Friday, October 2, 2015

Cuffe and Cheserek win Washington Invitational, while Oregon sweeps team titles...

SEATTLE—In one of the first major tests for the West Coast’s top collegiate teams, the Oregon Ducks swept the second annual Washington Invitational cross country meet at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill Friday afternoon.

Winner Aisling Cuffe (l) of Stanford battles Washington's
Maddie Meyers with 1k to go (Paul Merca photo)
In the women’s 6k race, a group of 20 established themselves up front early on the first of three laps of the Jefferson Park course, before it whittled itself down to nine entering the final lap.  Among those in the group of nine were a group of four runners from Oregon—Alli Cash, Maggie Schmaedick, Waverly Neer and Frida Berge; Washington’s Maddie Meyers and Charlotte Prouse; Hannah Everson of the Air Force; and, Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe and Vanessa Fraser.

On the final lap, Cuffe, Meyers, and Cash broke away, but Cuffe, who sat out all of the 2014-15 cross country and track seasons with injuries, broke away to claim the individual win in 19:41, four seconds ahead of Cash, with Meyers third in 19:50.

Schmaedick (19:51), Everson (19:51), Neer (19:57), and Prouse (20:01) finished 4th through 7th.

Natalie Shields-Connolly (20:04) and Carrie Jube (20:08) of BYU were 8-9, with Fraser of Stanford tenth in 20:08.

The Ducks won with 36 points, followed by the Huskies with 59 and Stanford with 60.

Gonzaga was sixth with 200, led by Jessica Mildes (20:26) while Eastern Washington was seventh at 205, led by defending Big Sky champ Sarah Reiter, who was 16th in 20:16..  

Washington State was ninth with 234 points, led by CharLee Linton in 34th (20:36), while SeattleU was 12th with 314 points, led by Lila Rice in 57th (21:06).

UCLA's Lane Werley & Stanford's Joe Rosa stalk Oregon's
Edward Cheserek with a kilometer to go. Cheserek won
in 23:16 (Paul Merca photo)
In the men’s 8k, defending NCAA cross country champion Edward Cheserek of Oregon was content to let a large group of runners do the work, eventually working his way to the front by the second lap, before moving away from Stanford’s Joe Rosa over the last kilometer to win in 23:16.

Rosa (23:21), Lane Werley of UCLA (23:22), Jack Keelan of Stanford (23:23), and Patrick Corona of Air Force (23:24), did most of the front running, finishing second through fifth.

Washington State’s John Whelan (23:35) was also among the leaders for a good portion of the race, before he faded to 13th place.

In a very spirited team race, Oregon won with 52 points, followed by Stanford with 69 and BYU third with 70.

UCLA, which had two runners in the lead group for most of the race was fourth with 117.

The Huskies, who ran without Colby Gilbert for the second straight meet with a leg injury, were sixth with 146 points, led by Izaic Yorks’ 16th place finish (23:37).

The Cougars were eighth with 189, led by Whelan’s 13th place.

Gonzaga was ninth with 205, led by Troy Fraley in 20th (23:40).  SeattleU was tenth with 332 led by Nathan McLaughlin in 65th (24:29), while Eastern Washington was 11th with 333 points, led by Alex Kimsey in 74th (24:37).

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