Club Sports

Club running looks to build upon finish at weekend meet

The University of Oregon Running Club team continued its 2011 cross country season on Saturday with a meet at Willamette University. The meet featured teams and clubs that are members of the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association, along with other Division I programs such as Boise State University.

The men competed in an 8k event while the women competed in a 6k event. The men’s team finished in 13th place out of 22 teams, while the women’s team finished 10th out of 20 [email protected]@

On the men’s side, the Ducks top performer was junior team captain Rob McLauchlan, who posted a time of 25:30.04, which was good enough for 42nd out of 259 finishers. McLauchlan ended up 57 places better and 46 seconds faster than last year’s meet at Willamette. Josh Gordon and Kevin Cave finished in 2nd and 3rd place on the team and 76th and 77th place overall with times of 26:11.01 and 26:12.35, [email protected]@[email protected]@

As for the women, Renee Knapp led the way with a final time of 18:43.06 and 8th place overall out of 222 finishers. Jaclyn Rushing (3rd place on the team, 77th overall), Chelsea Oda (4th place on the team, 96th overall) and Nicole Ginley-Hidinger (6th place on the team, 117th overall) all ran close to a minute faster and ended up about 50 places better than their performance at this race last [email protected]@[email protected]@

The strides that the team has taken from last year to this year is certainly satisfying, but the runners will be the first to say that the improvement was earned and it didn’t just happen over night.

“We practice really hard, seven days a week, all year long,” freshman Ryan Purcell said, who finished 8th out of the 16 Oregon men’s finishers at Willamette. The team practices at 3 p.m. every day with an optional 8 a.m. practice on Tuesday mornings and races on Saturdays. So much practice time together has led to a special bonding that the runners share.

“I love getting out there and running with my brothers and challenging each other mentally and physically,” freshman Trent Warren said. “We’re all friends out there.”

“We have developed a comradery and an environment that everyone seems to enjoy,” Purcell said. “It’s great.”

The Ducks do not have a race scheduled for next Saturday and instead will stay in Eugene. Coach Tom Heinonen scheduled a day trip to the McKenzie River, where the team will be able to practice as well as relax. The following Saturday, Oct. 16th, is the NIRCA Pacific Northwest Regional in Portland at Pier Park.

This is one of the most competitive and important tournaments of the year for the Ducks. Other Division I programs such as Boise State University and the University of Washington will be there and some of these schools will race players from their team, not just their club.

The women’s 6k is scheduled for noon and the men’s 8k for 12:45 p.m. The next race after regionals is the Beaver Classic at Avery Park in Corvallis on Oct. 22nd. The women are slotted to begin at 9:45 a.m. and the men an hour later at 10:45 a.m. The runners’ performance in these two events will go a long way to determine which of them qualify for the NIRCA Nationals in Charlotte, NC on Nov. [email protected]@[email protected]@

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