Men’s, women’s cross country enter NCAA Championships ranked fourth

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For the 27th consecutive year, Stanford men’s and women’s cross country teams will both compete on the national stage at the NCAA Championships after reigning supreme and claiming the team titles at the Pac-12 Championships on March 5. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams enter the meet as No. 4 in the nation, per the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings. BYU, Northern Arizona and Arkansas sit above the men’s team, while Arkansas, New Mexico and BYU hold the top three spots in the women’s rankings. 

For the last four years, both Stanford teams have raced to top-six team finishes, with the women’s team boasting four consecutive top-five finishes.

Senior Ella Donaghu has paced the Cardinal women through two regular season meets and the conference championship, while freshman Zofia Dudek has operated as the No. 2 runner for Stanford, finishing six seconds or fewer behind Donaghu in each competition. To open the season, Donaghu and Dudek delivered a 1-3 finish at the FSU Winter Classic separated by just two seconds. 

At the Pac-12 Championships in Washington, Donaghu charged ahead to a 19:09.0 mark, good enough for second place, while Dudek cruised in at 19:14.9. Senior Julia Heymach, senior Jessica Lawson and fifth-year Christina Aragon rounded out Cardinal scoring at the meet, coming in at fourth, ninth and 12th, respectively. 

The men’s team claimed five of the top nine spots at the Pac-12 Championships to finish with 28 total points, well ahead of second-place Colorado’s 60. Redshirt freshman Charles Hicks led the Cardinal men, racing to a second-place individual result in the men’s 8k. Hicks’ 22:41.6 mark was 11 seconds behind Colorado athlete Eduardo Herrera’s winning time. 

Freshman Cole Sprout earned fourth place, while fifth-year Alek Parsons finished on his heels in fifth. Freshman Ky Robinson and senior Callum Bolger came in at eighth and ninth, respectively, to round out the Cardinal’s top five. 

Parsons was named the Pac-12 Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Donaghu earned the respective women’s award. The honor is given to one athlete from each of the 24 Pac-12 sponsored sports who stands out in both academics and athletics. 

Monday morning’s NCAA Championship races will be held at the Oklahoma State University Cross Country Course in Stillwater. The women’s 6k race is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. PT, and the men’s 8k will follow at 10:40 a.m. PT.

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Savanna Stewart is a managing editor in the Sports section. She is a junior from Twin Bridges, Montana studying Political Science and Communication and enjoys running and playing basketball. Contact her at sstewart 'at' stanforddaily.com.