Saturday, October 29, 2016


Oct. 28, 2016
Grant Fisher captures second at Pac-12 Championships
TUCSON, Ariz. – Sophomore Grant Fisher placed second at the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships to pace Stanford to a runner-up men’s finish at Randolph North Golf Course on Friday.
Stanford’s 47 points were its lowest since 2010, but not enough to catch Colorado, which scored 41. Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won an unprecedented fourth Pac-12 title, running 23:58.9 over the 8K (4.97-mile) course, with Fisher breaking away from a chase pack to finish in 24:13.5.
The Stanford women, led by Vanessa Fraser in eighth, were third with 83 points, behind Colorado (33) and Washington (74). Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale won a duel with Colorado’s Erin Clark for the individual title.
Although Cheserek made a big move to gap the field with about 2 kilometers to go, Stanford had three runners in the chase pack. Besides Fisher, Sean McGorty was seventh and freshman Thomas Ratcliffe was eighth in his collegiate debut. Garrett Sweatt was 14th and Steven Fahy 16th.
“Today was a good show of our depth,” Fisher said. “The points we lost, we can make up at a larger meet. We’re confident we’re going to get better by the week.
“We’re happy with our performance, but we’re looking to do even better at NCAA’s.”
Ratcliffe was the wild card. Coach Chris Miltenberg, Stanford’s Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field, feels Ratcliffe’s potential is largely untapped. When Ratcliffe won the Stanford Invitational on Oct. 1 while running unattached to preserve a possible redshirt year, it was his first cross country race since middle school. He played soccer in the fall at Concord-Carlisle (Mass.) Regional High School, but still was talented enough to run a 4:01 mile without year-round training.
“When I looked around the pack with 1K to go and saw Thomas, it was definitely a confidence booster,” Fisher said. “He ran incredibly well. He’s made awesome progress.”
Fisher said, “everyone knew Ches was going to take control of the race. I tried not to make too many rash decisions or move around too much.”
By staying patient and tucking himself deep into the pack, Fisher found he had a lot left down the stretch to win the race within the race, the first behind Cheserek. Fisher gave Stanford its fourth consecutive individual top-three finish, following McGorty’s second in 2015, Joe Rosa’s third in 2014, and Jim Rosa’s second in 2013.
The men have finished among the top three teams for 22 consecutive years, and beat Cal at this meet for the 29th consecutive time.
The Stanford women extended their Pac-12 streak over the Golden Bears to 26, and also benefited from a strong collegiate debut, from freshman Fiona O’Keeffe. She was 11th and finished as the Cardinal’s No. 2 runner. She was among three Stanford freshmen in the top 20, with Christina Aragon 14th and Ella Donaghu 20th.
“Across the board, the women ran with total confidence in themselves,” said Stanford women’s coach Elizabeth DeBole. “We knew we could be really good if we ran as a team – together, together, together. And that’s exactly what we did the second half of the race.”
Stanford was without ace Elise Cranny, the 2014 Pac-12 runner-up and a six-time All-America, because of injury. However, Fraser has picked up the slack as the team’s No. 1. This was her first top-10 conference finish.
O’Keeffe, whose most recent competition was a meet record-setting performance in the 5,000 meters at the U.S. junior championships in June, “was incredibly tough and didn’t hesitate to put herself up there and race,” DeBole said.
Aragon and Donaghu also looked much smoother than their debut outing at the Pre-Nationals two weeks ago and also seem to be gathering strength and experience for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 19 in Terre Haute, Indiana. First, however, will be the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento on Nov. 11.
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Pac-12 Championships
At Randolph North GC
Men (8K, 4.97 miles)
Team scores – 1, Colorado 41; 2, Stanford 47; 3, UCLA 58; 4, Oregon 94; 5, Washington State 130; 6, California 163; 7, Washington 187; 8, Arizona State 225; 9, Arizona 234.
Individual leaders and Stanford competitors -- 1, Edward Cheserek (Oregon) 23:58.9; 2, Grant Fisher (Stanford) 24:13.5; 3, Ben Saarel (Colorado) 24:16.5; 4, Zach Perrin (Colorado) 24:17.1; 5, Ferdinand Edman (UCLA) 24:18.4; 7, Sean McGorty (Stanford) 24:22.9; 8, Thomas Ratcliffe (Stanford) 24:31.9; 14, Garrett Sweatt (Stanford) 24:48.6; 16, Steven Fahy (Stanford) 24:52.5; 34, Alex Ostberg (Stanford) 25:14.3; 36, Blair Hurlock (Stanford) 25:16.4; 39, Jack Keelan (Stanford) 25:23.4; 47, Sam Wharton (Stanford) 25:36.4.
Women (6K, 3.73 miles)
Team scores – 1, Colorado 33; 2, Washington 74; 3, Stanford 83; 4, Oregon 88; 5, Utah 169; 6, California 184; 7, UCLA 201; 8, Arizona 204; 9, Oregon State 224; 10, Arizona State 236; 11, Washington State 304; 12, USC 375.
Individual leaders and Stanford competitors – 1, Amy-Eloise Neale (Washington) 20:22.9; 2, Erin Clark (Colorado) 20:23.3; 3, Dani Jones (Colorado) 20:24.4; 4, Kaitlyn Benner (Colorado) 20:28.3; 5, Katie Rainsberger (Oregon) 20:30.6; 8, Vanessa Fraser (Stanford) 20:35.2; 11, Fiona O’Keeffe (Stanford) 20:50.5; 14, Christina Aragon (Stanford) 20:58.0; 20, Ella Donaghu (Stanford) 21:18.8; 31, Danielle Katz (Stanford) 21:31.2; 41, Abbie McNulty (Stanford) 21:43.6; 47, Hannah DeBalsi (Stanford) 21:59.1; 57, Sophie Chase (Stanford) 22:15.7; 67, Catherine Pagano (Stanford) 22:30.0.
For more information, contact:
David Kiefer
Athletic Communications
Stanford University
(650) 759-0258, cell

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