With a Pac-12 title already in its trophy case, the second-ranked Oregon women’s cross country team is gearing up for a run at a national championship next week.
But first they must officially get qualified for the big race.
The Ducks will compete at the NCAA West Regional meet Friday at the Haggins Golf Complex in Sacramento with the top-two team finishers there, as well as at the other eight regional meets around the country, earning automatic spots in the Nov. 17 NCAA championship meet in Madison, Wis. Thirteen other teams will earn at-large berths.
The No. 11 Oregon men will also be looking to lock down their spot in the national championship meet.
The women’s 6,000-meter race is at 11 a.m. and the men, who move up to 10,000 meters for the first time this season, are scheduled to race at noon.
The Oregon women are ranked No. 1 in the region, which consists of 38 teams. They’ve entered 10 runners, including all five scorers from the last month’s dominant performance at the Pac-12 championship meet.
Senior Jessica Hull was the conference runner-up, with seniors Weronika Pyzik (fourth), Susan Ejore (sixth), Carmela Cardama Baez (eighth) and junior Isabelle Brauer (12th) rounding out the 32-point win.
Also entered Friday are Phily Bowden, Amanda Gehrich, Rennie Kendrick and freshmen Taylor Chiotti and Melissa Berry, though only a maximum of seven individuals will be allowed to race for each team.
Among the competition will be teams from No. 3 Boise State, No. 6 Stanford, No. 17 Washington and No. 19 Portland, as well as Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State.
The Oregon men are coming off a fourth-place finish at the Pac-12 meet and are ranked fifth in the 32-team West Region behind No. 4 Portland, No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 Washington and No. 9 Boise State. No. 22 Washington State and No. 24 UCLA also have teams entered, as do Arizona, Arizona State and California.
The Ducks have entered 11 runners, including sophomore Cooper Teare, who led the Ducks at the Pac-12 meet with a sixth-place finish. Jackson Mestler (12th), Charlie Hunter (16th), James West (31st) and Levi Thomet (32nd) also scored for Oregon.
The other entrants are Reed Brown, Blake Haney, Jack Yearian, Austin Tamagno, Seth Berdahl and Carter Christman.