Long Beach, Calif. - The No. 1 Stanford men's cross country team continued their dominance this season by taking the Pac-10 championship in convincing fashion. The Cardinal men captured the 12th conference championship in team history. Meanwhile, the Stanford women placed fourth, falling just one point short of third.
Stanford scored 28 points, to unseat Oregon as the Pac-10 Champion. The Ducks finished second with 45 points, a year after winning both the Pac-10 and NCAA titles.
"We are really excited about this," said head coach Jason Dunn. "It is nice to see Stanford get back on the podium. We knew it would be a fast race and we prepared for every situation. The goal was to go out there and run and compete as a team."
Stanford was led by Chris Derrick who captured the individual title in record time. The Stanford sophomore covered the 8,000-meter course in a time of 22:35.41 to break the record of 2008 U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp of Oregon by nearly 20 seconds.
It was the first Pac-10 title of any kind for Derrick who earned four All-America honors in cross country and track and field during his breakthrough freshmen year last season. He becomes the fifth Stanford male to win the individual conference crown and the first since Ian Dobson in 2003.
"The team definitely had big goals going into this race," said Derrick. "We came in very team oriented and wanted to unseat our rivals from the north [Oregon]. I just kept pushing and was thrilled to be able to lead my team today,"
Joining Derrick up front was Elliott Heath who placed third overall. The Stanford junior finished with a time of 22:52.01 to earn All-Pac-10 honors. Late in the race, Heath tracked down Luke Puskedra from Oregon, who came into the race as the co-favorite with Derrick, but finished fourth.
Also earning All-Pac-10 first team honors for Stanford were Jacob Riley and Justin Marpole-Bird. Riley placed sixth with a time of 23:12.71 to earn conference honors for the second consecutive season. Marpole-Bird was just one spot back in seventh with a time of 23:13.67. He continued his breakthrough season in cross country.
Rounding out the Stanford scorers was redshirt freshman Miles Unterreiner in 11th-place with a time of 23:27.76. Despite being the Card's fifth runner, Unterreiner beat the top runner from California, Arizona and Washington State to show just what a dominant performance it was for Stanford.
Brendan Gregg (12th) and Benjamin Johnson (19th) completed the rest of the top seven for Stanford.
The Pac-10 title is not the only championships the Cardinal have their sights set on this year, with the NCAA Championships being contested on November 23rd.
"I am really happy for Chris [Derrick]," said Dunn. "He is a champion at heart and very fun to coach. We are thrilled to have both champions, but we know this is only the beginning and we are looking forward to NCAAs."
The Stanford women did not fare as well, finishing fourth, but there is still reason to be optimistic. The Cardinal were without two of their top runners, Kathy Kroeger and Kate Niehaus. In addition, freshman Alex Dunne could not finish the race after pulling up just 500 yards short of the finish.
No. 1 Washington won their second consecutive conference title, but not before getting a tough challenge from No. 8 Oregon. The Huskies finished with 35 points, while the Ducks had 42. Arizona State finished third with 110, just one point ahead of Stanford with 111.
Alexandra Gits led Stanford with her 10th-place finish. The Stanford junior continued her great comeback from injury this season by covering the 6,000-meter course in a time of 20:13.16.
Right behind Gits was the always consistent Stephanie Marcy in 11th place. Marcy finished with a time of 20:16.58.
Another top-20 finish came from senior Madeleine O'Meara in one of the best races of her career. O'Meara finished with a time of 20:33.64, the best 6k time of her career.
Rounding out the scoring for Stanford were Georgia Griffin in 32nd place and Kristin Reese in 42nd. Griffin finished with a time of 20:59.96, while Reese had a time of 21:19.65.
The rest of the top seven for the Cardinal consisted of Claire Collison in 48th place and Emma Miller-Bedell in 54th.
Both teams will be back in action in two weeks when they compete in the NCAA West Regionals. Oregon will play host to the meet on Saturday, November 14, from Eugene.