They don’t call him “King Cheserek” for nothing.
Senior Edward Cheserek became the first man to win four consecutive Pac-12 cross country individual titles. He broke the tape in 23 minutes, 58.9 seconds over the 8-kilometer course on Friday morning at the Randolph North Golf Course in Tucson, Arizona.
Only two other men have come close to achieving this feat – Oregon’s Steve Prefontaine (1970, 1971, 1973) and Washington State’s Henry Rono (1976, 1978, 1979).
Cheserek led the Oregon men to a fourth-place finish of 94 points, along with Travis Neuman (13th), Levi Thomet (22nd), Matthew Maton (28th) and Tanner Anderson (30th). The positions of the top five runners contribute to the team score. Whoever has the lowest points wins.
The rest of Oregon’s traveling team included Sam Prakel (33rd), Tim Gorman (43rd), Austin Tamagno (49th), Jake Leingang (53rd) and Bryan Fernandez (66th).
The men’s lowest finish since 2005 was sixth. The women’s lowest was fourth, in 2011.
After training through Oregon’s record rainfall in October, the Ducks felt like fish out of water as Tucson treated them to a hot morning that soared into the triple digits. The men were flagged off at 10:30 a.m., and the record-high temperatures caused a number of runners to require medical attention after the races, including Oregon’s Sam Prakel and Austin Tamagno.
Though the defending champion No. 7 Colorado entered the championship ranked lower than No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 Oregon, Colorado emerged as a champion, extending its winning streak to six years with a score of 41.
Freshman Katie Rainsberger emerged as the top freshman in the championship with her fifth place finish. She was the first Oregon woman to complete the 6-kilometer course and finished in 20:30.6, eight seconds behind champion Amy-Eloise Neal of Washington.
This is the highest finish by a Duck, true freshman since Jordan Hasay placed third in 2009.
Along with Rainsberger, the team of Alli Cash (13th), Samantha Nadel (22nd), Emma Abrahamson (23rd) and Maggie Schmaedick (25th) brought the women to fourth with a total of 88 points.
Rounding off the rest of the Oregon women’s traveling team are Jessica Hull (27th), Ashley Maton (45th), Frida Berge (59th) and Perrin Xthona (103rd).
Colorado, the top-ranked team in the nation, defended its title in a convincing fashion, tallying a score of 33 that was well ahead of Washington’s second-place score of 74. Stanford grabbed third place with 83 points, just five points ahead of Oregon.
The Ducks immediately left after the race to catch their flight back to Eugene, missing the prize ceremony.
The next race for the Ducks is the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 11 at the Haggis Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, California, where the team will try to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 18 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Follow Romaine Soh on Twitter @mainetainpls