The Oregon men and women were almost both unanimous picks as the No. 1 teams in the nation in the preseason cross country national rankings released recently.
The Oregon men will go for consecutive NCAA championships in Terre Haute on Nov. 24, while the women’s team will look to improve on its second-place finish last year.
The Ducks’ men’s team, coached by Vin Lannana got all 12 first-place votes, but the women’s team received 10 out of 12.
In the men’s poll, Oregon was followed by Oklahoma State, Colorado, Iona and Alabama in the top 5. All of those teams have stated plans to compete in the massive Pre-Nationals races Oct. 18 in Terre Haute.
From the Great Lakes region, Wisconsin was sixth and Michigan eighth. Indiana University was voted just outside the top 30 at 33rd.
Indiana State, picked third in the Missouri Valley Conferenc, was left out of the Great Lakes regional rankings.
On the women’s side, Florida State was picked No. 2 in the nation, followed by Washington, three-time defending national champion Stanford and Arizona State.
• The Indiana State men’s and women’s cross country teams are off until Oct. 3, when they face off against many top teams around the nation in the Notre Dame Invitational.
• Hamilton runs strong — Running for the University of Indianapolis, freshman Amy Hamilton had a strong performance in her first Indiana Intercollegiates on Sept. 19.
The Terre Haute North graduate took 23rd place out of 159 runners, running the course at the Indiana University Golf Course in a time of 19 minutes, 17 seconds.
She was just 15 seconds behind former North teammate Kayla Alexander, who was Indiana State’s No. 2 finisher.
• Former college standouts team up — The Ragnar Relay Series includes several long relay races.
By long, we’re talking 205 miles of constant running.
Several Terre Haute residents formed the Michelob Ultra team and ran a course-record time in the Great River event, which spans from Lacrosse, Wis., to Minneapolis.
The team of 12 finished in 20 hours, 41 minutes and 23 seconds, maintaining a pace of 6:04 per mile. Their closest competitor in the male division was almost two hours slower.
A cast of former collegiate runners were among the 12: Jeff Andrew (Indiana State), Justin Kunz (Indiana State), Jeremy Kunz (Indiana State), Annie Gasway (Indiana State), Aaron Hoover (Ball State), Scot Mullins (Vincennes).
The others were Terre Haute’s Tom Dever, who recently ran the fastest half-marathon for his 50-and-over age group. Tim Fears, Mike Urban, Tim Monaghan, Gary Ronesser, who is a five-time Indy Mini winner, and Dave Zeisler.
Each person ran three legs, but the teams could decide how long each runner ran. The Michelob Ultra team ranked their runners according to ability, getting the most miles to the best runners.
For running at night, a headlamp and safety vest with flashers was required.
• Terre Haute 10 miler — On Sept. 20, Tim Monaghan won the Terre Haute 10 Miler sponsored by the Wabash Valley Roadrunners. Monaghan finished in a time of 59 minutes, 7 seconds.
The next WVRR event is the Indiana Fall Classic on Nov. 8 at Hawthorn Park. The 10K race is 75 percent on the trails of the park, and 25 percent pavement.
This will be my first competitive event since the Terre Haute Triathlon on May 31 and my first ever running race. Should be fun.
• On the track — Indiana State’s track at Marks Field was resurfaced over the summer, and the Sycamores are prepared to be a host for the 2009 Missouri Valley Conference Championships.
Indiana State has not had a home track meet since 2005. The Sycamores will also have the ISU Invitational and Pacesetter Invitational in the spring.
“It should hold us for several more years now,” said men’s coach John McNichols, who pointed out that the last time the Sycamores were host to the MVC meet in 2001, the men won the title. “It’s definitely a home advantage and hopefully we have a strong enough team to make another run at it this spring.”
Craig Pearson can be reached by phone at (812) 231-4357 or by e-mail at