Cross CountrySports

Oregon can’t shake the rust at Dellinger

Blair Ryan

Several members of the Oregon men’s and women’s cross country teams referred to the Bill Dellinger Invitational— held Friday at Springfield Country Club — as a “rust-buster.”
Some had more rust to shake off than others.

No. 5 Villanova held off No. 2 Oregon in the 5,000m women’s race, scoring 22 points to the Ducks’ 41, while the 8,000m men’s race saw an even race between No. 1 Oregon, No. 8 Portland, No. 9 Alabama and No. 12 Brigham Young come down to the fifth man of each team. When the dust settled, the Crimson Tide’s 53 points proved enough to win, besting BYU’s 63 points, Oregon’s 71 and Portland’s 73.

“We have a good team,” said Oregon head coach Vin Lananna. “We have to stay the course and get better as the season progresses. This (was) a good exercise for us.”
In the women’s race, Oregon runners Alex Kosinski, Nicole Blood and Jordan Hasay held together at the front of the lead pack, followed closely by a large group of Villanova and UTEP runners. After 1,500 meters, the lead pack broke away, with the three Duck runners fighting off five Villanova runners.

Kosinski held the lead ahead of the quickly-splintering lead pack before Wildcats junior Sheila Reid passed her at the halfway mark. Blood fell back rapidly and Hasay, the true freshman from Arroyo Grande, Calif., making her collegiate debut, struggled to hold her ground against the more experienced Villanova runners.

With 200m remaining, Kosinski attempted to pass Reid before the home straight, but Reid held her off and beat her to the finish line.

“I was confident I could track her down, but at the end she had a little more today,” Kosinski said. “I felt like I was closing and I was making up ground. I went to pass her and she had one more little gear.”

Reid (16:22.92) was one of five Villanova runners to finish in the top nine spots. Kosinski took second in 16:25.75, and Tara Erdmann, a junior from Loyola Marymount who ran the Dellinger unattached, finished third in 16:29.51. Hasay finished sixth in 16:39.71.
The men ran an even closer race than the women, as the lead pack didn’t break apart until 1,500 meters remained.

As many as 15 men jostled for the lead position as the race progressed, with few clear leaders. Alabama, Oregon and Portland runners made up the majority of the pack.
The initial mainstays at the front of the pack were Portland’s Alfred Kipchumba – last year’s Dellinger runner-up – and the Ducks’ trio of Luke Puskedra, Kenny Klotz and Danny Mercado.

All four runners faded as the race wore on, leaving mostly Alabama and resurgent BYU runners, but Oregon’s Matthew Centrowitz made a late push for the individual title. But it was too little, too late as the Crimson Tide’s Tyson David and Moses Kiptoo finished first (23:37.71) and second (23:38.38). Centrowitz crossed the finish line in fourth place, behind BYU’s Miles Batty.

“I just tried to stay behind and see what the top guys were doing,” Centrowitz said of his race. “We just tried to stay comfortable and work with each other.”

Mercado was the second Duck across the finish line, in eighth place (23:44.40), and Puskedra finished in eleventh (23:53.96).

“Luke is much, much better than that,” Lananna said.

The other Oregon men’s scorers were A.J. Acosta (23rd, 24:16.50) and Diego Mercado (25th, 24:18.77). Klotz finished 35th overall in 24:32.55, senior Jordan McNamara finished 36th overall (24:35.23), redshirt freshman Bryce Burgess finished 43rd (24:42.87), junior Isaac Stoutenburgh finished 87th (26:25.59), and junior Eric Dettman and senior Jon Thomas did not finish. Oregon freshmen Mac Fleet (26th, 24:18.88), Mitchell Hunt (72nd, 25:44.45) and Tim Costin (76th, 25:48.30) and junior Kevin McNally (63rd, 25:21.72) competed unattached.

The other Oregon women’s scorers were senior Lauren Zaludek (12th, 16:59.83), sophomore Claire Michel (13th, 17:02.53) and Blood at 15th overall (17:09.60).

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