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Ducks on the Run

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — The University of Oregon cross country teams enjoyed a historic performance Monday as the top-ranked Duck men won the NCAA national championship and the women's team came in second.

The title was the first since 1977 for the Oregon men, who were making their 33rd national appearance.

Duck junior Galen Rupp tried valiantly to overtake Liberty's Josh McDougal at the finish of their 10,000-meter race but came up 5 meters short and finished second with a time of 29:24. McDougal's strong kick brought him home in 29:23.

Rupp was Oregon's highest finisher since Alberto Salazar placed second in 1979, while only Salazar (1978) and the legendary Steve Prefontaine (1970-71-73) had finished higher with their national titles.

"It was a great day for Oregon," Rupp said. "I am so excited to be a part of this team. We have such an unbelievable group of guys, and we had confidence coming in and were so relaxed yesterday. (After I finished) It was so fun to watch the other guys come in and be able to celebrate together."

UO's other four scorers also earned All-America honors. They were junior Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (ninth), sophomores Diego Mercado (30th) and Kenny Klotz (37th) and redshirt freshman Daniel Mercado (41st).

The Ducks put their front five in the top 50 overall for the first time since 1979, when they were second.

Oregon scored 85 points. Iona was second with 113 points.

In their first NCAA trip since 2000, the No. 3-ranked Duck women scored 177 points, trailing only Stanford (145). UO's finish was its third-best ever besides titles in 1983 and '87. It was the fourth time they were runner-up among their 25 trips to nationals.

Individually, sophomore Nicole Blood placed eighth overall, covering the 6K in 20:17.6. She ran nearly the whole race with freshman Alexandra Kosinski, who was 13th in 20:33.3.

"The University of Oregon has a wonderful tradition in cross country, and our teams added another chapter to that storybook heritage," said Vin Lananna, Oregon director of track and field.

Oregon’s Galen Rupp, center, starts the men’s NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday. Rupp finished second in the 10-meter race, leading the Ducks to their first title since 1977. - AP