Duck Harriers Jump to Top of National XC Poll

EUGENE – The University of Oregon cross country programs celebrated their highest rankings in recent history in the second national poll of the season Tuesday, thanks to their convincing team wins in the Bill Dellinger Invitational last Saturday.

In the second edition of the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, the Duck men climbed two spots Tuesday to earn the No. 1 ranking.

The Men of Oregon garnered 384 points and received nine of the 13 first-place votes, and were followed by Colorado and Wisconsin who were tied for second with 371 points and received three and one first-place votes, respectively.

Four other Pac-10 men's teams were tabbed top 30 - No. 6 Stanford (313), No. 18 UCLA (159), No. 20 Arizona State (142), and No. 27 Washington (61). Two other West Region teams earned similar distinction – No. 13 Portland (222) and No. 30 Cal Poly (36) – and another league and regional team, Washington State, received one vote.

The Ducks were the biggest gainer in their women's poll, and were picked third overall with 360 points after they stood 24th nationally in the first poll released two weeks ago.

Overall on the women's side, No. 1 Stanford received 387 points and 10 first-place votes, and was followed by No. 2 Colorado (374, 3 three first-place votes), Oregon (third, 360) and Minnesota (fourth, 342).

Two other Pac-10 women's teams also stood top 12 – No. Arizona State (322) and No. 12 Washington (248) – and another West Regional team ranked top 30, No. 27 UC Santa Barbara (67). Two more regional teams also received votes – Portland (7) and UC Riverside (1).

Current polls are available at the website.

Last weekend, the Duck men enjoyed their second straight Dellinger Invitational team win and scored 54 points thanks to five top-20 finishers – redshirt junior Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (second) and redshirt senior Carlos Trujillo (ninth), sophomore Kenny Klotz (12th), redshirt freshman Daniel Mercado (15th) and sophomore Diego Mercado (16th).

In the 15-team men's race, the Ducks defeated seven teams that were picked top 30 in the current poll – former top-ranked and now-No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 8 Alabama, No. 13 Portland, No. 18 UCLA, No. 21 UTEP, No. 27 Washington and No. 30 Cal Poly.

The Duck women beat four squads in the 15-team race that ranked top 30 in Tuesday's rankings, No. 5 Arkansas, No. 12 Washington, No. 16 BYU and No. 28 Georgia, and another team that received votes, Portland. Sophomore Nicole Blood led UO with an individual win in the 6,000m race, and was followed by freshmen Alexandra Kosinski (third) and Keara Sammons (eighth), sophomore Bria Wetsch (21st) and freshman Elizabeth Bies (32nd).

The Ducks are under the direction of associate athletic director and director of track and field Vin Lananna who returns for his third season. The returning Pac-10 and West Regional Men's Coach of the Year guided the UO men's harriers to a breakthrough season in '06 that included conference and regional team titles and a fifth-place NCAA finish. The Duck women finished top four as a team in the Pac-10 Championships in back to back years for the first time since 1997 and ‘98.

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