Sports

Hasay takes third at NCAA cross country championships

Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, center, finished third in the women's race in 20 minutes, 13 seconds at the NCAA cross country championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Villanova’s Shelia Reid, right, won the race. Photo by Kirby Lee
Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, center, finished third in the women's race in 20 minutes, 13 seconds at the NCAA cross country championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Villanova’s Shelia Reid, right, won the race. Photo by Kirby Lee Image of Sport

Former Mission Prep standout Jordan Hasay finished third Monday morning at the NCAA women’s cross country national championships held at LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

Hasay, an Arroyo Grande native now running for Oregon, completed the 6,000-meter race in 20 minutes, 13 seconds.

Winds were gusting at 15 to 20 miles per hour.

“It was crazy,” Hasay, a sophomore, told reporters about the breezy conditions. “I tried to get behind people blocking the wind.

“Right after 3K, I kind of felt it and I just tried to suck it up for the last (kilometer),” she added. “I gave it everything I had — no regrets.”

Hasay and Ducks teammate Alex Kosinski found themselves in the lead pack at the halfway point of the race, along with Villanova’s Sheila Reid, Georgetown’s Emily Infeld and UTEP’s Risper Kimaiyo.

Then, entering the final 1,000 meters, Hasay, Reid and Infeld separated themselves from the field, and Hasay shortly held the lead around the last turn.

Reid ended up winning in 20:06.9. Infeld finished second at 20:09.2. The top 40 individual finishers earned All-American honors.

“Right when we turned, I just tried to go for it,” Hasay told The Oregonian newspaper. “I felt good. Halfway down the stretch, it hit me and I felt my legs going. I was just trying to give it everything I had, and I did that.”

Hasay’s finish tied two others for the best by an Oregon woman since 1981, when Leann Warren placed as the national runner-up.

“She did a great job,” Ducks head coach Vin Lananna told The Oregonian of Hasay’s performance. “She only knows one way to run, and that’s to win.

“It’s her goal to win everything she ever runs. She’s such a great competitor. That (race) could have gone to any of the three (runners at the finish).”

Villanova won the team title for the second season in a row. Florida State was second and Texas Tech was third. Oregon finished 12th.

Hasay had recently won Pac-10 Conference and NCAA West Regional titles. She was also Oregon’s top runner at last year’s national championships, finishing 18th at 20:23.

After her prolific Mission Prep career, Hasay was named the eighth-best national high school athlete of the 2000s by ESPN.

In the men’s race, Oklahoma State runners and their coach basked in victory this time.

Teammates at the finish chanted, “OSU, OSU” when it became obvious that the Cowboys had repeated as men’s team champions.

“Last year I was just relieved,” Oklahoma State coach Dave Smith said. “I was so stressed going in, and felt the pressure.”

Samuel Chelanga, a Kenyan representing Liberty won the race.

Florida State was second in the men’s standings, scoring 193 behind Oklahoma State’s 73. Wisconsin was third with 223 and Stanford fourth with 237.

Oklahoma State placed five men in the top 40 to turn what was projected to be a duel with top-ranked Stanford into a runaway. Girma Mecheso was seventh, German Fernandez eighth, Colby Lowe ninth, Tom Farrell 29th and Johnathan Stublaski 36th.

The Cowboys were among pre-race favorites in 2008 but stumbled to eighth. Last year’s championship was their first since 1954.

“This year, I think we learned from the last two years,” Smith said. “How to do it, and how not to do it.”

He said the Cowboys featured a “3-1-3” formation with three front-runners, Farrell in the middle and three others trailing. The windy conditions contributed to their victory, Smith said, because the lead pack never separated far from the others.

Chelanga, in repeating as individual winner, said he was expecting a windy day.

“I saw it not as a problem. Just a challenge,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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