Saturday’s Pac-12 Cross-Country Championships featured the No. 1 teams in the country for both the men and women, and each squad justified its top ranking.
The Colorado men and the Arizona women convincingly won their respective races, while Oregon’s freshman phenom Edward Cheserek captured the men’s individual crown.
The top-ranked Buffaloes dominated the men’s field, as they placed their top-five scorers in the top nine overall. Blake Theroux, Connor Winter and Ben Saarel finished 3-4-5 in the 8,000-meter race, Pierce Murphy placed seventh and Ammar Moussa rounded out Colorado’s top five in ninth.
The Oregon men finished second to Colorado in the team scoring and were led by Cheserek, who took home the individual honors. Cheserek ran with the front pack for the majority of the race before distancing himself from the field over the final 2,000 meters to win in 24:36. Stanford’s Jim Rosa took second in 24:42.
Seniors Parker Stinson and Mac Fleet were the next Oregon finishers. Stinson placed sixth overall with a time of 24:56, and Fleet edged out Stanford’s Erik Olson for 10th in 25:23. Freshman Jake Leingang ran 25:37, good for 16th overall, and French transfer Tanguy Pepiot finished 21st in 25:52 to round out Oregon’s top five. Daniel Winn finished 27th in 25:56, and Cole Watson was the 33rd overall finisher in 26:08.
On the women’s side, Arizona duked it out with Colorado, but the Wildcats ultimately came out on top with their top-heavy attack. Arizona placed three runners in the top six overall, as Elvin Kibet finished second and teammates Kayla Beattie and Nicci Corbin finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Arizona edged out Colorado 69-75 to capture its first Pac-12 championship in program history, and Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe took home the individual honors for the women, breaking the tape in 21:04.
The Oregon women finished fourth in the team standings and were once again led by Megan Patrignelli. The Oregon senior finished the 6,000-meter race 17th overall in 22:18 and has led the Ducks in all five of their races this season. Patrignelli was closely followed by teammates Abbey Leonardi (21st, 22:25), Maggie Schmaedick (22nd, 22:26), Annie Leblanc (25th, 22:31) and Lindsay Crevoiserat (28th, 22:37). Maria Elbon finished in 35th in 22:51 and Molly Grabill followed in 37th in 22:52. Oregon’s top five women were separated by just 19 seconds but were edged out by Washington for third place by a score of 111-113.
On Nov. 15, the Ducks will travel to Sacramento, Calif., to compete in the NCAA West Regional, where the top two teams for both the men and women will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships the following weekend.
Follow Chris Mosch on Twitter @chris_mosch