SAN FRANCISCO—The University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale’s (left/photo by Mike Scott), the reigning conference champion, was named by the Pac-12 Conference as its women’s cross country athlete of the year Tuesday, and was also placed on its All-Pac-12 First Team honors.
Additionally, teammate Charlotte Prouse was named by the Pac-12 to its First Team by virtue of her top-seven finish at the conference championship meet last Friday in Tucson.
Neale, the junior from Glacier Peak HS in Snohomish via Great Britain used a closing final kilometer of 3:08 to pass six runners, including Colorado’s Erin Clark in the final 20 meters, to take home the Pac-12 harrier title in 20:23 (20:22.9) and beat Clark by less than a second (20:24; 20:23.3).
This continues to be a breakout season for Neale, whose last two seasons has been marred by various injuries. Two weeks ago, she placed a surprising fourth at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison.
Neale’s victory at the Pac-12s made her the fourth Husky to win the conference crown, and the first since Katie Flood turned the trick in 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.
Like Neale, Prouse is also in the midst of a breakout season in cross country as well, after setting the Canadian and North American U-20 record in the 3000 steeplechase in July at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where she ran 9:44.62. Prouse won the Sundodger and the Washington Invitationals this cross country season, and finished behind Neale at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin meet, and sixth at the Pac-12s.
On the men’s side, Colorado sophomore John Dressel, a native of Colbert, was named to the conference’s first team after finishing sixth last week.
Oregon’s Edward Cheserek was the conference’s athlete of the year after winning his fourth straight Pac-12 title, making him the first male to turn the trick.
Colorado’s Mark Wetmore was named the Pac-12’s coach of the year on both the men’s and women’s side.
Meanwhile, the Husky women’s team dropped two spots in the latest USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll released Tuesday.
Colorado retains the #1 position after winning the Pac-12 championships in Tucson, followed by NC State, Providence, the Huskies, and Michigan.
Other Pac-12 schools in the national top 30 include #7 Stanford, #11 Oregon, #20 Utah, and #27 Cal, giving the conference six women’s teams, tops among conferences.
On the men’s side, the nation’s top five teams are Northern Arizona, Colorado, BYU, Stanford, and Syracuse.
Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the national top 30 include #8 UCLA, #10 Oregon, #17 Washington State, making it a total of five schools ranked nationally.
NOTE: The University of Washington, the Pac-12 Conference, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.