NCAA Div 1-Oregon and Washington! Report by Walt Murphy, Notes by Larry Eder


Congratulations to Coach Greg Metcalf and his women's team at Washington. Greg is in his twelfth year of coaching Washington, and his team victory was hard fought! Congratulations to Vinn Lananna and his men's team at Oregon, who not only won the individual title, with Galen Rupp's last 400 meter charge, but the second team victory in a row. Rupp's room mate, Andrew Wheating, was a scorer for the Ducks, in 75th. (Think he is moving up to the 1,500 meters? )

In the end, the final Monday before Thanksgiving has given us an end to the US college season for cross country, with some great battles over the past weekend. I have attached Walt Murphy's commentary on the race and his favorite links, please enjoy!

NCAA Div.I Championships I

Walt Murphy's News and Results Service
X-Country X-Press

(c)Copyright 2008-all rights reserved. May not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.

NCAA Div.I Championships
Terre Haute, IN, 11-24, cold, windy, damp.
Links to stories
Texas Tech-Kipyego
Flotrack Videos

Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech became the first woman to win three NCAA x-country titles with another runaway performance on a cold and windy day in Terre Haute. Florida State's Susan Kuijken stayed with Kipyego through the early stages of the 6k race, but finally yielded and held on for 2nd place. Kipyego joins three legends of the sport who each won three men's titles--Washington's Gerry Lindgren, Oregon's Steve Prefontaine, and Washington State's Henry Rono. The senior nursing student from Kenya now has won eight individual NCAA titles, and could surpass Suzy Favor's record total of nine with a double win at the NCAA Indoor Championships next March (she doesn't have any outdoor eligibilty left)

The University of Washington, the heavy favorite to win the women's team title, had some anxious moments early on as Oregon was the leader after the 2k split and coach Greg Metcalf couldn't spot some of his expected scorers. "Where are they", he asked of no one in particular. Not to worry, though, as Christine Babcock(7th), Kendra Schaaf(12th), Mel Lawrence(25th), Katie Follett(26th), and Amanda Miller came through to give the Huskies their first-ever NCAA team title in track&field or x-country (men & women).

For the 2nd year in a row, Oregon(running without the injured Melissa Grelli) and Florida State finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively with West Virginia picking up its first-ever team trophy in 4th place.

The men's race featured another battle between Oregon's Galen Rupp and a runner from Liberty. Last year, Josh McDougal had the upper hand in a terrific battle with Rupp, and this year's race was almost a carbon copy. Sam Chelanga, who transferred from Fairleigh Dickinson to Liberty after tghe 2006-2007 school year, built a big early lead, much as he had done in the Pre-Nationals held here last month.

Rupp and Duck coach Vin Lananna were prepared for this and the plan was to be patient. Sure enough, Rupp gradually caught up to Chelanga, and the two went-stride-for stride for the latter half of the race. Unlike last year, when Rupp felt he had made his final move too soon, he timed his kick perfectly this time, waiting until the final 200 meters to move away from Chelanga and earn the first NCAA individual title of his career. He also becomes the first Duck to win the NCAA title since 1978, when Alberto Salazar, Rupp's coach since high school, turned the trick.

Rupp got strong top-10 support from freshman Luke Puskedra(5th) and Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott(9th) as Oregon won its 2nd straight team title. The other scorers for coach Lananna were Matthew Centrowitz(45th) and Diego Mercado(54th). Rounding out their top-seven were Kenny Klotz(66th) and Rupp's Olympic teammate, Andy Wheating(75th).

In an ironic battle, Iona and Wisconsin were running 2-3 for most of the race. Mick Byrne had guided Iona to a 2nd-place finish last year, but then took over for Jerry Schumacher at Wisconsin earlier this year. The Gaels, now coached by one of Byrne's former runenrs at the New Rochelle school, Ricardo Santos, held on for its 2nd straight runnerup finish, while the Badgers slipped to 4th behind Stanford, which was led by the 7th-place finish of freshman Chris Derrick.

The other heralded freshman in the race, Oklahoma State's German Fernandez, was moving up in the pack when he went down with an achilles tendon injury with less than a mile to go in the race. Without the expected high finish from Fernandez, the Cowboys, picked by some as the main challenger to Oregon, had to settle for 8th=place in the team standings.

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