Cross country places fourth in Eugene
Carlyle, Masterson push pace early, lead Beavers to best performance of season
Published: Monday, October 3, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
Head coach Kelly Sullivan referred to Saturday's fourth place finish at the University of Oregon's Bill Dellinger Invitational as the Oregon State cross country team's best performance of the year.
"It is really encouraging to see the entire group compete as hard as they did today," Sullivan said.
Seniors Laura Carlyle (16:59.31) and Casey Masterson (17:12.61) finished 11th and 19th, respectively. Sophomore Audrey Botti was the Beavers' third runner to cross the finish line.
Carlyle and Masterson were both competing for the first time this fall. Neither ran in either of Oregon State's first two meets.
Both runners must have been anxious, because they jumped out to an early lead and set the pace for the first portion of the race.
But with one kilometer to go, a handful of University of Oregon runners began to pull ahead.
Kelly was glad to see his top two runners run aggressive, but second-guessed the decision a little.
"I was excited to see them put the hammer down and really push the pace and not be afraid to do it," Kelly said. "But I wish they maybe just stayed with the pack, rather than leading, because it is harder to lead than follow."
Kelly thinks Carlyle could have placed in the top 10 had she stayed back with the pack.
"She was really pushing the pace a lot," he said.
Oregon had five runners finish in the top ten with their last runner coming in at 13th.
Masterson and Carlyle were happy with each of their performances, and the strong finish by the Ducks came as no surprise to either of them.
"Me and Casey got into a really good rhythm," Carlyle said. "I always go into a race thinking I can win it. You dream big and go for it, but you know they always have something up their sleeve. They were right there with us so we were just waiting for the move."
The race was Masterson's first since 2008. She's been out due to an injury since.
"I feel really good about it," she said. "It was one of those (races) where I had to take a leap of faith. I felt like I could hang on mentally and physically until about the 4k. I still have five more weeks of training to put under my belt until regionals and that's what counts."
Chloe Steinbeck came in at 34th for the Beavers with a time of 17:43.04. Erin Jones was 52nd at 18:05:59, closely followed by Olivia Poblacion in 53rd at 18:06.37.
The University of Wisconsin placed second, University of Portland third, and Oregon State placed fourth overall out of 10 teams.
Natasha Raines, sports writer