It has been an eventful year for Oregon distance runners. King Ches fought injuries last spring but looks to be back to his old ways. The Oregon men won the Washington Invitational, with many strong performances right behind Cheserek.
Many runners and fans were surprised at Drew Hunter’s decision to turn pro with Adidas, and forgo his chance to be an Oregon Duck. He is certainly talented enough to make it as a professional runner, but I know a lot of Oregon fans wanted to see him race at Hayward Field for the team.
Coach Andy Powell, the mastermind behind distance running at Oregon, shed some light via The Oregonian on Hunter and the Oregon alumni and current Ducks in the Olympic Trials.
Now, Powell didn’t get to say much on why he is excited about this new group coming in, but that’s what FishDuck.com is for! This new recruiting class is ready to build upon already skilled sophomores such as Matthew Maton and Tanner Anderson.
Much like the women’s cross country team, the men have a lot of experienced, savvy runners and young, eager younger ones. The new class includes Tim Gorman, Mick Stanovsek and Jack Yearian.
Yearian has already racked up some serious hardware during his time at Bellarmine Prep. He won a total of five state titles, one from cross country in 2015, and the others are back-to-back repeats in the 1600m and 3200m his junior and senior years. “To be able so say I’ve done both, especially in the same season, it’s surreal, it’s very cool,” Yearian explained in an interview with The News Tribune after his most recent victory in the 3200m last spring.
This past cross country season, Yearian raced and placed fourth against his current teammate, Jackson Mestler, at the annual Nike Border Clash, a 5k that allows the best cross country runners in Oregon and Washington to go head-to-head.
Stanovsek is a guy who doesn’t quit. I was fortunate to meet him last year in a class when we were both freshmen. He’s the nicest guy, and while we did talk about Oregon sports and running, he did not mention that he was attempting to walk-on to the men’s cross country team.
It was only after I looked up his times on Athletic.net - something practically every competitive runner is guilty of – that I saw how talented he was. I asked him the next day in class, what the deal was. With times like those, he could be cruising for some other school.
But he told me his plan was to get onto the Oregon team, which as you might guess, is extremely difficult. But Mick put in the work. I saw him practicing with the team multiple times throughout the cross country and track season.
Everything clicked for Stanovsek when he placed third in the 1500m (3:46) at the 2016 West Coast Invitational in Salem. Another personal best in the 800m (1:51) during the Portland Track Festival didn’t hurt either.
Stanovsek will be a redshirt freshmen this year, but it’s a testament to his sheer will that he was able to keep up the work ethic to achieve a lifelong dream. The picture below, courtesy of The Oregon Track Club, illustrates the work Mick had to put in to make the team. Here he is practicing on Hayward on a raining day with Sheila Reid, current OTC Elite runner and a 1500m and 5000m Olympian for Canada.
Best of luck to a goooooood young lad&great friend of the program Mick Stanovsek in the US Jnr1500 final tomorrow!! pic.twitter.com/9ZJu9Gh3AW
— Oregon TC Elite (@OregonTCElite) June 25, 2016
The team added another savvy veteran is Tim Gorman, a redshirt senior and Dartmouth College transfer. Gorman, like many runners who don the Oregon singlet, had a successful high school career, winning a national championship in 2011 at Christian Brothers Academy.
While attending Dartmouth, Gorman placed third in the mile during the 2016 Ivy League Championships last spring with a time of 4:14. That race was pretty tactical, as Gorman ran (only) 4:14, and his personal best is 4:01.
His first race as a Duck was the Dellinger Invitational this past September, running 26:32. While this is not a great 8k time, it’s important to remember that it was a slow course, and looking at times alone, Gorman’s strengths seem to be in track and field. His PRs include 3:46 for 1500m, and 8:11 for 3000m.
Gorman has been competing for a while now, so his experience and words of wisdom may help the younger runners this year.
This season is going to be very interesting for the Ducks! They have returning speed up front with Cheserek and serious depth throughout. Follow me throughout the season for more insider information about Duck cross country!
Top Photo by NikeShoesUS
Disclaimer: Readers: Every writer on FishDuck.com is allowed to express their opinion in their articles. However, articles do not express the views of the other writers, editors, coaching consultants, management, or the principals of FishDuck.com. Charles Fischer