As the NCAA cross country season heads into the homestretch, the University of Oregon men's and women's teams look mighty strong as regionals and nationals approach. This coming weekend, the Ducks to Stanford to compete in the West Regional, where they will without question book their tickets to Terre Haute, Indiana and the NCAA DI Cross Country Championships, which take place on Saturday, November 22.
The men's squad, led by defending national cross country champion Edward Cheserek, rolls into regional competition having only lost to one team all season. The Ducks finished a strong second to the University of Colorado both at NCAA Pre-Nationals earlier in the season and the Pac-12 Championships. While Colorado remains the heavy favorite to win the national title, the Ducks seek their first podium finish (top four) since 2009, when they placed second. Led by Cheserek and top five contender Eric Jenkins, the Ducks will rely on a couple low points up top followed by a tight pack of their 3-7 runners.
For the women's team, the race for the team title is wide open. After a disappointing finish at last fall's national championships, where they placed 14th, the squad seeks some redemption and a rise back to the top spot where the finished two years ago. Freshman Fride Berge was the top finisher for the Ducks at the Pac-12 Championships, where the team packed together to take home the title over rival Stanford. Behind Berge, transfer All-American Waverly Neer and Molly Grabill, the team currently ranks US#3 and has all the makings of a trophy team.
The next two weeks are considered the height of the season in NCAA cross country and the US#2 men's team and women's team are poised for big finishes.