EUGENE, Ore. Now in their fourth season under the direction of Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna, the top-ranked Oregon men’s and women’s cross country teams kick their seasons into high gear by hosting the third annual Bill Dellinger Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 4 at Springfield Country Club. The women’s race begins at 10:30 a.m., while the men’s race will go off at 11:15 a.m.

The Dellinger Invitational has become one of the nation’s premier cross country events. With ranked teams and schools from every region of the country slated to run, the 2008 edition carries on that tradition.

The men’s race will feature the defending national champion Oregon Ducks, along with four other squads ranked among the nation’s top 25. Competition should be entertaining among No. 1 Oregon, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 Portland, No. 17 Texas-El Paso and No. 23 Cal Poly, in addition to solid teams from Colorado State, Penn State, UCLA (also receiving votes) and Weber State.

The women’s race has the top-ranked Ducks joined by No. 11 Arkansas, No. 17 Colorado State and No. 23 Brigham Young, in addition to Cal State Fullerton, Penn State (also receiving votes), Portland (also receiving votes), Texas-El Paso and Wake Forest.

Among the 2008 entrants are a number of Dellinger Invitational veterans with top-15 finishes on their resumes. Oregon All-American Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, the 2007 Pac-10 champion, has a pair of top-four finishes in his career: second in 2007 and fourth in 2006. Alabama has two runners who were third and fourth in last year’s race in Emmanuel Bor and Augustus Maiyo, respectively, while David Kinsella of Portland finished 10th in 2007. Oregon’s Daniel Mercado (T15th) and Diego Mercado (T15th) and Troy Swier of Cal Poly (13th) also ran in the top 15 last year.

The women have nearly as many top competitors back, with defending individual champion Nicole Blood of Oregon leading the way. Teammates Alexandra Kosinski (third) and Keara Sammons (ninth) had top-10 showings in 2007, while Brigham Young’s Angela Wagner was seventh and Arkansas teammates Christine Kalmer and Jillian Rosen tied for 10th. BYU’s Amy Fowler-Lane is another to watch. She was fifth in the 2006 Dellinger.

From another perspective, several cross country All-Americans are entered in Saturday’s race: Blood, Kosinski, Kiptoo-Biwott, Daniel Mercado and Diego Mercado from Oregon, Maiyo from Alabama, Kinsella from Portland and Japheth Ng’ojoy of Texas-El Paso.

THE WOMEN’S RACE

Details: 6,000 Meters (two loops)

Teams: No. 11 Arkansas, No. 22 Brigham Young, Cal State Fullerton, No. 14 Colorado State, No. 1 Oregon, Penn State, Portland, Texas-El Paso, Wake Forest

THE MEN’S RACE

Details: 8,000 Meters (three loops)

Teams: No. 5 Alabama, No. 21 Cal Poly, Colorado State, No. 1 Oregon, Penn State, No. 7 Portland, UCLA,. No. 12 Texas-El Paso, Weber State

KIDS’ FUN RUN

After the men’s race, kids 12 and under are invited to participate in a brief fun run on the Springfield Course that will conclude at the finish line. Members of the Oregon track and field team will assist with the Kids’ Fun Run that is being co-sponsored by City of Eugene Recreation. The first 25 kids who visit the City of Eugene Recreation table on Saturday will receive a free T-shirt.

AWARDS CEREMONY at 11:50 a.m.

2007 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP POSTER

A limited collector’s edition poster commemorating Oregon’s 2007 NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championship will be handed out to fans on Saturday while supplies last. The poster features All-Americans Galen Rupp and Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, among others, who led the Ducks to their first cross country national title in 30 years.

PARKING

Spectator parking is available at Mohawk Elementary School on Sunderman Road. Free shuttle buses will transport spectators to Springfield Country Club and will run continuously between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Directions to Mohawk Elementary: Take Highway 105/126 East to the 42nd Street/Marcola exit. Turn left on 42nd Street and follow that for 0.4 miles to Marcola Road. Proceed right on Marcola Road for 5.5 miles, going one mile past Springfield Country Club. Turn right on Sunderman Road and Mohawk Elementary will be on the right.

THE COURSE

The Bill Dellinger Invitational is a 2,000 meter loop. The course is laid out on the back nine holes at Springfield Country Club along the Mohawk River. Fans are reminded they are NOT allowed to walk on greens or tee boxes, and are asked to stay off fairways as much as possible. PDFs of the course maps are attached.

THE HISTORY

2007 BILL DELLINGER INVITATIONAL

The Ducks set the 2007 season into high gear in the second annual Bill Dellinger Invitational and swept the team titles against national caliber fields at the scenic Springfield Country Club.

The third-ranked Duck men scored 54 points thanks to five top-20 finishers, Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (second), Carlos Trujillo (ninth), Kenny Klotz (12th), Daniel Mercado (15th) and Diego Mercado (16th). No. 3 Oregon won its second straight men’s team title by 19 points and beat seven other top-25 ranked teams: No. 1 Wisconsin (second, 73), No. 17 Alabama (third, 111), No. 18 Portland (fourth, 137), No. 23 UCLA (fifth, 147), No. 6 Texas-El Paso (sixth, 148), No. 12 Washington (seventh, 176) and No. 13 Cal Poly (eighth, 183).

The women scored an equally impressive win with 65 points and bested a field that included five top-25 ranked teams, returning meet champion and fourth-ranked Arkansas (second, 90), No. 19 Washington (third, 93), No. 18 Colorado State (fourth, 95), No. 23 Brigham Young (fifth, 104) and No. 15 Georgia (sixth, 162). Individually, Nicole Blood cruised away from the 141-women field in the final mile to win the race over Washington’s Katie Follett and Duck teammate Alexandra Kosinski. Two other Ducks finished top in the 25 overall, Keara Sammons (eighth) and Bria Wetsch (21st).

Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ore. (Sept. 29, 2007)

Men (8k)

1, Oregon, 54. 2, Wisconsin, 73. 3, Alabama, 111. 4, Portland, 137. 5, UCLA, 147. 6, Texas-El Paso, 148. 7, Washington, 176. 8, Cal Poly, 183. 9, New Mexico, 221. 10, Ohio State, 292. 11, Colorado State, 302. 12, Duke, 330. 13, Utah State, 343. 14, Marquette, 352. 15, Georgia, 369.

Individual

1, Matt Withrow, Wisconsin, 23:20. 2, Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, Oregon, 23:24. 3, Emmanuel Bor, Alabama, 23:26. 4, Augustus Maiyo, Alabama, 23:30. 5, Austin Ramos, UCLA, 23:37.

Women (6k)

1, Oregon, 65. 2, Arkansas, 90. 3, Washington, 93. 4, Colorado State, 95. 5, Brigham Young, 104. 6, Georgia, 163. 7, Portland, 178. 8, Wake Forest, 187. 9, Marquette, 301. 10, New Mexico, 302. 11, UCLA, 323. T12, Montana, 324; Oregon State, 324. 14, Utah State, 361. 15, Texas-El Paso, 403.

Individual

1, Nicole Blood, Oregon, 20:04. 2, Katie Follett, Washington, 20:17. 3, Alexandra Kosinski, Oregon, 20:24. 4, April Thomas, Colorado State, 20:27. 5, Katie Bowen, Brigham Young, 20:31.

2006 BILL DELLINGER INVITATIONAL

The inaugural Dellinger Invitational held on Pre’s Trail in Alton Baker Park in Eugene saw the No. 17 Oregon men enjoy an upset victory. With 47 points, the Ducks cruised past No. 8 Portland (second, 89), No. 10 BYU (third, 102) and No. 20 Alabama (fourth, 135) for the victory.

Hosting their first home cross country race since 1998, the Ducks put their first five finishers in the top 20 overall Galen Rupp (second), Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (fourth), Diego Mercado (seventh), Ben Stern (15th) and Carlos Trujillo (19th). Overall, in the men’s race eventual NCAA champion Josh Rohatinsky of Brigham Young won the individual title (22:59).

On the women’s side, No. 28-ranked UO placed 10th. Dana Buchanan (31st) led Oregon. Fellow Duck scorers included Zoe Nelson (42nd) and Sarah Pearson (50th). No. 8 Arkansas handily won the team title with 35 points, defeating No. 6 BYU (55) Wake Forest (117) and No. 10 Washington (119). Kassi Anderson of BYU won the women’s 6K chase (19:55) by 16 seconds over 2007 NCAA 5,000 meter champion Michelle Sikes of Wake Forest (20:11).

Pre’s Trail, Alton Baker Park, Eugene, Ore. (Sept. 29, 2006)

Men (8k)

1, Oregon, 47. 2, Portland, 89. 3, Brigham Young, 102. 4, Alabama, 135. 5, Cal Poly, 144. 6, California, 163. T7, Washington, 183; Butler, 183. 9, Texas, 189. 10, Duke, 243. 11, Utah State, 270. 12, American, 325. 13, Wake Forest, 356.

Individual

1, Josh Rohatinsky, Brigham Young, 22:58.37. 2, Galen Rupp, Oregon, 23:09.03. 3, John Moore, Portland, 23:19.09. 4, Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, Oregon, 23:28.18. 5, Scott Overall, Butler, 23:31.41.

Women (6k)

1, Arkansas, 35. 2, Brigham Young, 55. 3, Wake Forest, 117. 4, Washington, 119. 5, Duke, 132. 6, Butler, 158. 7, Indiana, 170. 8, California, 179. 9, Portland, 231. 10, Oregon, 247. 11, Utah State, 264.

Individual

1, Kassi Anderson, Brigham Young, 19:54.09. 2, Michelle Sikes, Wake Forest. 20:10.91. 3, Emily McCabe, Duke, 20:31.68. 4, Dani Parry, Arkansas, 20:39.99. 5, Amy Fowler, Brigham Young, 20:43.43.

COACHING LEGEND BILL DELLINGER

The meet is named for legendary University of Oregon track and field coach Bill Dellinger. The Springfield, Ore., native and two-time Olympic champion for the Ducks was a three-time Olympian and won a bronze medal in the 5,000 meters at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He set two world indoor records and six American records during his career and in cross country, never lost a race at the high school, collegiate or post-collegiate level. As Oregon’s cross country coach from 1968-98, Dellinger guided the Ducks to four NCAA men’s titles and 12 top-three finishes. He also counted 13 conference and four district titles. Athletes under his mentorship received 45 cross country All-America honors and won eight Pac-8/Pac-10 championship and six regional crowns.

RANKINGS

The Oregon men were ranked No. 1 in the second USTFCCCA poll of the season (Sept. 30), meaning that the Ducks will have retained the No. 1 spot for a full calendar year. The Men of Oregon first moved into that position on Oct. 2, 2007.

The UO women also continued to rank at the top of the poll. The Ducks earned their first ever No. 1 ranking in the preseason poll two weeks ago. The Pac-10 continued to dominate the women’s poll with four of the top seven spots held by league members: No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Washington, No. 5 Stanford and No. 7 Arizona State.

LOOKING AHEAD

Next on the fall schedule, the Ducks are entered in a pair of meets on Oct. 13: the Pre-NCAA Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., and the Mike Hodges Invitational at Clackamas Community College. The Pre-NCAA Invitational will be run on the same course as the 2008 NCAA Championships will be held on Nov. 24. That’s the same course where the Oregon men won and Oregon women placed second at the 2007 NCAA Championships.

A LOOK AT THE DEFENDING NCAA CHAMPIONS, RUNNERS-UP

Oregon’s 2008 cross country roster features an impressive collection of talent and experience. Combined, the two teams have 12 All-Americans and 13 of their top 14 runners back from the 2007 NCAA Championship race.

On the men’s side, 2008 Olympians Galen Rupp and Andrew Wheating are joined by fellow All-Americans Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (the 2007 Pac-10 Champion), A.J. Acosta, Kenny Klotz, Daniel Mercado and Diego Mercado. For the women, the All-Americans are both familiar -- Nicole Blood, Zoe Buckman and Alexandra Kosinski -- and new in graduate transfer students Melissa Grelli (Georgetown) and Lindsey Scherf (Harvard).

Though experience alone will not win championships, Oregon is arguably the most veteran team in the nation this season with the top seven men’s competitors back from last season’s NCAA title run: Rupp, Kiptoo-Biwott, Diego Mercado, Daniel Mercado, Klotz, Acosta and Scott Wall, as well as six of the top seven for the women: Blood, Kosinski, Buckman, Bria Wetsch, Zoe Nelson and Brooke Giuffre. Sarah Pearson was the only graduate off the 2007 team for the women.

The Ducks also have upper-class leadership with four seniors in both the men’s program: Kiptoo-Biwott, Rupp, Wall and Chris Winter, and women’s program: Mattie Bridgmon, Grelli, Nelson and Scherf.

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