Eric Jenkins Has Transferred To Oregon

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September 5, 2013 can confirm that the message board rumors are true (Oregon has now issued a release confirming Jenkins transfer). Northeastern star Eric Jenkins has transferred to the University of Oregon. Jenkins, who has personal bests of 3:58.11 for the mile, 7:50.44 for 3,000 (7:46.21 if you count his DQ at NCAAs) and 13:18.57 for 5,000, has two years of cross-country eligibility remaining and one year of indoor and two years of outdoor track remaining (a visitor emailed in and pointed out Jenkins only ran one race outdoors in 2012 and likely will get that year back as a redshirt).

Jenkins’ move comes after Northeastern changed distance coaches for the second time in less than a year this summer. Last year, the man who guided Jenkins from 4:15.10 in the 1,600 to 3:58.11 in the mile in the span of two years, Renny Waldron, left after last year’s cross-country season (which Jenkins redshirted) as a result of a new overall program director, Cathrine Erickson, being brought in over the summer. Waldron’s replacement, Ryan Vanhoy, came in in December and guided Jenkins to big personal bests on the track last spring before leaving for Ole Miss this summer.

Faced with having to run under his third coach in less than a calendar year, Jenkins evidently decided it was best to do so at a program with the resources of Oregon.

Jenkins’ transfer to Oregon is a huge boost for the Ducks distance program. While the Ducks are 4th all-time with six team NCAA cross-country titles, they’ve found things to be a little tough since they won their last team title in Galen Rupp‘s last year (2008). In 2009, the Ducks were second but fell to sixth in 2010, before not even making the meet in 2011. Last year, the Ducks were a lowly 20th.

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In terms of track, Jenkins has a real shot at becoming the Oregon school record holder outdoors in the 5,000 and indoors in the 3,000/5,000 as his current times would place him #2 already:

All-Time Men’s Outdoor
5,000 List At Oregon

1. Bill McChesney Jr. 13:14.80 1982
Eric Jenkins 13:18.57
2. Rudy Chapa 13:19.22 1979
3. Alberto Salazar 13:22.31 1979
4. Steve Prefontaine 13:22.4 1973
5. Paul Geis 13:23.4 1974
6. Galen Rupp 13:30.49
All-Time Men’s Indoor 3,000
List At Oregon
1. Galen Rupp 7:44.69 2009
Eric Jenkins 7:50.44 (7:46.21 DQ)
2. Matthew Centrowitz 7:50.59 2011
3. Trevor Dunbar 7:51.55 2012
4. Steve Fein 7:54.26 1999
5. Eric Logsdon 7:54.29 2005
All-Time Men’s Indoor
5,000 List At Oregon
1. Galen Rupp 13:18.12 2009
2. Alberto Salazar 13:22.6
3. Trevor Dunbar 13:36.86 2012
4. Parker Stinson 13:39.22 2012
5. Shadrack Biwott 13:41.66 2006


How Good Will Oregon Be In XC This Year?

Last year, the Ducks were by their standards an “embarrassing” 20th and the one guy they had in the top 50 (Trevor Dunbar 41st) graduated. However, even before Jenkins’ transfer, they were looking to be much improved this year in cross-country and as a result had been ranked #12 in the pre-season coaches poll and #4 in the pre-season Wood Report.

Eric Jenkins (l.) battling Lawi Lalang at the 2013 NCAA indoor championships.

For starters, two of the more talented Ducks were awful at NCAAs last year. One certainly can’t fathom 13:31/28:34 man Parker Stinson finishing 240th again this year or 2013 NCAA 1,500 champ Mac Fleet finishing 220th.

And even without Jenkins, the Ducks were already set to have their chances bolstered by the additions of two-time Foot Locker champion Edward Cheserek, two-time Foot Locker top fiver Jake Leingang and 3:58 miler and former Foot Locker finalist Brett Johnson.

Add in Jenkins and you’ve got a pretty good squad.

The Six Ducks Returning From Last Year’s Team
Parker Stinson 13:31/28:34 – 240th (203rd in team scoring) last year.
Jeremy Elkaim – 13:39 – 159th (129th team scoring) last year.
Matthew Melancon – 14:09/29:31 – 97th (76th team scoring) as a frosh last year.
Mac Fleet – 3:57.70 mile/2013 NCAA 1,500 champ – 220th (184 in team scoring)
Ryan Pickering – 14:19/29:48 – 144th (115th team scoring) last year
Ben DeJarnette – 14:21/30:28 – 154th (124th team scoring) last year

New Comers (Cheserek, Leingang and Johnson’s status come from the Wood Report)
Eric Jenkins – Jr. – 7:50/13:18 – 67th at NCAAs in 2011.
Ed Cheserek – Fr. – 4:02 Mile, 8:39 2-Mile, 13:57 5k, 2 x FL Champion
Jake Leingang – Fr. – 4:05 1,600m, 8:51 3,200m, 14:11 5k, 3rd FL ’12, 4th FL ’11
Brett Johnson – Sr., from Virginia – 3:58 Mile, FL Finalist

Quick Take #1: The rich get richer.

In the past, you’ve seen us rip mid-career transfers but we won’t criticize this move. When two coaches leave in the span of 12 months, the athlete needn’t show any loyalty himself to the program that gave him a shot when he was just a 4:15 guy.

QT #2: To those of you on the message board who think Oregon will make Jenkins run a whole lot faster this year, think again. Trevor Dunbar, a recent transfer to Oregon, ran 13:42 at Portland and 13:36 at Oregon. A school like Oregon with its resources is going to give Jenkins every possible opportunity to run as fast as possible but Jenkins did very well and wasn’t hurting for big races last year.

As we stated on the message board earlier this summer, Jenkins had a monumental breakthrough last year as he went from 14:04 to 13:18 in the 5,000. It’s quite possible that he regresses a little this year no matter where he runs. People often forget that in a breakthrough year nearly everything went right and that’s hard to repeat.

QT #3: Yes, Oregon is a lot better than they were last year but people shouldn’t get carried away when talking about their chances. They look like a very strong potential podium team but good luck beating Oklahoma State.

We always think the best way to predict cross-country is to start by looking at the results from the year before. How do Oregon and Oklahoma State stack up if we assume people will just finish exactly where they did last year?

Returners from last year Top 3 Returners Top 4 Returners Top 5 Returners
Oklahoma State 3, 11, 17, 40, 79 31 71 164
Oregon – 74, 115, 124, 129, 184, 203 313 442 626

Okay, but Oregon is much better than last year. So let’s be very optimistic and say Jenkins is the top scorer on a team at NCAAs, Cheserek is 10th in the team scoring and Stinson is 20th (Note: We don’t expect this to happen as Jenkins is probably a better track than xc runner and had somewhat limited training this summer due to an injury problem, but are just trying to give out a best-case scenario). How does Oregon stack up then against Oklahoma State?

Returners from last year Top 3 Returners Top 4 Returners Top 5 Returners
Oklahoma State 3, 11, 17, 40, 79 31 71 164
Oregon (theoretical) 1, 10, 20, 124, 129 31 155 284

Now we know Mac Fleet should be better and others could improve so we’re not completely ruling out Oregon as a potential champion. But it’s better to think about what actually has happened instead of what might happen.

Our main point? Oklahoma State still is your favorite.

More: MB: Jenkins to OREGON!

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