Duck transfers dominate Dellinger Invite

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Senior transfer Alexi Pappas led the Oregon women to the Dellinger team title, while senior transfer Trevor Dunbar captured the men's individual title on a warm and sunny Saturday at Springfield Country Club.

Pappas pushed through the finish line to finish just ahead of former Washington runner Christine Babcock. Pappas' time of 16:23 was the second-fastest in Dellinger meet history and less than a second off the meet record of 16:22.92 set by NCAA Champion Sheila Reid of Villanova in 2009.

Dunbar, a senior transfer from the University of Portland, brought home the men's title in 23:38.

"I had a great time today," said Pappas, from Alameda, Calif. "I think the team should be really proud. It's good to be a Duck.

"I'm really honored to be at Oregon," continued Pappas, who is one of nine finalists for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award. "I've really been looking forward to today's race because being in a place where there is so much support for the sport is really incredible."

The transfer from Dartmouth led a 1-3-5-6-7 finish for the Ducks as No. 3 Oregon easily won their third straight Dellinger team title with 18 points. Southern Utah was second with 73, Gonzaga finished third with 87, UC Riverside was fourth with 98 points and Idaho scored 125 points to round out the top five. Nevada was sixth with 135 points and Seattle U. was seventh with 203.

"The race was fun," said Pappas. "We had a pack going for a while and then we all did what we felt in the second half of the race. I felt good I wanted to do my best and I was lucky to have teammates with me for most of the race."

In addition to Pappas, the women had freshman Annie Leblanc third in 16:59, senior Sarah Penney fifth in 17:02, senior Katie Conlon sixth in 17:03 and senior Jordan Hasay seventh in 17:04.

"There's definitely a lot of teamwork going on," said Penney, from Paradise Valley, Ariz., "We all really encourage each other, but at the same time we want the whole team to encourage everyone. It's all about the team and enjoying the day."

Oregon also saw sophomore Megan Patrignelli 10th in 17:10, freshman Abbey Leonardi 12th in 17:13, senior Becca Friday 17th in 17:28, senior Taylor Wallace 19th in 17:33 and senior Anne Kesselring 23rd in 17:38.

Meanwhile Dunbar led an entertaining men's race that saw the 23rd-ranked Ducks challenge No. 3 Brigham Young throughout. With a lap remaining, both teams had four runners in the top 10, and it wasn't until the final 1,000 meters that the Cougars edged ahead to claim their first Dellinger crown.

BYU scored 32 points to win, followed by Oregon with 49, Southern Utah with 111, Washington with 114 and Gonzaga with 130. Seattle U. was sixth with 181 points, followed by Sacramento State (185), Massachusetts (223), UC Riverside (233) and Idaho (240).

Dunbar, from Kodiak, Alaska, won for the Ducks with junior Ben Dejarnette third in 23:49. BYU was impressive with Jared Ward second in 23:40 to lead eight Cougars who finished in the top 15.

"I am very happy with the way that I finished today, but more importantly our team finished strong today overall," said Dunbar. "We went out there and executed Coach's plan to perfection, this is a good way to start our season."

Oregon also counted an 11th-place finish from junior Parker Stinson in 24:00, a 16th-place finish from sophomore Cole Watson in 24:07 and a 22nd-place finish from sophomore Daniel Winn in 24:25.

The Ducks also had freshman Matthew Melancon finish 26th in 24:29 in his first race as a Duck, sophomore Ryan Pickering 29th in 24.33 and freshman Chris Brewer 40th in 24:49.

"Last year I came in with such high expectations and did not come anywhere close to where I expected to be," said DeJarnette, from Mechanicsville, Va. "Today I met those expectations. I was thoroughly happy with the way that I ran today, as well as my teammates.

"It was an honor to run in a race like this, especially being named after a track great in Bill Dellinger. It was fun to run out there today, it was a good way to start the season."

Oregon next returns to action Oct. 13 at the Pre-Nationals meet at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, Louisville, Ky.

Click on the KVAL Sports video to watch the races and here from the winners.