This week has been one for the books for men’s and women’s cross country. Last Friday, both teams competed in the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships, where the men placed first and women finished fourth. The men’s champion title marks their fourth Pac-12 championship win in six years. The Cardinal women’s team was the only team to place eight runners in the top 35. The 2022 Pac-12 cross country honors were announced on Wednesday following the event, with Stanford sweeping the men’s awards.
Senior Charles Hicks was named the Pac-12 Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row — becoming the first person in the conference to do so since Stanford’s own Grant Fisher in 2017 and 2018. With Hicks’ impressive records, the team finished with 22 points, the third lowest mark in Pac-12 history. They had a 39-point victory over Colorado, the largest gap since Stanford’s win in the 2003 championship.
Finishing 19th overall in the championship, redshirt freshman Robert DiDonato was named this year’s Men’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year. He is the sixth Stanford athlete to win this award, with Charles Hicks being awarded this honor in 2020. Earlier this season, DiDonato won the Sacramento State Invitational and placed second at the USF Invitational, his first collegiate race.
Freshman Riley Stewart joins an impressive lineup of Cardinal athletes as the Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year. Despite it being her debut season, she finished fourth out of Cardinal runners and 24th overall in the Pac-12 championship. This is Stewart’s first honor as a Stanford athlete, but winning is not a foreign feeling to her — the Colorado runner won more than 10 state titles in high school.
Not only were Stanford athletes selected for awards, but assistant coach Ricardo Santos was honored as the Pac-12 Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. This is his second time winning this award, after being named in 2021 for his role in leading the Cardinal to the championship title. With his coaching, the men’s cross country team is currently ranked No. 1 in the country.
Following their performance at the Pac-12 Championships, men’s and women’s cross country is set to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Regionals in Seattle on Nov. 11.