The rise of Oregon back to the top of the heap in both Men’s and women’s cross country mirrors the rise of Stanford a decade ago under Vinn Lananna…
Oregon is a university with some serious alums who take track and field and cross country very seriously. They also take their traditions of winning very seriously. I remember a cover of RW in the late 70’s and the school, for distance runners, in this
country ( several might disagree) was Oregon. In 1978, the team was Rudy Chapa, Alberto Salazar, Steve McChesney, Jim Hill, among others. It was a strong team and that was the last time Oregon won the NCAA cross country champs.
This year, with a very young team, Oregon took the men’s, under the leadership of Galen Rupp, and also took second on the women’s side. Do I hear dynasty here? Well, there are a few schools that will challenge-Colorado, Wisconsin, Stanford, Oklahoma State, to name a few, but the stakes will get more and more interesting.
The rumor mill is rampant when Rupp will go pro. I would like to throw the contrarian approach. I hope that Galen Rupp finishes Oregon as a Duck. I think that he is developing fine, and hope that he gets to be a college undergrad, even though he may be the next great American distance runner.
Athletes need to learn to be human beings too. Go to parties once in a while, goof off, be one of the guys. It is important in their development as a human being as well. What life has told us this past few months is that life is precious, fleeting and something to savor.
I enjoyed seeing Oregon win and the absolute happiness of the men’s team after their win! That is real and that is something one never forgets. But, it also gives Galen Rupp and his merry band of harriers something to come back for next year…
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