Stanford (Mike Atchoo) cross-country teams advance to the NCAA finals
Provided by Stanford
Big performances at the West Regionals on Friday in Sacramento lifted both the Stanford men's and women's cross-country teams into the NCAA Championships.
The men won their fourth title in five years with a late charge and the women were a stunning second after entering the meet as a bubble team for an NCAA at-large spot.
The top two teams in each of the nation's nine regional meets earned automatic bids to the nationals on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind., and Stanford extends its NCAA champion appearance streaks to 21 for the women and 20 for the men.
The Cardinal men were fourth with a mile to go on the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) course at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, but rallied past leader Oregon down the stretch by placing three among top six. The No. 4-ranked Ducks were second with 64 points and No. 10 Portland was third with 92.
Stanford junior Jim Rosa (29:43) followed Oregon's Edward Cheserek (29:35) across the finish line in a repeat of their Pac-12 championship finish on Nov. 2. Rosa was followed by teammates Erik Olson ( third, 29:48), Michael Atchoo (sixth, 29:54), freshman Sean McGorty ( 12th, 29:57) and Garrett Sweatt (31st , 30:35) among the scorers for the No. 6-ranked Cardinal.
The Stanford women, ranked as the fifth-best team in the region, were aggressive and held their position throughout the race. Pac-12 champion Aisling Cuffe was third and Jessica Tonn sixth, but the Cardinal needed strong performances from its Nos. 3-5 runners for a chance to advance. Stanford got them as Megan Lacy (20th, 20:09), Cami Chapus (26th, 20:16), and Molly McNamara (39th, 20:33) each finished in the top 40.
Perhaps surprising given its ninth-place at Pre-Nationals and fifth at Pac-12's, Stanford finished only 10 points from No. 1-ranked and Pac-12 champion Arizona (84 points to 94). The Cardinal earned substantial victories over Oregon (120), USF (140), and Washington (162) -– each of which entered the meet ranked above the Cardinal.
Cuffe clocked 19:15 over the 6-kilometer (3.73-mile) course and Tonn finished in 19:31. It was the highest finish for each in this meet. Cuffe trailed only Boise State's Emma Bates (19:11), who edged Cuffe by one second to win the Pre-Nationals on Oct. 19, and Arizona State's Shelby Houlihan (19:14).
This is the 20th consecutive season Stanford sends both its men's and women's teams to nationals.
— Stanford Athletics