Stanford men, Colorado women claim Pac-12 cross country titles

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Stanford’s Grant Fisher was all smiles as he used a strong kick to win the men’s individual 8,000-meter race at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships at Springfield Golf Club on Friday.

But he was even more stoked when he turned around after crossing the finish line.

Fisher, the reigning NCAA outdoor track and field champion in the 5,000 meters, could barely contain himself as he watched two of his Cardinal teammates – Steven Fahy and Alex Ostberg – place third and fourth, respectively.

“I was super jacked up after the race.”
   – Grant Fisher Pac12 XC Champion

With three runners in the top four, the Stanford men were able to do something that no other Pac-12 school has done at this meet since 2010 – beat Colorado. The Cardinal finished with 41 points, just ahead of the runner-up Buffaloes at 47, which ended Colorado’s six-year reign of conference dominance.

“I was super jacked up after the race,” said Fisher, a junior, who was clocked in 23 minutes, 44.9 seconds. “It feels great to win, but the team title feels way better for sure.”

Colorado’s Joe Klecker settled for second at 23:48.0, followed by Fahy (23:51.3), Ostberg (23:51.5) and Washington’s Mahmoud Moussa at 23:52.0. Oregon was paced by freshman Cooper Teare’s eighth-place performance in 23:59.4.

UCLA won a tight three-way battle for third in the team standings with 103 points, while the Ducks took fourth (109) and the Huskies placed fifth (114).

The other UO men’s finishers were as follows: 22, Tanner Anderson (24:15.6); 24, Austin Tamagno (24:17.3); 25, Travis Neuman (24:21.2); 31, Reed Brown (24:29.3); 33, Blake Haney (24:31.2); 36, Connor Clark (24:32.4); 39, Jackson Mestler (24:34.1); 46, Sam Prakel (24:43.3); 51, James West (24:50.5).

A crowd of about 2,000 spectators lined the course, and while the majority of the men’s race was bathed in sunshine, the women’s 6,000-meter competition was blanketed in a cold and dense morning fog.

That didn’t bother Colorado’s Dani Jones.

Jones, the reigning Pac-12 champion in the 1,500m and 5,000m, ran alongside Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger and Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale in a large lead pack for most of the race. It wasn’t until the Buffalo junior rounded the final turn, and the finish line was in sight, that she found another gear – ultimately edging Rainsberger and Neale by just over a second with a winning time of 18:57.3. Rainsberger and Neale were a stride back at 18:58.5 and 18:58.7, respectively.

“It’s always fun racing those two,” Rainsberger said. “Dani and Amy are at the top of the field, great competitors, and even better people, so each time I get to race against them, I learn something about myself. And afterwards, we’re all friends, and I think that’s what makes it so exciting.”

With Jones up front, Colorado claimed its third consecutive Pac-12 women’s title with 53 points. Oregon and Stanford both finished at 71, but the Ducks were awarded second based on their head-to-head results against the Cardinal runners.

The other UO women finishers were as follows: 6, Lilli Burdon (19:07.8); 11, Jessica Hull (19:13.6); 23, Carmela Cardama-Baez (19:31.6); 29, Emma Abrahamson (19:43.6); 41, Judy Pendergast (20:06.8).