LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Edward Cheserek etched himself into the Oregon history books becoming the first freshman ever to claim a Pac-12 cross country championship title. The freshman from Kenya by way of Newark, N.J., paced the No. 4 ranked Men of Oregon to a second-place finish with 54 points behind Colorado’s 28 at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships Saturday at Coal Creek Golf Course in Louisville, Colo. Megan Patrignelli led the 12th-ranked Women of Oregon for the fifth-straight time as the Ducks finished fourth.
“Our men's team ran tough,” head coach Robert Johnson said. “I was really impressed with how they stuck together and helped each other out, especially over the last two kilometers when things can start to spread out a bit. We had three guys finish in the top-10, which is really outstanding.”
Cheserek’s first-place finish time of 24:36 marked his fourth top-four this year. Parker Stinston recorded his second top-10 finish of the year with a sixth-place finish with a time of 24:56. In his second race of the year, Mac Fleet rounded out the top finishers for UO with a 10th-place mark of covering the 8,000 meter course in 25:23.
“I felt good during the day, so I just stayed with the pack of guys until the very end,” said Cheserek. “That is when you can make your move to the last of the race.”
“What a great job by Edward,” Johnson said. “With one kilometer to go it was like he was shot out of a cannon. I could not be more thrilled for him to win as a freshman.”
Also for the Ducks, Jake Leingang clocked in at 25:37 for 16th followed by Tanguy Pepiot at 25:52 for 21st. Daniel Winn, a junior from Portland, Ore., came in seconds behind Pepiot at 25:56 (27th) for the Ducks. Cole Watson, in his second race of the year, posted a time of 26:08 coming in 33rd.
The Buffs’ took the team title with five runners in the top-10 and was led by Blake Theroux who took third with a 24:47 time while Stanford came in at third with 79 points.
The Oregon women ran in a tight pack throughout the race with only 25 seconds separating the Duck’s top-five finishers.
Patrignelli, Oregon’s top finisher in every race this year, covered the 6,000 meter course in 22:18 finishing 17th while fellow Ducks Abbey Leonardi (22:25) and freshman Maggie Schmaedick (22:26) came in right behind one another for 21st and 22nd respectively.
“For Megan to lead us again after she had some mid-race struggles was really impressive,” said Johnson. “She's just a super-tough runner.”
Sophomore Annie Leblanc took 25th with a time of 22:31 in her second race of the year. Like Leblanc, Lindsay Crevoiserat ran in only her second race of the year finishing 28th with a mark of 22:37. Mia Elbon (35th) and Molly Grabill (37th) rounded things out for Oregon with times of 22:51 and 22:52 respectively.
“It was a real gutsy race by our women,” Johnson said. “We had to play to our strength and finish together as a pack. We finished with a 25 second spread between our first and fifth runner and feel like we can go back and retool a few things to improve in our next race.”
Top-ranked Arizona claimed the team Pac-12 championship with 69 points while No. 16 Colorado took second with 75 points and 13th-ranked Washington took third with 111 points just edging Oregon with 113.
Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe took the individual title clocking in at 21:04 ahead of Arizona’s Elvin Kibet (21:15).
The Ducks will now have a week off to regroup and prepare for the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento, Calif. on Friday, Nov. 15, at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.