(Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports)

Opening Weekend of Action Sharpens View of West Region


The meat of the cross country season kicked off this past weekend with many teams in the NCAA’s West Region unleashing full squads at competitions around the country. Though many squads are still in the midst of heavy training, the weekend’s races provided a clear but still incomplete glimpse at how things will shape up come the regional championships on November 15.

The latest’s men’s regional rankings saw a few minor shifts, most notably by the new top dog, the Oregon Ducks. UO made the cross country trek to Boston where the team claimed a convincing win with 22 points over #9 Syracuse (69 points), #25 Providence (81 points) and #8 Wisconsin (88 points). Most impressive for the Ducks was the one-two finish of true freshmen Edward Cheserek and Jake Leingang to lead the way. Add in transfer Eric Jenkins and veteran Mac Fleet later in the season and Oregon could be very dangerous not just on the regional level but nationally as well.

Arizona State finished a solid third place at the Roy Griak Invitational, where the Sun Devils saw the debut of star freshman Bernie Montoya as the team’s third man. Stanford cruised to an easy win at their home invitational with Erik Olson and Jim Rosa leading the way. Freshman Sean McGorty, running unattached, would have been the Cardinal’s third man so expect him to suit up the team jersey sometime soob.

Second- and third-ranked Portland and UCLA both sat out from major competitions but will be back in action this coming weekend. The Pilots will join Oregon, #6 Boise State, #7 Washington and others at the Dellinger Invite in Eugene, while the Bruins will travel to Sacramento for the Regional Preview Meet at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.

Full men’s rankings (September 30):

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Coming off an impressive win at Roy Griak, Arizona swapped places with Oregon to claim the top position in the women’s West Region rankings. The Wildcats placed four runners in the top eight, including standout senior Elvin Kibet in second place, but will need a more reliable fifth runner if they are to contend on the national level.

In their first race of the post-Hasay era, the Ducks finished second behind a formidable Providence team in Boston. Senior Megan Patrignelli lead the team in sixth place individually. Coach Maurica Powell noted after the race that the team was missing a few key pieces, including Annie Leblanc and UConn transfer Lindsay Crevoiserat.

Stanford cruised to victory at their home meet in Palo Alto with standouts Jessica Tonn and Aisling Cuffe going one-two.

Fifth-ranked San Francisco was also at Stanford but opted to sit out their top runners in favor of the Notre Dame Invite this coming weekend. Also making their first big meet appearance will be third-ranked Washington at the Dellinger Invitational.

Full women’s rankings (September 30):

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Tags: Arizona Arizona State Bernie Montoya Edward Cheserek Featured Jordan Hasay Oregon Popular Roy Griak Stanford Stanford Invite