The fifth annual Bill Dellinger Invitational Cross Country meet returned to its roots Saturday, Pre's Trail in Alton Baker Park.
The 3rd ranked Duck men finished 1,2,3 (Matthew Centrowitz 23:38.11, Luke Puskedra 23:38.13, Danny Mercado 23:42.15).
EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon used a pair of 1-2 finishes to sweep the fifth annual Bill Dellinger Invitational Saturday in Alton Baker Park. Jordan Hasay and Alexandra Kosinski led the second-ranked women, while the No. 3 men actually went 1-2-3 with Matthew Centrowitz leading Luke Puskedra and Danny Mercado across the line to defeat No. 11 Wisconsin.
The Ducks wore special pink uniforms in recognition of Oregon being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Those uniforms will be auctioned on goducks.com later this month.
The Ducks emerged victorious in a terrific battle with Wisconsin as Centrowitz, Puskedra and Mercado took control on the second lap of the 8,000-meter race, edging ahead of a pack of Badger runners. Centrowitz and Puskedra crossed the finish line together, with Centrowitz clocking 23:38.11. The senior from Arnold, Md., became the first Duck to win the men’s individual Dellinger title. Puskedra, a junior from Ogden, Utah, was timed in 23:38.13.
“We knew it would be a two-team race and it played out that way,” said Centrowitz. “In duals, it is important to match up with team’s runners. Have our number one beat theirs, same with the number two and so on. We tried to establish a good rhythm early and let our conditioning take over from there.”
Mercado won a critical battle for third against Wisconsin’s Maverick Darling. The a senior from West Covina, Calif., finished in 23:42.15, with Darling coming in at 23:42.82. He was followed by three Wisconsin teammates, Landon Peacock in 23:44.73, Elliot Krause in 23:45.63 and Reed Connor in 23:50.66.
That left it up to the second pack of Ducks to lock up the race, which they did when junior Chris Kwiatkowski finished ninth in 23:58.75, followed by freshman Parker Stinson in 11th at 24:08.15. For good measure, senior A.J. Acosta was 12th in 24:13.39 and freshman Ben DeJarnette was 13th in 24:14.49.
The Ducks won with 26 points, followed by Wisconsin with 38 points. The University of Guelph from Ontario, Canada, was third with 75 points, Portland and Idaho tied for fourth with 123 points, Willamette was sixth with 171 points and Portland State was seventh with 191 points.
“I think I feel really good about our top three or four guys,” said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. “It seems like every week someone is getting closer to (earning the fifth spot), but we’ll know at the Pac-10’s. Danny Mercado did a fantastic job, he came back alive after having a so-so race at Notre Dame. Coming in and getting 1-2-3 was big. Wisconsin is a good team.”
The first mile went by in 4:45, with several UO and Wisconsin runners in the lead pack. At two miles, there were six pink and white Oregon jerseys, including Centrowitz and Acosta, near the front, with two from Wisconsin and two more from Guelph.
At the three mile mark, where Centrowitz and Puskedra began to assert themselves, the leaders came through at 14:24, while the fourth mile was timed at 18:47.
“It was good bringing everything together, Pre’s Trail, the Dellinger, and seeing him (Bill Dellinger) before the race. There’s a lot of tradition behind it and bringing everything together,” said Puskedra. “We’re working really well together as a team. It’s good to come out here and show what we’ve been doing as a team. It’s a good team atmosphere.”
The second-ranked UO women dominated, placing eight runners in the top 11 to win with 18 points. Guelph was second with 59 points, followed by Idaho (74), Oregon State (105), Portland (134) and Portland State (166).
“Jordan (Hasay) and Alex (Kosinski) looked great today,” said Lananna. “The pack was good. We just need to solidify that, I think we accomplished a lot today.”
Hasay, a sophomore from Arroyo Grande, Calif., won in 19:25.31, with Kosinski, a senior from El Dorado Hills, Calif., next at 19:25.33.
“It was great to come out and win the meet as a team,” said Kosinski. “Jordan and I didn’t know who was coming behind us. When it was just us after awhile, we felt confident in ourselves to just finish strong.
“It is always great to see all the support at home,” said Kosinski. “When you see so many people wearing green and yellow, you know that you can’t be off.”
After Guelph’s Rachel Cliff placed third in 19:50.54, three more Ducks followed, with senior Zoe Buckman taking fourth (20:05.64), sophomore Anne Kesselring placing fifth (20:08.34) and freshman Lanie Thompson finishing sixth (20:09.88).
The Ducks also saw junior Bronwyn Crossman take ninth in 20:33.39, junior Claire Michel claim 10th in 20:37.91 and sophomore Becca Friday place 11th in 20:46.61. Freshman Sarah Andrews, running unattached, was 12th in 20:46.99.
The lead trio of Hasay, Kosinski and Cliff remained the same throughout the race. The first mile went by in 5:11, while the two mile split was 10:34. Hasay and Kosinski headed to the three-mile mark at 15:54 before turning for the finish line.
“My goal was to stay up in front and stay relaxed,” said Hasay. “We need to be tough through the middle for the Pac-10. Our freshmen are great and share the same excitement; we are ready to work hard together. Everyone had a great race.”