The No. 4-ranked Oregon women’s cross country team and the No. 2-ranked men’s cross country team kicked of their seasons with the 11th annual Bill Dellinger Invitational on Friday.
The women ran a five-kilometer race, while the men ran eight kilometers.
In the women’s race, Emily Weber of Oregon State took the win in a time of 17 minutes, 26.2 seconds. Northwest Christian’s Sierra Brown and Shea Vallaire followed to place third and fourth.
Emma Abrahamson was next, as Oregon’s first athlete to cross the finish line, hitting a time of 17:34.2.
The Oregon women beat out Northwest Christian for the team victory, achieving a score of 39 versus Northwest Christian’s 51.
In the men’s competition, Oregon’s Sam Prakel and Tanner Anderson cruised through the finish line in equal times of 24:36.
Despite coming in third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth individually, Portland was unable to beat the Ducks in the team scoring. The Oregon men narrowly beat out Portland 28-29.
Both teams were tested in their toughness. “We’re trying to be tough, as a team,” senior Maggie Schmaedick said.
Oregon has been rigorously training in Sunriver, Oregon over the past week, so the Ducks weren’t as fresh as many of the other visiting teams might have been.
“We’ve been training really hard up at camp at Sunriver and this is just our first race, a little rust-buster for everyone and I think it’s only going to go up from here … I think it’s going to be the best team we’ve had in a long time,” Abrahamson said.
Associate head coach Andy Powell was happy with his team’s performances.
“We were really training hard the last few weeks, so happy to come here—with tired legs for sure, but that’s just the time of year,” Powell said.
The teams drove down from Sunriver to compete in the meet—a “day trip” as some described it—and immediately drove back up following competition.
The Invitational has been held at Alton Baker Park the past few years, but made its way back to the Springfield Country Club for the first time since 2013. The course will be home to the Pac-12 Cross Country Championship next year, so this was a good opportunity for the Ducks to get a feel for it.
Maggie Schmaedick described the Springfield Country Club course as a “fun, flat, quicker course” compared to Pre’s Trail at Alton Baker. That’s something that she says all he teammates can agree with.
“I think the unanimous decision was that we really like having it here,” Schmaedick said. “Pre’s is pretty narrow and also—this time of year very, very dusty and so that’s just another added factor that makes it even more difficult … A little more bearable for this rust-buster early season thing.”
Now that the Ducks have successfully endured their “rust-buster” of an opening meet, they prepare for the Washington Invitational on October 1 in Seattle.