Oregon cross country to kick off season at Bill Dellinger Invitational

Oregon’s cross country teams are kicking their seasons off this Friday at the ninth annual Bill Dellinger Invitational held at Alton Baker Park.

The Ducks’ lone home meet of the season will feature a duel between the No. 2 Ducks’ women’s team and No. 6 Michigan State, as well as the 2014 cross country debut of the defending national champion Edward Cheserek.

Despite the attractive matchup on slate, Oregon doesn’t plan on pushing things too hard this early in the season, especially with the team leaving for its annual preseason training camp in Sun River on Sunday. But with only one home meet this season, the team couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run in front of their fans.

“If you talk to the guys and the girls on the team, they all want to run this meet,” assistant coach Andy Powell said. “Typically we don’t open up our guys too early in the season, but everyone wants to run at home.”

Senior Eric Jenkins, who is making his cross country debut on Friday, is amongst the Ducks in favor of home meets.

“It’s nice to not have to travel too much and to just go out there and run in front of the home crowd,” Jenkins said. “It would be nice to maybe have a few more home meets, especially since track has a lot of home meets.”

Although Jenkins is excited to get things underway, he noted that the team would be running the meet at controlled pace.

“Expectations aren’t too high yet,” Jenkins said. “We’re just shaking off the cobwebs. As far as cross country running goes: working as a team and pack running. It’s going to be a good hard effort, but we’re just gearing up towards the more important races later on.”

Redshirt freshman Alli Cash is also making her cross country debut at Alton Baker Park, and thinks her team’s high preseason ranking is warranted.

“We have a lot of pieces,” Cash said. “Once we put them together, I think we can go places.”

The men’s meet will also feature a reunion between former Oregon assistant coach Bill Dellinger and his former pupil Matt Centrowitz, who is now the head coach at American University.

“Matt Centrowitz was one of (Dellinger’s) all time favorites,” Powell said. “It means a lot for them to come all this way.”

The women’s race gets underway at 5:45 p.m. while the men’s race is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m.

Follow Josh Schlichter on Twitter @joshschlichter

Read more here: http://dailyemerald.com/2014/09/03/oregon-cross-country-to-kick-off-season-at-bill-dellinger-invitational/
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