The Men of Oregon kicked off the 2014 season on the right foot with a win at the Dellinger Invitational on Friday in Alton Baker Park, beating out Michigan State, American and Portland State.
"That was a lot of fun," said Associate Head Coach Andy Powell. "They executed well. We wanted to get about five guys in the top 10, and it was really good to see them all running together."
No. 3 Oregon won the meet thanks to all five of their scoring runners placing in the top 10 overall. As a matter of fact, all seven of Oregon’s runners finished in the top 10, showing just how deep their talent is.
Sophomore Edward Cheserek led the Ducks, winning the 8K race in 24:24, his fourth consecutive win on the cross country course. The win was also the first Dellinger crown for Cheserek.
"I felt great until about 6K, and then every step was death," said Cheserek. "It was like, ‘Whoa, welcome back to cross country.’ I’m glad I did it because it’s good to know where you’re at, especially this early."
Fellow Duck Matthew Melancon was right behind Cheserek, finishing in 24:26. Freshman Travis Neuman had a big collegiate debut, taking fourth overall in 24:31. Seniors Daniel Winn and Eric Jenkins rounded out the scoring for the Ducks, as Winn took fifth overall in 24:35 and Jenkins close behind in eighth in 24:40.
Michigan State took second-place in the meet with 46 points, led by Caleb Rhynard who finished third overall in 24:28. Ben Carruthers also finished among the top 10, placing seventh overall with a time of 24:39.
Nicholas Regan led American with a sixth-place finish in 24:36 as the Eagles took third with 80 points.
Portland State finished fourth with 106 points, led by freshman Alejandro Cisneros who took 18th overall in a time of 26:02.
On the women’s side, No. 6 Michigan State took the win on the 6K course with 20 points, led by a 1-2-3 finish from Rachele Schulist (19:38), Leah O’Connor (19:53) and Lindsay Clark (20:11). The Spartans are a popular pick to win the NCAA title this fall.
"We went out together like we usually do," said Schulist. "The first mile felt good and then I started to grind a little bit and it got hard. I just tried to keep going."
The Oregon women had a disappointing day on Pre’s Trail, finishing third with 68 points. Senior Linday Crevoiserat was Oregon’s lone runner to finish in the top 10 as she placed seventh with a time of 20:23. The heat seemed to take a toll on Crevoiserat as the race went on.
"The first mile in you definitely had to relax," said Crevoiserat. "The last two miles were so hot and your mouth got so dry."
The recorded temperature in Eugene on Friday reached 97 degrees. That kind of heat is just plain dangerous for runners if they don’t hydrate properly.
Portland took second-place with 46 points as three of their runners placed in the top 10 overall.
Oregon State finished fourth with 120 points, led by freshman Sam McKinnon who finished 15th overall in 20:52. Portland State finished fifth with 131 points.
The Ducks will now head east to Boston for the Battle in Beantown on September 26.