EUGENE, Ore. – The third-ranked Oregon women’s cross country team wants to emulate the success of their male counterparts this week.
Only they’ll use a much different approach.
Unlike the 1-2 finish of sophomore Edward Cheserek and senior Eric Jenkins, who paced the No. 3 Oregon men to a dominant victory at the Battle of Beantown 8K race in Boston last week, the Duck women will unleash a pack mentality when they toe the line at the Washington Invitational on Saturday.
The women’s 6K race begins at 11 a.m. at Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle.
“We have a lot of good kids on our women’s team, but none that stand out above the others,” UO cross country coach Robert Johnson said at a media availability on Tuesday. “We’re looking to create a synergy where we are a pack running team, and if we’re able to have our top seven girls finish within 25 to 30 seconds of each other, that would be huge. That’s the goal. That’s what we have been working on.”
The Oregon women will be tested by three other highly ranked teams – No. 4 Stanford, No. 13 Villanova and No. 15 Washington.
In the 33-year history of the NCAA women’s cross country championships, those four programs have combined for 18 national titles, including seven of the past 10: Villanova (9), Stanford (5), Oregon (3) and Washington (1). Also competing in the women’s field will be Idaho, Indiana, Northern Arizona, Oklahoma, Portland, UCLA and Utah.
The Duck women have not competed since the Bill Dellinger Invitational at Alton Baker Park on Sept. 5.
“This will be a good challenge for our women’s team,” Johnson said. “I would hope that we would have the same outcome that we had (with the men) in Boston … our expectations are to go in there, and position ourselves to see if this extended training block we’re coming off is paying off, and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Senior Lindsay Crevoiserat, whose seventh-place finish at the Dellinger meet was her best race in an Oregon uniform, said the Ducks’ main goal was to “work together” as a team.
“We have a lot of strong runners,” she said. “We’ll stick together as long as possible. That’s our plan. We want to work together as a team and run as a big pack. That’s our identity.”
The Oregon men will show off their depth on Saturday.
The Ducks will give those who ran in Boston a break and send eight other runners to Willamette University in Salem to compete in the Charles Bowles Invitational at Bush Park. The men’s 8K race begins at 9:30 a.m.
“We’re extremely deep,” said redshirt freshman Sam Prakel, who was sixth overall in Boston as the Ducks’ No. 4 finisher, one spot behind senior teammate Daniel Winn. “We could pull anyone out of the guys racing in Salem this weekend to join our top seven. Having a deep team sets us up nicely for the upcoming meets.”
Saturday, Oct. 4
At Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle
6,000 meters at 11 a.m.
OREGON WOMEN’S ENTRIES: Seniors Lindsay Crevoiserat and Megan Patrignelli; juniors Molly Grabill, Annie Leblanc, Abbey Leonardi and Brianna Nerud; sophomores Nikki Hiltz, Ashley Maton and Maggie Schmaedick; freshmen Frida Berge and Allis Cash.
CHARLES BOWLES INVITATIONAL
Saturday, Oct. 4
At Willamette University’s Bush Park in Salem
8,000 meters at 9:30 a.m.
OREGON MEN’S ENTRIES: Seniors Jeramy Elkaim, Tanguy Pepiot and Cole Watson; juniors Matt Jablonski and Chris Brewer; freshmen Jackson Darland, Bryan Fernandez and Chris Mulverhill.