Hasay matches Oregon's best-ever finish at NCAA Championships

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Oregon's Jordan Hasay matched the best finish by a Duck in school history to lead the women to their first top-five finish in three years Monday at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Senior Luke Puskedra also impressed by earning his fourth straight All-America award for his sixth-place individual finish in the men's race.

Meanwhile, a pair of former Rogue Valley prep standouts competed, each finishing sixth for their respective teams, one place out of scoring.

Crater graduate Kayleigh Tyerman is a junior for Florida State, which placed fourth in the women's race, one spot ahead of Oregon. She covered 6,000 meters in 21 minutes, 6.1 seconds, placing 108th.

Tyerman transferred from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Drew Jordan, a former North Medford star, runs for Washington State. The Cougars placed 21st in the men's race. The sophomore Jordan placed 220th overall in the 10,000-meter race in 32:05.2.

Oregon coach Vin Lananna praised his standout woman runner.

"Jordan looked great today," he said. "And our two-three-four runners did a wonderful job the whole race. I think (fifth place) is probably as high as the women could have finished today."

Hasay and Villanova senior Sheila Reid waged another entertaining round of their running duels. The two were neck-and-neck the entire race before Reid had just enough at the end to clip Hasay by sixth-tenths of a second.

Reid covered the Lavern Gibson Championship Course in 19:41.2, with Hasay right behind at 19:41.8 in one of the closest finishes in NCAA history.

While the finish went as predicted, the 5,999 meters that preceded it certainly went off script on a damp and cool but mostly calm day in Indiana.

Silje Fjortoft took the women's lead early and still had a gap on a large chase pack of at least 20 runners, including Hasay and Reid, at the midway point.

At the same time, the Ducks were also in solid position halfway home, standing in fourth behind Washington, Villanova and Florida State, with Claire Michel, Bronwyn Crossman and Lanie Thompson running solidly in a pack.

At the 4,000-meter mark, Fjortoft still led, but just by a few paces on the chase pack, which still was large at 12 runners. With 1,000 meters left, the pack swallowed up Fjortoft and the group was 12-wide coming around the final turn.

The pack surged up the final hill, with Hasay and Reid edging in front. Hasay made her move with 300 meters to go, and Reid had just enough in the tank to edge her at the end.

"I gave it all I had," said the junior Hasay. "I told myself the only person I would be OK losing to was Sheila, and I almost got her, but she had another gear.

"She's such a great competitor," said Hasay. "Obviously I would have been happier with the win, but it's hard to be too disappointed with second place."

Hasay's runner-up showing matched the best finish by a Duck woman in school history. Leann Warren also took second in 1981.

The Ducks scored 281 points. Georgetown won with 162 points, followed by Washington at 170, Villanova at 181 and Florida State at 189.

It was Oregon's best finish since placing second in 2008. It was also the Ducks' 16th top-10 finish all-time in 22 NCAA Championship appearances. Oregon finished 12th at the 2010 NCAA meet.

The men's race featured one of the deepest fields in years and the results showed it.

Pac-12 champion Lawi Lalang of Arizona, the pre-meet favorite, won comfortably, going 10,000 meters in 28:44.1.

Puskedra's time was 29:09.3.

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