TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Third-place finishes from Luke Puskdera and Jordan Hasay highlighted Oregon's 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships on a windy Monday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.
Hasay was third in the women's race in 20:13.0, while Puskedra took third in the men's championship in 29:38.0.
"What a terrific couple of individual performances from Jordan Hasay and Luke Puskedra," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "Those two were just spectacular today."
Hasay's finish was the best by an Oregon woman in nearly 20 years. Lisa Karnoop was third at the 1991 championships. The only Duck to finish higher was Leann Warren who was the 1981 runner-up.
"It was crazy," said the sophomore from Arroyo Grande, Calif. "I tried to get behind people blocking the wind.
"Right after 3K, I kind of felt it and I just tried to suck it up for the last (kilometer)," she said. "I gave it everything I had; no regrets. I just like to win."
In the team competition, the men were sixth with 289 points, while the women took 12th with 378.
Both teams earned a pair of All-America awards, with Matthew Centrowitz finishing 10th on the men's side in 30:01.1 and Alex Kosinski taking 19th in the women's race in 20:32.6.
With winds blowing 15 to 20 miles an hour for the women's 6,000 meter race, Hasay and Kosinski were in the lead pack at the halfway point along with eventual NCAA champion Shelia Reid of Villanova, Emily Infeld of Georgetown and Risper Kimaiyo of Texas-El Paso.
Hasay, Reid and Infeld broke away from the pack heading into the final 1,000 meters, and then Hasay briefly took the lead around the final turn. Reid countered and Infeld followed as Reid helped Villanova defend it's NCAA title by winning in 20:06.9. Infeld was second in 20:09.2.
The Wildcats won the women's title with 120 points, followed by Florida State with 154 and Texas Tech with 165.
In addition to Hasay and Kosinski, the Ducks also counted an 81st place finish from senior Zoe Buckman in 21:11.5, a 168th place finish from junior Claire Michel in 21;54.0 and a 207th place finish from freshman Lanie Thompson in 22:18.9.
Later in the afternoon with the wind howling over 20 miles an hour for the men's 10,000 meter race, Puskedra and Centrowitz started strong and maintained touch with the leaders throughout in their best NCAA races.
Halfway through the race, Puskedra and Sam Chelanga or Liberty and Stephen Sambu of Arizona broke from the pack, with Chelanga and Sambu pulling about 20 meters ahead of Puskedra.
The three stayed that way until the final few hundred meters, when Sambu broke to the lead, but Chelanga covered and pulled away for his second straight NCAA title in 29:33.2. Sambu was next win 29:26.5.
"It's like the super bowl of cross country," said Puskedra, whose previous best NCAA finish was fifth as a freshman in 2008. "I was nervous for the beginning.
"The wind made it really tough," said the junior from Ogden, Utah. "From the team aspect, it hurts because we do everything as a team. On an individual level, it was great to know my freshman year wasn't a fluke."
Oklahoma State placed three runners in the top nine to defend their team title with 73 points. Florida State was a surprise in second with 193, followed by Wisconsin with 223, Stanford with 237, Oklahoma with 281 and Oregon with 289.
In addition to Puskedra and Centrowitz, the men also got a 61st place showing from senior Danny Mercado (30:41.5), a 121st place finish from freshman Parker Stinson (31:21.6) and a 161st place finish from senior A.J. Acosta in 31:42.0.
"The guys might have went out too fast into the wind, but that's the only way we know how to run," said Lananna. "I've not seen it this windy for a race. If you pressed it in the beginning, you paid for it in the end."