SEATTLE, Wash. – Jordan Hasay won her third straight NCAA West Regional crown to lead the third-ranked Oregon women to their first West Region title since 1995 on a sunny Friday at Jefferson Park Golf Course. With the win, the Duck women automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky.
“For our women’s team, this was another step in the process that began at fall camp in Sunriver and carried through the Pac-12 Championships and the Regional meet,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “To meet our goal of being able to advance with that automatic spot is outstanding.
“As a result of all the hard work put in by our women and coach Maurica Powell, we are in a good position headed to the NCAA Championships and we’ll get home, go gear up and get ready for that.”
Meanwhile, Trevor Dunbar led the men with his third-place individual finish. Dunbar is guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Championships at least as an individual; the Duck men, who were fourth on Friday, will find out Saturday morning at 9 a.m. if they receive one of the 13 at-large team bids.
Hasay broke away from Cal Poly’s Laura Hollander and Stanford’s Kathy Kroeger with 600 meters remaining to earn her first victory of 2012. The senior from Arroyo Grande, Calif., won in 19:16. Hollander was next in 19:22 with Kroeger, the Pac-12 champion, third in 19:27 over the 6,000 meter course.
Hasay became the first Duck to win three straight regional crowns, but that was only half the story for the women. She was one of three Oregon runners to finish in the top 10, and one of six in the top 26 as the Ducks held off challenges from No. 4 Arizona, No. 5 Stanford and No. 7 Washington.
“Jordan ran an excellent race as usual, and winning three straight Regional titles speaks volumes about her career at Oregon, but what really impressed me is having only one minute between our first runner and our sixth runner,” said Johnson. “That is pack running and working as a team to near perfection.”
The Ducks won with 64 points. The Cardinal and Wildcats tied for second with 85 points, while the Huskies took fifth with 96 points. No. 26 San Francisco made a strong bid for an at-large selection for the NCAA Championships by finishing fifth with 151 points.
UC Davis was sixth with 177, followed by No. 29 UCLA (217), Portland (230), California (305) and Boise State with 308 to round out the top 10.
Freshman Allie Woodward backed Hasay’s win with a seventh-place finish in 19:52. That was followed by senior Alexi Pappas’ 10th-place showing in 19:54. Oregon’s next group also ran well together with senior Sarah Penney 22nd in 20:13, freshman Annie Leblanc 24th in 20:15 and senior Katie Conlon 26th in 20:17. Oregon also saw freshman Abbey Leonardi 34th in 20:36.
The Ducks led from the outset of the race. After 2,000 meters, the Ducks were 17 points up on Washington and 34 ahead of Arizona. At the midway point, Oregon opened up a 23-point margin on Washington and led Arizona by 25. Stanford made a big move with 1,000 meters remaining to pull ahead of Arizona and Washington, but Oregon maintained a comfortable 24-point edge on the Cardinal and a 25-point lead over the Wildcats. The margin never slipped below 20 over the final 1,000 meters.
It was the women’s 13th NCAA West Regional victory, which now only trails Stanford by one, but was the Ducks’ first in 17 years.
In the men’s race, No. 3 Stanford was strong throughout and won easily with 45 points. The team battle behind the Cardinal ebbed and flowed over the course of the 10,000 meter race. Oregon was second after 2,000 meters and then third, behind Stanford and No. 25 Arizona State, at 4,000 and 6,000 meters.
The 11th-ranked Ducks were then able to pass ASU over the next 2,000 meters, but at the same time, No. 9 Portland made its move to forge ahead of Oregon into second. No. 27 UCLA then overtook the Ducks on the final lap as Oregon wound up fourth.
The Pilots finished with 107 points, followed by UCLA with 128 and the Ducks with 135. Washington was fifth with 165 points, followed by ASU with 218.
Dunbar, a senior from Kodiak, Alaska, was impressive in his third-place finish. He chased Arizona’s outstanding duo of Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu the entire race before Lalang pulled away to win in 29:02. Sambu was second in 29:38, with Dunbar crossing the finish line next in 29:43, just a second faster than Stanford’s Joe Roda (29:44). In the unlikely event that the Ducks are not awarded an at-large bid on Saturday, Dunbar is assured a trip to the NCAA Championships by virtue of being one of the top four individuals at the Regional meet.
The Ducks also received a strong performance from junior Parker Stinson. The Austin, Texas, native was seventh in 29:53, and has positioned himself for strong at-large consideration for the NCAA Championships.
Oregon also had sophomore Jeramy Elkaim 32nd in 30:25, with Matthew Melancon, a freshman from Eugene, Ore., right with in 33rd, also timing 30:25. Sophomore Ryan Pickering’s 60th place finish in 30:42 was the Ducks’ final scorer.
“We had our 5-6 guys struggle a little today and we’re disappointed that we didn’t quite get that automatic bid,” Johnson said. “But on the other hand, we found some young guys who were able to step up for us today like Jeramy Elkaim and Matthew Melancon.
“Our overall body of work is pretty strong this season and if we are fortunate enough to get an at-large bid, I think we could surprise some people if we can get those 3-4-5-6 guys all clicking on the same day.”