01 NOV 2010 General News

Hasay cruises to Pac-10 title, Chelanga dominates in Blacksburg - NCAA Conference champs round-up

Samuel Chelanga of Liberty wins the men's 2009 NCAA XC title (Kirby Lee)Samuel Chelanga of Liberty wins the men's 2009 NCAA XC title (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
Dominating victories by Jordan Hasay and Samuel Chelanga were among the key highlights on a busy NCAA conference championships weekend.

Hasay, a former World youth 1500m silver medallist and twice World junior fourth place finisher in the event, took the lead for good at the 5000m mark to win the 6Km race at the Pac-10 Championships at Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course on Saturday (30) in 19:44.95, nearly five seconds clear of Stanford’s Kathy Kroeger.

It was the first conference title in any sport for Hasay who is still 19.

"I'm really pleased," said Hasay, who also finished ninth in the 3000m at the World Junior Championships in Moncton in July. "I would have been happier with the team win because that's what cross country is all about. But I'm just honoured that I could bring the individual title back to Oregon."

The day however belonged to traditional powerhouse Stanford who swept the men’s and women’s team titles for the first time since 2005. 

On the women’s side, Stanford edged Arizona by just three points, 62 to 65, with Oregon and Washington tallying 68. It was the closest ever team battle in conference history.

In the men’s 8Km contest, Elliott Heath, Jake Riley and Chris Derrick crossed the line virtually simultaneously to give Stanford a 1-2-3 finish to easily hoist the team trophy over Oregon, 25 points to 56.

The weekend marked the final major outings for U.S. student athletes prior to the NCAA Regional Championships, which will be held on 13 November. The Division I, or large university, national championships take place on Monday 22 November in Terre Haute.

Chelanga primed for national title defence

Kenyan Chelanga, the reigning NCAA champion in Cross Country and the 10,000m, had an easy time at the Big South Conference championships in Blacksburg, taking his third straight title by more than 30 seconds over compatriot and Liberty University teammate Evans Kigen.

Last season, Chelanga, 25, took the national Cross Country title by more than 25 seconds, the largest victory margin in 13 years. He followed up on the track last spring with a 27:08.39 performance over 10,000m, the fastest ever by a runner in the NCAA ranks and currently the fourth fastest in 2010. He later claimed the NCAA 10,000m title and finished second in the 5000m.

Meanwhile, setting the stage for an interesting rematch later this month, Australian David McNeill, who finished second to Chelanga at last year’s Cross Country championships and beat the Kenyan in the 5000m at the NCAA championships in June, defended his title at the Big Sky Conference championships (30) in Cheney to lead Northern Arizona to victory in the team race.

Ethiopian Girma Mecheso led a top-four sweep in the men’s race to give Oklahoma State a lopsided victory at the Big 12 championships in Stillwater on Saturday (30). The 22-year-old, who took the 2008 Southeast conference title while at Auburn University, edged teammate and mile standout German Fernandez over the 8Km course by just over a second in 23:56.94.

Kenyan Rose Tanui dominated the women’s race winning by 14 seconds to lead Texas Tech to their third straight women’s title.

At the Big East championships (30) in Syracuse, Lee Carey of Great Britain took the men's 8Km title for Providence College while Canadian Sheila Reid took the women's 6Km title for Villanova, leading her squad to the team title. Host Syracuse won the men's team crown.

Florida State swept the team titles at the Atlantic Coast Conference championships (30) in Boston, with Emil Heineking of Virginia and Laura Hoer, a freshman from North Carolina State, taking the individual victories.

Victories by Donn Cabral and Alex Finch led Princeton to a sweep at the Ivy League Championships (29) in The Bronx, New York, while individual wins by Kenyan Leonard Korir and Heidi Gregson of Australia gave Iona College a sweep at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships (29) in Madison, Connecticut.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF