By Sofia Scekic
Senior and four-time All American Ella Donaghu picked up right where she left off, winning her second race in as many meets this season with a first place finish on Friday in the 6k at the UNLV Battle Borne Challenge.
True freshman Zofia Dudek finished about four seconds behind Donaghu in 19:48.9, good for second place overall, as the No. 6 Cardinal women finished second as a team with 85 points at their final meet before the Pac-12 Championships.
Dudek, who finished third in her first meet as a Cardinal on Feb. 5 at the FSU Winter XC Classic, led the pack in Las Vegas for most of the race until Donaghu overtook her near the end. Dudek finished almost seven seconds ahead of third-place Taryn O’Neill of Northern Arizona. Mid-distance specialist and senior Julia Heymach was the third Cardinal to cross the finish line, clocking 20:12.2 for a 13th place finish.
Senior Jessica Lawson and true freshman Lucy Jenks finished in 20:22.1 and 21:01.0 to finish 21st and 49th, respectively, to round out scoring for the Cardinal. Lawson finished third at the Pac-12 Championship and 11th at the NCAA championships last season to earn her first cross country All-America honor.
No. 4 New Mexico scored 60 points to win the meet, while No. 16 Northern Arizona ended with 100 points to finish third as a team. The meet included six women’s teams that are ranked in the top 16 in the USTFCCCA coaches’ poll.
On the men’s side, redshirt freshman Charles Hicks placed sixth overall in the 8k with a time of 22:57.9. The next four runners from the No. 5 Stanford men finished consecutively in ninth through 12th place, all within four seconds of each other and about 30 seconds behind Hicks.
With 48 points, the men’s team finished second overall, behind No. 2 Northern Arizona’s 20 points. Seven of the nine men’s teams that competed received votes in this week’s USTFCCCA coaches’ poll, while four teams, including Stanford, are ranked among the top 25.
The postseason is up next, with both Cardinal teams traveling to University Place, Washington on March 5 for the Pac-12 Championships. The teams will then compete in the NCAA Championships on Mar. 15 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.