Senior trio leads Oregon to first national championship in 25 years
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Led by seniors Jordan Hasay, Alexi Pappas and Katie Conlon, Oregon captured its first NCAA national title since 1987 on Saturday at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
"In one way or another every runner for Oregon stepped up and ran in a way they hadn't before," head coach Robert Johnson said. "I am so proud of our women's team and the job done by assistant coach Maurica Powell.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring this national title back home to the state of Oregon."
Hasay led an impressive pack of Ducks who were in the race's top 50 nearly the entire 6,000 meter distance. Oregon ended up dominating with 114 points, followed by Providence with 183, Stanford with 198 and Florida State with 202.
Hasay looked strong in the lead pack throughout, only falling to Iowa State's Betsy Saina and Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth at the tape. After a sprint to the finish, Saina was the 2012 individual champion in 19:27.9, followed by D'Agostino and Hasay both in 19:28.6.
"I wanted to win, but I wanted to the team to win more, so I'm pretty happy about that," Hasay said. "We've been trying to win this meet ever since my freshman year, so it's great to be able to do it with these girls who have been supporting each other for so long."
|2012 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP|
Hasay willed her teammates around the course in impressive fashion. Pappas, a transfer from Dartmouth, ran just a step off the lead pack the entire race, and finished eighth in 19:43.9.
"It was a fast race," Pappas said. "I just kept pushing and tried to the do the best I could for the team."
Conlon, a transfer from NAIA Jamestown College in North Dakota, had been the Ducks' fifth or sixth runner during the regular season, but put on a strong kick during the final third of the race, passing a couple dozen runners to place 39th in 20:15.0.
Then it was freshman Allie Woodward coming to the line as Oregon's fourth runner. She was 44th overall in 20:19.5. Freshman Annie Leblanc capped the scoring for the Ducks, finishing 68th in 20:31.5
Initially, the Ducks' were not awarded their first title in 25 years. Due to a timing error in the results, Providence was first credited with the win. Almost immediately, it became apparent that Pappas and other runners had been omitted from the final standings. After about 30 minutes the results were corrected and Ducks were crowned the national champions.
"It was a bit of a rollercoaster there," Conlon said. "But we knew we ran a good, strong race. It was kind of a shock when they said we didn't win, but now, we're good. I guess never really let myself think about winning a national championship. It's pretty amazing."
It is the third NCAA women's cross country title in school history. The other came in 1987 and 1983 under coach Tom Heinonen.
Overall, it is the 20th NCAA championship in Oregon's history, 19 of which have come in track or cross country.