesting battle with Arizona freshman Lawi Lalang, Leonard Korir of Iona, 2011 Dellinger Invitational champion Cameron Levins of Southern Utah, Miles Batty of BYU and Puskedra, not to mention a host of runners from Wisconsin, Colorado, Stanford and Oklahoma State, looking to lead the pack.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS WOMEN'S RACE
Time: 9:58 a.m. PST (12:58 p.m. EST)
Length: 6,000 Meters
Live Webcast: www.ncaa.com
Results: www.goducks.com and www.ncaa.com.
Teams (31): Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boston College, Brigham Young, California, Colorado, Florida State, Georgetown, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, San Francisco, Stanford, Syracuse, Texas, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Villanova (two-time defending champion), Virginia, Washington, Weber State, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
Oregon Entries: The Duck women have junior Jordan Hasay, the 2011 NCAA West Regional champion, leading the way. Oregon also has seniors Bronwyn Crossman and Claire Michel, juniors Becca Friday, Anne Kesselring, Sarah Penney and Taylor Wallace, sophomores Sarah Andrews and Lanie Thompson and freshmen Molly Grabill, Megan Patrignelli and Allie Woodward among its entries.
NCAA Championships: This will be the third NCAA appearances for senior Claire Michel and juniors Jordan Hasay and Anne Kesselring, as well as the second appearances for senior Bronwyn Crossman sophomore Lanie Thompson.
Individual Notes: The top five individuals from the 2010 NCAA Championships return for the 2011 race. That list includes 2010 champion Shelia Reid of Villanova and 2010 national runner-up Emily Infeld of Georgetown, as well as Hasay, Risper Kimaiyo of Texas-El Paso and Rose Tanui of Texas Tech. Others to watch include Pac-12 Champion Katie Flood of Washington, among a number of Huskies, as well as a handful of runners from Florida State, Colorado and Stanford.
Each team is allowed seven runners. Of those, the top five account for the team score and the next two may displace runners from opposing teams.
VIN LANANNA AT THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Seventh year Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna has an unmatched track record at the Pacific-10/12 cross country championships. His charges at Oregon, and previously Stanford, have produced 18 team titles and 11 individual winners. The 2010 championships added another women's medalist, Jordan Hasay to Lananna's legacy.
Lananna's Pac-10 Title Runs (Oregon/Stanford)
Men's Team Titles - 9 (Stanford 1996, '97, '98, '00, '01, '02; Oregon 2006, '07, '08)
Women's Team Titles - 9 (Stanford 1993, '94, '96, '97, '98, '99, '00, '01, '02)
Men's Individual Titles - 6 (Stanford 2000, '01, 03; Oregon 2006, '07, '08)
Women's Individual Titles - 5 (Stanford 1999, '01, '02; Oregon 2009, '10)
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
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.
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