The Stanford men's cross-country team is headed to the NCAA Championships and could be joined by the Cardinal women following solid efforts by both teams at the NCAA West Regional Championships at the Stanford Golf Course on Saturday.
The No. 6-ranked Cardinal men scored 50 points to defeat Portland by three and capture the regional title. The No. 8 Cardinal women placed third and should also advance out of the loaded West Region.
The Stanford men looked dominant for most of the race, but Portland rallied to make things tight over the final kilometers. However, Stanford had just enough to earn its second regional title in the past three years.
Both Stanford and Portland earned the automatic berths to the NCAA Championships while the rest of the region will have to sweat it out as surprising Cal Poly finished third, although well back with 122. Washington State was fourth, California was fifth and then No. 17 Oregon and No. 21 UCLA tied for sixth.
"I am pleased with the result," said associate head coach Jason Dunn. "We talked about trying to get back to our winning ways. Especially here on our home course, we wanted to win. Obviously, the top two advance, but we wanted to be in the top position. Portland ran really well and made it close, but it was a pretty solid day for us."
Chris Derrick led Stanford, finishing as the regional runner-up. Derrick covered the 10,000-meter course in 28:50, but could not match the pace of Lawi Lelang of Arizona, who won with a blazing time of 28:34. Derrick ran with the lead pack until Lelang broke away. Derrick chased the Arizona freshman, dropping the rest of the field, but unable to catch the phenom from Kenya.
Stanford's Jacob Riley also ran with the leaders most of the way, eventually finishing fifth after losing a battle in the final straightaway with two Portland runners. Riley finished with a time of 28:59 in his final race at the Stanford Golf Course.
Also in his final home meet was Brendan Gregg, who came through with a big performance to place seventh. Gregg hung just off the lead pack, but closed extremely well to finish with a time of 29:26. The race was one of the best of the fifth-year senior's career.
"Brendan ran really well and I though Joe Rosa did great in his first 10k," said Dunn. "He is really coming around well and I am excited where he is at. We still need to shore up a few of our guys. I still don't feel like we have had a great day all year long. I am hoping that great day is going to be nine days from now."
Rounding out the top five for Stanford were Joe Rosa and Erik Olson. Rosa placed 19th for the best result of his senior season. Olson was 22nd and three spots ahead of the Portland No. 5 man, which ended up being the difference. Rosa covered the 10,000 meters in 29:53, while Olson had a time of 29:57.
The rest of the top seven consisted of J.T. Sullivan who was 36th in 30:16 and Miles Unterreiner who was 40th in 30:20.
The women did not grab one of the automatic bids, but should be one of the first at-large teams chosen out of the loaded West Region. No. 6 Washington took the meet title with just 50 points, while No. 16 Arizona was second with 98. Stanford was third with 111, defeating ranked teams No. 11 Oregon, No. 26 California and No. 27 San Francisco.
"I thought it was a solid race for us," said associate head coach PattiSue Plumer. "I was a little disappointed that we did not get second, but I was happy with the effort."
Jordan Hasay of Oregon won the individual title with a 6,000-meter time of 19:44. Deborah Maier of Cal was second in 19:51, while Tara Erdmann of Loyola Marymount was third in 19:53 after being the one to push the pace for most of the race.
The Cardinal was led by Kathy Kroeger, who placed seventh in the middle of the main chase pack. Kroeger covered the course on 20:16 finishing just behind Pac-12 champion Katie Flood of Washington and Jennifer Bergman of Arizona.
Also with top-25 finishes to earn All-Region honors were Stephanie Marcy and Aisling Cuffe. Marcy finished 11th in 20:33 in her final meet at the Stanford Golf Course. Cuffe will have several more races at Stanford as the freshman was 22nd in 20:52.
Completing the top-5 runners were Jessica Tonn and Claire Durkin. Tonn was 29th in 21:02 to give Stanford a very solid four. Durkin completed Stanford's scoring in fifth, running a time of 21:21.
The rest of the Stanford top seven was Emilie Amaro and Molly McNamara. Amaro was 61st with a time of 21:42, while McNamara finished 62nd with a time of 21:43.
"Every race we have had a few girls run great," said Plumer. "The goal is to get all five or all seven of the girls to run great at nationals."
Both teams will now prepare for the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., nine days from today. Both teams will be looking to get back on the podium as trophies are given to the top four teams overall.