The No. 1-ranked Stanford Cardinal took home the 2009 Men’s Pac-10 Cross Country Championship at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach, Calif., with sophomore Chris Derrick pacing the field while setting a Pac-10 record of 22:35.41.
“The team definitely had big goals going into this race. We came in very team oriented and wanted to unseat our rivals from the north [Oregon]. I just kept pushing and was thrilled to be able to lead my team today,” said Derrick.
Stanford came out of the gates strong and finished big, posting four finishers in the top seven en route to winning the crown with 28 points. Oregon, who had won the championship the past three years, finished second with 45 points. Arizona State came in third (88), followed by Washington (119), UCLA finished fifth (122), Washington State came in sixth (163), California in seventh (180) and Arizona (193) rounding out the field.
Individually, Derrick took the championship with his Pac-10 record-setting time of 22:35.41 and was followed by senior Brandon Bethke of Arizona State (22:41.43). In third and fourth were Stanford’s Elliott Heath (22:52.01) and Oregon’s Luke Puskedra (23:05.04), respectively.
Finishing fifth was Oregon’s Matthew Centrowitz (23:09.35), in sixth was Stanford’s Jake Riley (23:12.71), in seventh Stanford’s Justin Marpole-Bird (23:13.67), finishing eighth was Oregon’s Jordan McNamara (23:21.14), UCLA’s Marco Anzures in ninth (23:24.50), and rounding out the top 10 was the Huskies’ Kelly Spady (23:25.62).
In front of a great crowd, the Cardinal looked strong from the starting gun, having three runners in the top five for majority of the race. Oregon’s Puskedra, a three-time All American, took an early lead, with Bethke of ASU holding strong in second for most of the race. Derrick was able to push his way up to the lead pack, keeping patient on the course which featured many turns.
He got by Puskedra and Bethke to pull into first, and then opened up a lead on the field. With an average mile time of 4:32.7, Derrick never looked back and sprinted to his first-place finish, shattering the previous Pac-10 meet-record time of 22:55.14, set by Oregon’s Galen Rupp in last year’s championship.
With the 2009 title, Cardinal have won seven of the last 10 Pac-10 Championships.
Head Coach Jason Dunn said of the Championship, “We are really excited about this. It is nice to see Stanford get back on the podium. We knew it would be a fast race and we prepared for every situation. The goal was to go out there and run and compete as a team.”
“I am really happy for Chris [Derrick],” Dunn continued. “He is a champion at heart and very fun to coach. We are thrilled to have both champions, but we know this is only the beginning and we are looking forward to NCAAs.”