Cross CountrySports

Deep Oregon cross country teams prepare for another successful season

Oregon’s cross country teams are off to a fast start.

The No. 3 ranked men’s team and the No. 4 ranked women’s team kicked off what they hope will be another successful season on Sept. 16 at the 11th annual Bill Dellinger Invitational. Both the men and women took first.

Redshirt junior Sam Prakel and sophomore Tanner Anderson tied for the individual victory on the men’s side. Prakel, the runner-up at the Bill Dillinger Invitational last year, also placed 30th overall at the Pac-12 Championships in 23:59.0 and 43rd overall at the NCAA West Regionals in 31:58.0. Anderson, who made his Oregon debut last year as a freshman, will likely make a bigger impact for the Ducks this year. His best race was a 12th place finish at the Washington Invitational with a time of 23:32.0. 

Another sophomore athlete that could find more success this year is Matthew Maton, whose best race was also the Washington Invitational last year, in which he placed eighth as Oregon’s second finisher. As a high schooler, he won six 5A Oregon state track and cross country titles for Summit High School. He won the state titles for cross country in 2013 and 2014 after placing second in 2012. During the 2014 meet, he broke Galen Rupp’s legendary Oregon high school state cross country record with a time of 14:45.

Rounding out the Duck’s deep team is none other than senior Edward Cheserek, who won his third straight NCAA title last year — a feat no other male athlete has ever done. He is also a three-time Pac-12 champion and the 2015 Pac-12 athlete of the year.

The Oregon women’s team is also deep, although it will miss Waverly Neer, who was denied her appeal to compete for a fifth year. Leading the way for the women at the Bill Dellinger Invitational was junior Emma Abrahamson, who came in fourth overall with a time of 17 minutes, 34.2 seconds. Abrahamson transferred to Oregon from Vanderbilt after spending her 2014 cross country season there. Her debut at last year’s Bill Dellinger Invitational was her best race of that year, as she placed seventh with a time of 21:01.5.

Oregon’s third finisher, senior Maggie Schmaedick, placed eighth with a time of 17:39.1. At last year’s Pac-12 Championship, she was Oregon’s fifth finisher at 15th overall with a time of 20:25.7.

The Oregon women were without redshirt junior Alli Cash and top recruit Katie Rainsberger for the meet, but they will likely be Oregon’s top female runners this year.

Cash was Oregon’s second finisher and sixth overall at both the Pac-12 Championships and the NCAA West Regionals last year with times of 20:05.3 and 20:46.1, respectively. She was also Oregon’s second finisher and 31st overall at the NCAA Championships with a time of 20:20.9. Her finish earned her All-American honors.

Rainsberger finished her senior year at Air Academy High School (located in Colorado Springs, Color.), undefeated after winning the national title at the Nike Cross Country Nationals in 16:56.8. She led her school to the 2015 state title while setting a new course record of 17:39. She was the 2015 national Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year and was the Colorado Gatorade state winner for both track and field and cross country last year.

The cross country teams will race again on Saturday at the Washington Invitational, a meet the men won last year and the women won each of the past two years.

Follow Hannah Bonnie on Twitter @hbonnie03

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Hannah Bonnie

Hannah Bonnie