LOUISVILLE, Kentucky--Timing issues aside, the University of Oregon women and the Oklahoma State men's squads took home the team trophies at the NCAA Division I cross country championships at EP "Tom" Sawyer State Park Saturday on a perfect day for running.
In the opening women's 6k championship, a group of six runners, led by Cal Poly freshman Laura Hollander took to the front, crossing the 2k mark at 6:24.
The six, which included Iowa State's Betsy Saina (left/photo by James Kirby, thenextleveliowa.com), Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino, Oregon's Jordan Hasay, UTEP's Risper Kimaiyo, and Iowa State's Meaghan Nelson, continued their front running through the first half, passing 3022m in 9:45.
In the second half, Saina, D'Agostino, and Hasay broke away and were running side by side until the last 100 meters when Saina opened enough of a gap to hold off the hard-charging Hasay.
Saina held on for the win in 19:28, followed by D'Agostino and Hasay, who were both timed in 19:29.
After some initial confusion after the race in which Oregon was first declared the national champion, then Providence, the Ducks of the Pac-12 Conference were finally crowned the national champions with a low score of 114 points, followed by Providence at 183, and Stanford at 198.
Pre-meet favorite Florida State was fourth at 202, followed by Michigan at 247, and Arizona in sixth at 263.
The University of Washington finished ninth with 334 points, while Colorado was 24th to round out the Pac-12 teams.
The Huskies were led by Megan Goethals in 48th place in 20:22, followed by Lindsay Flanagan in 74th in 20:37. Katie Flood and Justine Johnson finished together in 89th and 90th in 20:43, while Liberty Miller rounded out the Husky scorers in 152nd at 21:07.
"We just didn't to to the national championships and have a great day," said UW head coach Greg Metcalf. "Last year we were aggressive and ran great. We just didn't get out and get involved in the real race up front."
In the men's 10k race, Texas Tech's Kennedy Kithuka opened up a gap on the Arizona duo of Stephen Sambu and defending national champ Lawi Lalang in the seventh kilometer to claim the NCAA title, running 28:32, with Sambu second at 28:39 and the previously undefeated Lalang third at 28:52.
Oklahoma State, coached by former Olympia prep Dave Smith, claimed yet another team title, scoring a low of 72 points, with Central Kitsap grad Shane Moskowitz clinching the win for the Cowboys, as he was their fifth scoring runner, placing 53rd (40th team) in 30:23.
From the Pac 12, Colorado was third with 158 points, with UCLA 13th at 376 points, Stanford 16th at 408, and Oregon 20th with 472 points.
The Huskies' Joey Bywater finished 69th in a time of 30:31, while Washington State's Todd Wakefield was 111th in 30:51.
"I'm proud of Todd and think he took big steps and ran a great race. Running 10k races back-to-back is a pretty tall order for him, being a miler," WSU distance coach Tim Riley said. "We're thrilled to be at the NCAA Championships but our goal was for him to be an All-American but there are a lot of great runners here today who did not get that goal. Todd is only a sophomore so we expect to back here next year and the year after."
Stanford's Miles Unterreiner from Gig Harbor was 140th in 31:04, after spending Friday in Seattle interviewing for a possible Rhodes Scholarship, then taking a private plane back to Seattle for the second part of the interview, which happens at 4 pm, Seattle time.
In Joplin, Missouri, it was a disappointing day for the Western Washington Vikings, as the #10 ranked squad finished 21st in the NCAA Division II men's 10k championship race on the Missouri Southern campus course.
The placing snapped a string of four WWU top 10 finishes and was its lowest of the six-year national run. The Vikings were 10th in 2011, ninth in 2010, fourth in 2009, 10th in 2008 and 11th in 2007.
Western was led by Dak Riek, who finished 37th in a time of 30:21, to earn All-America status.
"He was running with a bad Achilles, but he ran like a warrior," said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell of Riek. "He was probably around 100th after the first mile, but he moved up from there. He really wanted to be among the top 40 and be an All-American and he did it."
Tyler Cannon placed 126th (31:47) for the Vikings. Tanner Boyd was 143rd (31:58), Chip Jackson 155th (32:06), and Kyle Johnson 166th (32:16) to complete the Viking scorers.
Alaska Anchorage's Micah Chelimo won the individual title, running 28:57, sixteen seconds up on Adams State's Kevin Batt.
Adams State won the men's team title with 34 points, followed by Colorado Mines with 102, then GNAC champ Alaska Anchorage at 148.
In the women's 6k championship, Ballard High School alum Bridget Berg finished 17th to earn her second NCAA D2 All-America certificate, helping Humboldt State to a 15th place team finish with 379 points.
Seattle Pacific's women's squad finished 17th overall with 393 points, led by first year runner Katie Thralls, who finished 44th in 21:29, four places and three seconds away from an All-America certificate.
She was followed by McKayla Fricker in 88th (22:06), then Katie Morris in 95th (22:16), Lynelle Decker in 112nd (22:35), and Jasmine Johnson (129th, 22:38).
In Terre Haute, Indiana, Roosevelt/Seattle HS alum Lucy Cheadle of Washington University finished 21st in the NCAA Division III women's 6k championship race in 21:35.
In the men's 8k championship race, University of Puget Sound's Matt Klein finished 175th, running 26:14.
NOTE: The sports information departments of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.