Cheserek and Jenkins finish 1-2 in NCAA Cross Country final
The Ducks’s 1-2 punch paid off.
Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins finished first and second respectively in the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday.
It’s Cheserek’s second consecutive championship in his second year at Oregon.
Cheserek made his move to the front with 2,000 meters to go and never looked back. He joins Steve Prefontaine as the only Ducks to win two consecutive NCAA titles. Cheserek finished in 30:19.4 and Jenkins in 30:23.2.
“I was watching very close in case anyone made a move I had to cover, but no one did, so I just tried to time it with a mile to go and make my move,” Cheserek told GoDucks.com. “I felt strong. Everyone in the field was so strong. I just wanted to take the lead, not go out crazy, but just control myself.”
Cheserek and Jenkins became the first teammates to finish 1-2 in the men’s championships since John Nuttall and Jonah Koech of Iowa State in 1989.
The Ducks (221) finished in sixth overall behind Colorado (65), Stanford (98), Portland (175), Northern Arizona (188) and Syracuse (206). Their top-10 finish was their seventh in the past nine years.
“For us to have a couple of guys go 1-2 is outstanding,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “I can’t say enough about their ability to do that. Probably not the team finish we were hoping for, but we’ll take it and we’ll move on.”
Oregon seniors Tanguy Pepoit was 47th in 31:09.9 and Daniel Winn in 60th at 31:11.1.
The Oregon women finished sixth overall. Michigan State took the team title, who the Ducks hosted in the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene in September.
Freshman Alli Cash finished in the top spot among the Ducks in 59th (20.56.4). Junior Waverly Neer took 62nd (20:57.2) and Megan Patrignelli finished in 64th (20:58.3). Junior Molly Grabill 77th (21:05.4), freshman Frida Berge 79th (21:06.2) and junior Annie Leblanc rounded out the Ducks’ showing in 82nd (21:06.5).
Saturday was the final race for Patrignelli in an Oregon uniform, as the senior has already used up her track eligibility. The Ducks, who won the Pac-12 championships last month, beat all the other Pac-12 schools at the championships.
“To have the men and the women finish in the top 10 is always special for us, even though at Oregon we always say we want to be on that podium at the end of the race,” Johnson said after the race. “But I think we left everything we had out there today to we can’t be too upset with that. Our women are really young and a lot of those women will be back next year and learn some things from this meet.”
— OregonT&F (@OregonTF) November 22, 2014
Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne
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