Oct. 27, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Pilots captured the 2012 title by edging the second-place Brigham Young Cougars by one point at the 2012 WCC Men's Cross Country Championships, which was raced for the first time ever at Fernhill Park on Saturday. The Pilots have won 33 of the past 34 WCC conference titles after BYU claimed the team title in 2011.
The Pilots and Cougars exchanged leads several times during the 8k race, but it was ultimately Portland's fifth finisher, senior Jared Bassett, who clinched the team title by crossing the finish line six seconds ahead of BYU's Curtis Carr.
It was BYU's Jared Ward who claimed the individual title after breaking away from the lead pack during the final lap. The junior covered the course in a time of 23:41.56, which was nearly six seconds faster than second-place finisher Scott Fauble, a redshirt-sophomore from Portland.
"I was really happy about the race," said Fauble. "The weather helped us out a little bit. We really executed our strategy well. We all ran really gutsy on the last lap. There was a one-point difference and our guts at the end really showed. This sets us up well for Nationals."
"Our plan was to keep the pace honest," said Ward. "It was definitely wet out there. We're looking to make it through regionals and prepare for nationals. I looked at it as a good opportunity to try to work toward the end of a race and really push the pace."
Portland's William Kincaid (23:47.24) and David Perry (23:50.13) also finished in the top five, placing third and fifth, respectively, while the Cougars' Tylor Thatcher (23:47.72) was fourth. Both the Pilots and Cougars had five runners each in the top-15.
"We knew it was going to be close," said Portland head coach Rob Conner. "It was a challenge to our guys to see if we could win this thing in Portland. In 27 years of coaching, this is the most exciting thing I've been a part of."
Gonzaga finished third with 103 points and was led by Tate Kelly, who placed 11th with a time of 24:11.74. San Francisco's Jose Madera (24:20.97) claimed a top-15 finish to help the Dons place fourth as a team, and Loyola Marymount's Weston Strum (23:58) was the top individual finisher not from Portland or BYU. His seventh-place showing helped the Lions claim fifth overall.
The top 10 finishers collected All-WCC honors, with the 11th through 15th place finishers garnering All-WCC Honorable Mention. Ward was named WCC Player of the Year and Portland's Jacob Smith is the conference's Freshman of the Year. Conner was voted WCC Coach of the Year by his fellow head coaches, marking the eighth time he has been named the WCC's Coach of the Year.
Official 2012 WCC Men's Cross Country Results
1. Portland 32
2. BYU 33
3. Gonzaga 103
4. San Francisco 105
5. Loyola Marymount 124
6. Saint Mary's 160
7. Santa Clara 189
8. San Diego 240
9. Pepperdine 284
Top Individual Finishers
1. Jared Ward (BYU), 23:41.56; 2. Scott Fauble (Portland), 23:47.04; 3. William Kincaid (Portland), 23:47.24; 4. Tylor Thatcher (BYU), 23:47.72; 5. David Perry (Portland), 23:50.13; 6. Jason Witt (BYU), 23:57.14; 7. Weston Strum (Loyola Marymount), 23:57.30; 8. Rajpaul Pannu (SMC), 24:09.05; 9. Lars Erik Malde (Portland), 24:09.40; 10. Conner Peloquin (BYU), 24:10.99; 11. Tate Kelly (Gonzaga), 24:11.74; 12. Steve Flint (BYU), 24:11.94; 13. Jared Bassett (Portland), 24:12.15; 14. Curtis Carr (BYU), 24:18.51; 15. Jose Madera (San Francisco), 24:20.97; 16. Steven Garboden (San Francisco), 24:21.17; 17. Ganbileg Bor (San Francisco), 24:21.34; 18. Charlie McDonald (Portland), 24:21.60; 19. Taylor Farnsworth (BYU), 24:22.08; 20. Jacob Smith (POR), 24:35.46
2012 Men's Cross Country All-West Coast Conference Team
Jared Ward, BYU, Jr.
Scott Fauble, Portland, So.
William Kincaid, Portland, So
Tylor Thatcher, BYU, Jr.
David Perry, Portland, So.
Jason Witt, BYU, Jr.
Weston Strum, Loyola Marymount, Jr.
Rajpaul Pannu, Saint Mary's, Jr.
Lars Erik Malde, Portland, Sr.
Conner Peloquin, BYU, Jr.
Tate Kelly, Gonzaga, Sr.
Steve Flint, BYU, So.
Jared Bassett, Portland, Sr.
Curtis Carr, BYU, Jr.
Jose Madera, San Francisco, Jr.
WCC Player of the Year
Jared Ward, BYU, Jr.
WCC Men's Coach of the Year
Rob Conner, Portland
WCC Freshman of the Year
Jacob Smith, Portland