Saturday, November 18, 2017

Neale roars to second place finish at NCAA cross country championships...

LOUiSVILLE, Kentucky—Under grey yet ideal conditions for running, Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) roared over the last 2 kilometers to finish second at the NCAA cross country championships at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

Neale got off to a good start in the 6k race, and was with the main group of runners, as eventual winner Ednah Kurgat of New Mexico bolted to the front and never looked back, winning in a time of 19:20, seven seconds ahead of Neale.

The senior from Snohomish flipped the script on San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor and Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, the top two finishers at last week’s NCAA West regionals in Seattle, with Neale, who was third at regionals, moving ahead of both Taylor (19:29) and Ostrander (19:32).

Washington State’s Vallery Korir also earned All-American (top 40) honors with her 33rd place finish, crossing the line in 20:08.

”The first kilometer I wasn't sure how the race was going to go but as we progressed I started to feel stronger and started moving up," Korir said. "What helped me most was running along girls that I competed with at Pac-12s and Regionals so I knew I should be with them. I am so happy with my race today, I have never been so proud of myself!"

WSU coach Wayne Phipps said, "She ran very intelligently and moved up very well in the last half of the race. Her improvement over this season has been incredible and she now has the confidence to compete with the very best in the nation."

The #22 ranked Huskies finished 21st with a team score of 513 points.  Scoring for the Dawgs after Neale were Izzi Batt-Doyle in 130th (20:58), Anna Maxwell in 148th (21:05), Emily Hamlin in 155th (21:08), and Allie Schadler in 209th (21:43).

New Mexico won the national title with a low score of 90 points, led by Kurgat.  Former Husky Charlotte Prouse was the Lobos’ second runner in 12th place, finishing in 19:49.

Another former Husky, Baylor’s Lindsey Bradley, finished 47th in 20:20.

In the men’s 10k, Portland’s Nick Hauger, a graduate of Spokane’s Shadle Park was the top finisher from the state, placing 26th in a time of 29:47.

Edmonds native Miler Haller, competing for Boise State, finished 36th in a time of 29:59, while another Spokane native, Oregon’s Tanner Anderson, missed the All-American status by one place, finishing 41st in 30:02.

It was a rough day for both Washington and Washington State, both of whom had high aspirations entering the championships.

The Huskies finished 22nd with 488 points, while the Cougars were 24th with 539 points.

Leading the way for Washington was Andrew Gardner in 66th (30:24), followed by Colby Gilbert in 106th (30:48).

Other scorers for the Huskies were Andy Snyder in 118th (30:54), Mahmoud Moussa in 143rd (31:05), and Talon Hull in 144th (31:06).

Washington State was led by Chandler Teigen in 63rd (30:21), and Michael Williams in 70th (30:27).

The Cougars’ other scorers were Nathan Wadhwani in 94th (30:38), Matthew Watkins in 201st (31:39), and Justin Janke in 206th (31:43).

Justyn Knight of Syracuse closed hard over the last 800 meters to win the national title in 29:01.

Northern Arizona successfully defended its national title, bolstered by a 2-3 finish by Matthew Baxter (29:01) and Tyler Day (29:05) with a low score of 74 points.

The University of Portland, with Washington natives Hauger in 26th and Logan Orndorf in 64th (30:21) finished second with 127 points.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Louisville, University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Teams check out NCAA championship course Friday; start time for Saturday's races changed...

Washington State head coach Wayne Phipps makes a point to
members of the Cougar cross country team Friday at
E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park (Paul Merca photo)
LOUiSVILLE, Kentucky—On a cool and crisp early afternoon, both Washington and Washington State took their final runs on the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park cross country course Friday in preparation for Saturday’s NCAA cross country championship meet.

The course appeared to be in good shape overall, though there were small concerns about some wet spots and mud holes that meet management staked off so runners wouldn’t go over them during the course preview, but overall, nothing major that would cause a great deal of apprehension for the teams and athletes competing tomorrow.

It was a sunny day here in Louisville, despite it being in the high 30s to mid-40s, though there is expected to be some rain and high winds, along with possible lightning after midnight.  The  concern about lightning during the race was enough for organizers to change the start times of the meet.

At the coaches’ technical meeting (4:00 pm local time), the start times for Saturday’s races were changed:  The women’s 6k gets going at 9 am local time/6 am pacific, and the men’s 10k will start at 10 am/7 am pacific.

Besides both University of Washington squads, the Washington State men’s team, and WSU’s Vallery Korir, who qualified for the championships last week in Seattle, there are also athletes with Washington ties competing, including Wisconsin’s Joe Hardy (Seattle Prep), Portland’s Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) and Nick Hauger (Shadle Park), Boise State’s Miler Haller (Edmonds/Woodway), and Oregon’s Tanner Anderson (North Central).

Colorado’s John Dressel (Mt. Spokane) and Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin (Gig Harbor), both of whom were All-Americans (top 40) at last year’s meet, are being redshirted this season.

Former Huskies Charlotte Prouse (New Mexico) and Lindsey Bradley (Baylor) are also competing, with Prouse a key component of New Mexico's hope of winning a national title.

The Husky women are making their 11th consecutive appearance at this meet and 21st over a 23-year period.  

Washington State’s men’s squad is making their third straight NCAA championship appearance as a team, while Vallery Korir becomes the first WSU runner to qualify for this meet since 2009 when Lisa Egami did so.

The Husky men, who finished a surprising second at the NCAA regional meet in Seattle last week, are back in the championships after missing out last year.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf told before the coaches’ technical meeting this afternoon that redshirt freshman Gavin Parpart will run instead of Johnathan Stevens Saturday.  Earlier in the week, the school announced that Kiera Marshall will take the place of Kaitlyn Neal, who was injured after falling in the first 100 meters of the regional championships.                          

Washington’s pre-meet release is available here, while Washington State’s release is available here.

Media partner Flotrack ($) will offer streaming coverage of the championships.

NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Louisville, University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Husky men jump eight spots to number 12 in final regular season USTFCCCA poll...

Washington's (from l to r) Andy Snyder, Mahmoud Moussa,
Colby Gilbert & Andrew Gardner in action at the
NCAA West Regionals (Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—The USTFCCCA released its final regular season national rankings Monday after the conclusion of the NCAA cross country regional meets around the country, and both University of Washington squads are in the top 30 going into this Saturday’s national championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Husky men jumped all the way up from #20 to #12 after their close second place finish behind West regional champ Portland Pilots at Jefferson Park GC in Seattle.

The Pilots, who have two runners with Washington ties on their top seven—junior Nick Hauger from Spokane, and Logan Orndorff from Duvall, are ranked number four.

The nation’s top five teams are defending national champion Northern Arizona, BYU, Syracuse, Portland, and Colorado.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the men’s national top 30 include Pac-12 champ Stanford at #6, #14 Oregon, #16 UCLA, and #27 Washington State.

The Washington women’s team dropped six spots from their previous #16 ranking to number 22 after finishing sixth at the NCAA West Regionals last Friday.

The nation’s top five teams entering the championship meet in order are defending Pac-12 champ 
Colorado; New Mexico, West regional champs San Francisco, West regional runner-up Stanford, and NC State.

Other Pac-12 teams in the national top 30 include #6 Oregon, the defending national champs; and, #23 Cal, which surprised the Dawgs at regionals by finishing fifth.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.     

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Seattle Prep grad Joe Hardy of Wisconsin gets individual qualifying spot for NCAA XC champs...

In our post Saturday announcing the qualifiers to Saturday’s NCAA cross country championships, we neglected to mention Seattle Prep graduate Joe Hardy (above/photo courtesy Wisconsin Athletics), who was sixth for the University of Wisconsin at the Great Lakes regional meet Friday in Terre Haute, Indiana.

At the Great Lakes regional, Michigan State (68) and Michigan (79) earned the two automatic qualifiers to the NCAA championship meet in Louisville, while Wisconsin (84) was third.  

The NCAA cross country committee bypassed the Badgers when it came time to pick the 13 at-large teams based on their performance at their own Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational last month, where the #25 Badgers finished 25th, led by Hardy’s 25th place finish.

Hardy was second in the Big 10 championships two weeks ago, as the Badgers were third behind Michigan and Michigan State.

Hardy joins several other notable runners from Washington in the NCAA championship meet competing for other schools around the country including Tanner Anderson of Spokane (Oregon), Miler Haller of Edmonds (Boise State), Logan Orndorf of Duvall (Portland) and Nick Hauger of Spokane (Portland).

The University of Washington men’s team earned an automatic qualifier on the basis of its second place finish at the West regionals, while the Husky women’s team, the WSU men’s team, and the Cougars’ Valley Korir were announced Saturday as at-large qualifiers and in Korir’s case, an individual qualifier.

NOTE:  The University of Wisconsin and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

WSU men, Washington women & Vallery Korir of Cougs advance to NCAA cross country champs...

INDIANAPOLIS—-The NCAA announced the addition of the Washington State men’s cross country team (left/photo by Paul Merca), the University of Washington women’s team, and Washington State’s Vallery Korir to the field for next week’s NCAA Division I cross country championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals qualified at their respective NCAA regional competitions.

Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship.  The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams.  Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.

Thirty-eight individuals were selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process.  All individual qualifiers finished in the top 25 in their regions.

University of Louisville will host the championships, Saturday, November 18, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park located in Louisville, Kentucky. The women’s race will begin at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by the men’s race at 11:45 a.m. Eastern Time.  Media partner Flotrack ($) will provide live streaming coverage of the meet.

The WSU men will make their third straight appearance at the NCAA championships, while the Husky women make their 11th consecutive appearance.

The WSU men were seventh at the NCAA West Regionals in Seattle Friday, while the UW women finished sixth.

Korir, the sister of US Olympian Leonard Korir, finished 19th in Friday’s regional meet, and got the fourth and final individual qualifying spot into the national championships (top 4 runners not on a qualifying team and must place in the top 25 at regionals).

NOTE: The NCAA contributed to this report.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Husky men surprise field with second place finish at NCAA West Regional championships...

Andy Snyder, Colby Gilbert & Andrew Gardner placed
in the top 10 as the Huskies finished second at the NCAA
West Regionals (Paul Merca photo)
SEATTLE—What a time for a major breakthrough!

The University of Washington men’s cross country team, which finished fifth at the Pac-12 championships a fortnight ago, pulled one of the biggest surprises of the day Friday, as the host Huskies finished second in the NCAA West Regional cross country championships at Jefferson Park Golf Course.

Portland, the nation’s number six team in the current USTFCCCA Division I coaches’ poll, won the regional title by a 63-65 margin over the #20 Huskies.

Among the teams the Dawgs left behind on a mild but sunny day on Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood included #4 Stanford, the Pac-12 team champs two weeks ago; #13 Oregon; #10 UCLA; #26 Boise State; and #27 Washington State.

Early in the race, WSU’s Michael Williams and Portland’s Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse went to the front, with Arizona’s Hunter Davila just trailing the duo, and a large pack of about 15-20 runners behind.

The Huskies ran a near perfect team race, with seniors Colby Gilbert and Andrew Gardner always near the front of the main pack, with Andy Snyder and Mahmoud Moussa close behind, and the trio of Tibu Proctor, Johnathan Stevens, and Talon Hull within reasonable eyesight of Gilbert and Gardner.

As the runners entered the last of five laps, Williams began to pay for his front running efforts, as he dropped from fourth at the 9k mark all the way to 12th at the finish.

Roudolff-Levisse won the race in 29:34, with teammate Jeff Thies second in 29:39.

Spokane native Nick Hauger of Portland finished fourth in 29:42, passing Gilbert in the last 400, with Gilbert taking fifth in 29:44.

The next four spots went to athletes with Washington ties, as Spokane’s Tanner Anderson of Oregon (29:44), Washington’s Gardner (29:44), Edmonds native Miler Haller of Boise State (29:44), and the Huskies’ Andy Snyder (29:46) went 6-7-8-9.

Rounding out the Husky scorers were Moussa in 18th (29:54), and freshman Proctor (30:03) in 26th, giving the Huskies a 1-5 spread of 19 seconds, by far the best spread of the 30 team field.

For the Cougars, who had high expectations entering the start of the season, they must wait until Saturday to find out if they will advance to next week’s championship meet in Louisville, after finishing seventh with 194 points.

After Williams’ 12th place finish in 29:49, Chandler Teigen was 20th in 29:56, followed by Nathan Wadhwani in 41st (30:20), Justin Janke in 47th (30:39), and Paul Ryan in 74th (31:08), as the Cougs ran a 1-5 split of 80 seconds.

Gonzaga cracked the top ten, as the Bulldogs were tenth with 294 points, led by Peter Hogan in 48th in 30:39.

Eastern Washington finished 24th with 645 points, led by Colton Johnson in 66th in 31:00, while Seattle University was 26th with 727 points. Eli Boudouris led the way in 122nd in 32:10 for the Redhawks.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf heaped praise on his two senior leaders, Gilbert and Gardner, along with the efforts of Snyder, and his two freshmen, Proctor and Hull, neither of whom had raced at the 10k distance until today.


In the opening women’s 6k race, defending West Regional champ Amy-Eloise Neale of Washington finished third to lead the #16 ranked Huskies to a sixth place team finish.

The Huskies were in a bit of a hole early, as both Kaitlyn Neal and Nikki Zielinski got tangled up with some other runners in the 207-woman field in the first 100 meters, falling to the ground and having to play catch-up.

While eventual winner Charlotte Taylor of San Francisco (19:15) and Boise State’s Allie Ostrander (19:17) battled all the way from start to finish, Neale was in a group of about seven runners behind Taylor and Ostrander.

As the race wore on, she maintained her position, and moved into third before the 5k mark, opening up a gap on eventual fourth place finisher Weronika Pyzik of San Francisco, crossing the finish in 19:26 to Pyzik’s 19:30.

Following the Cardinal were defending national champ and #3 ranked Oregon with 92, followed by #10 Boise State’s 104, with #26 Cal, led by a 10-11 individual finish by Bethan Knights and freshman Brie Oakley, getting the better of the Huskies by a 183-202 count.

The other UW scorers were Emily Hamlin in 40th (20:39); Izzi Batt-Doyle in 44th (20:45); Anna Maxwell in 49th (20:51);  and Allie Schadler in 66th (21:03).

Washington State finished 15th with 420 points, led by Vallery Korir’s 19th place finish in 20:08.

Eastern Washington was 21st with 603, led by Kaili Keefe in 58th place in 20:57. Gonzaga was 24th with 703 points, led by Jordan Thurston in 80th place in 21:13, and Seattle University was 26th with 749 points, as Johanna Erickson was 97th in 21:36.

The Huskies will have to wait until Saturday to find out if they will advance to the national championships next week, though indications from numerous knowledgeable collegiate cross country experts believe that the Huskies’ overall body of work this season will be enough to get them in.

The Husky women’s overall resume this season includes a 4th place finish at the Dellinger Invitational in Oregon; a 14th place finish at Wisconsin; and a fourth place finish at the Pac-12s.

Assuming that Cal gets in as a team, the Cougars’ Korir may be in line for an individual at-large berth into the NCAA championship meet.

Danielle Shanahan of Loyola Marymount was the top finisher not on one of the top six teams, finishing 12th, followed by Taryn Rawlings of Portland in 14th, and Claire Green of Arizona in 15th.

The teams and individuals receiving at-large berths to next week's NCAA championships in Louisville will be announced at 9 am, pacific time Saturday.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

All five Washington schools to converge at Jefferson Park GC for NCAA West Regionals Friday...

All five of the state’s NCAA Division I schools will gather at Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill for Friday’s NCAA West Regional cross country championship meet, with both Washington squads and the Washington State men’s team looking to run well enough to earn a spot in next week’s NCAA championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

Both Washington and Washington State men’s squad will have to have strong team races if they hope to advance to Louisville. The #20 Huskies and the #27 Cougars will have to contend with #4 Stanford, #6 Portland, #10 UCLA, #13 Oregon, and #25 Boise State. The West regional is by far the deepest region in the country in the quality of teams.

On the women’s side, the #16 Huskies will have to square off against #3 Oregon, #4 San Francisco, #7 Stanford, #10 Boise State, and #26 California if it hopes to advance.

The top two teams from Friday’s race, plus the eight other regional races contested around the country will automatically advance to Louisville, while the other 13 teams that make up the 31 team field will have to wait for the NCAA cross country committee to announce the at large squads on Saturday.

The top four individual finishers not on a qualifying team, and inside the top 25, will be chosen to advance for each region. Two additional athletes will be selected from the national pool at-large. They must also have finished within their region's top-25 to advance.

Of the three Washington based teams with realistic shots of advancing to Kentucky, the WSU men’s squad, which was ranked as high as #11 earlier in the season in the USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll, has the least margin for error. 

The Cougars’ 11th place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational is perhaps the biggest blemish on their 2017 team resume.

With seven nationally ranked teams in the West regionals, the onus will have to be on WSU All-American Michael Williams (above/photo by Paul Merca) to run closer to the front to help put the Cougars in a solid position to make their case to go to Louisville. Williams was their second runner at the Pac-12 championships two weeks ago, where he was 19th.

With the men’s race distance 10k instead of 8k, WSU head coach Wayne Phipps feels more confident in his team’s chances at regionals. He feels that the extra 2k distance plays to the Cougars’ strength.

Notable Washington natives running for schools outside the state include Oregon’s Tanner Anderson from Spokane, and the Portland duo of Nick Hauger from Spokane, and Logan Orndorf from Duvall.

Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale returns as the defending NCAA west regional champion, after winning the race last year in Sacramento, en route to a eighth place finish in the national championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

One notable runner who won’t run is Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin from Gig Harbor. Peloquin, who finished sixth at last year’s NCAA championship meet, is being redshirted this season.

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Seattle University’s squads are all looking to place in the top half of the approximately 30 schools entered in the meet.

The meet gets underway at 10:30 am with the women’s 6k, and the men’s 10k an hour later. If you can’t make the meet, media partner ($) will stream the race.

The home page for the NCAA West Regionals is available here, which has links to the live results, box draws, course map, and start lists.

NOTE:  The University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Western Washington teams finish eighth at NCAA West Regionals; Wise top finisher...

MONMOUTH, Oregon—Western Washington’s Andrew Wise (left/photo by Paul Merca) had the top finish by a Washington runner at Saturday’s NCAA Division II West Regional cross country championships at Ash Creek Preserve on a cool, overcast day.

Wise, who finished tenth at the GNAC championships in Bellingham two weeks ago, was in a large lead group of ten runners past the 5k mark of the 10k race, but saw his chances to earn a qualifying spot slip away over the last 3k, ultimately finishing 14th in a time of 30:31.

Central Washington finished 16th with 458 points, led by Corbin Carlton in 77th place in 32:00.

Seattle Pacific was 25th with 620 points, as Peder Rickbell was their top finisher in 73rd place, running 31:58.

Saint Martin’s was 27th in the 27-team field with 758 points, as Josh Hunt led the way in 105th place in 32:36.

GNAC champion David Ribich gave host Western Oregon a thrill, as he pulled away in the last 400 meters to win the race in 29:50, eight seconds up on runner-up Kyle Medina of Chico State.

Chico State (55), Cal Baptist (84), and GNAC champ Western Oregon (121, 3-2 tiebreaker over Simon Fraser) earned the three automatic qualifying spots for the national championships in Evansville, Indiana in two weeks.

In the women’s 6k race, the biggest surprise of the day was that Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson, who was second at the GNAC championships in Bellingham two weeks ago, and was thought to have a solid chance of qualifying for the NCAA championships as an individual, was never a factor.

Charleson finished 71st in 22:48, more than a minute slower than what she ran at the conference championship.

Western Washington, which finished third at the GNACs, finished eighth with a score of 257 points, led by Lilliana Stelling, who was 38th in 22:06.

Seattle Pacfic was 13th with 332 points, as Alyssa Foote led the way in 47th in a time of 22:17.

Central Washington was 15th with 378 points, led by GNAC 10000m champ Alexa Shindruk in 18th place in 21:41, the highest individual placing by a runner from the four Washington schools.

Saint Martin’s was 27th in the 30-team field with 753 points, as Yadira Lopez led the way for the Saints in 66th place in 22:37.

Caroline Kurgat, the GNAC champ from Alaska Anchorage, dominated the field as she did two weeks ago in Bellingham, winning in a course record 20:27.

Cal Baptist (68), Alaska Anchorage (84), and Chico State (105) claimed the three automatic spots for the NCAA D2 championship meet in Evansville, Indiana in two weeks.

The announcement of the eight additional men’s and women’s teams from around the country earning at-large spots in the national championships, plus the names of the individual qualifiers, is set for Monday.

NOTE:  The sports information office of Western Oregon University and the NCAA contributed to this report.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Washington's Division II schools head to Monmouth for NCAA D2 West Regionals Saturday...

For Washington’s four NCAA Division II teams—Western Washington, Central Washington, Saint Martin’s, and Seattle Pacific, the 2017 cross country season either ends this Saturday in Monmouth, Oregon, or two weeks from Saturday in Evansville, Indiana, as Western Oregon University hosts the NCAA Division II West Regional cross country championships at Ash Creek Preserve.

The top three teams from the eight regionals contested around the country automatically advance to the nationals in Evansville, with an additional eight at-large berths added by the NCAA Division II cross country committee.

The West region, considered one of the strongest regions, could potentially send five or more teams per gender to nationals. The West has six men’s and women’s teams each ranked in the current USTFCCCA national top 25.

Of the four Washington schools, the Western Washington men’s squad, which was ranked #23 in the country before finishing fourth in the GNAC championship meet in Bellingham two weeks ago, has the best chance of advancing to nationals, though they will have to leapfrog at least one of the six nationally ranked teams in the West—Chico State, Cal Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, and GNAC foes Western Oregon, Alaska Anchorage, and Simon Fraser, if it wants to finish the season in Indiana.

Western will be led by Jadon Olson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished sixth at the GNACs two weeks ago.

On the women’s side, it will be a difficult task for any one of the four Washington schools to qualify for the national championships, though Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson, the GNAC runner-up, has a solid chance to qualify as an individual.

The top two individuals from non-qualifying teams automatically qualify for the national championships. Individuals who finish in the top five at the regionals automatically qualify for nationals. Eight at-large berths from the eight regional meets are also given by the committee using a formula.

The women’s 6k race gets underway at 10 am, while the mens’ 10k starts at 11:15 am.

NOTE:  The GNAC, and the Western Oregon sports information office contributed to this report.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Both Husky squads & Cougar men maintain positions in USTFCCCA coaches' poll...

NEW ORLEANS—Bothe the University of Washington (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Washington State men’s cross country squads maintained their positions in the USTFCCCA national top 30, and the Husky women’s team did likewise, as the national coaches’ poll was released Tuesday.

The Huskies, thanks to their fifth place finish in the Pac-12 championship last week, moved up one spot from the previous poll conducted two weeks ago to number 20 in the national poll, while the voters penalized the Cougars for finishing sixth at Pac-12s by dropping them to number 27.

The nation’s top five teams are Northern Arizona, BYU, Syracuse, Pac-12 champion Stanford, and Colorado.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the national top 30 include co-number 10 UCLA, and #13 Oregon.

Other nationally ranked teams that both the Huskies and Cougars will have to contend with at the NCAA West Regionals include #6 Portland, and #26 Boise State.

The Washington women’s team dropped three spots from the previous poll two weeks ago to number 16 despite finishing fourth in the Pac-12 championship meet.

The nation’s top five teams are Pac-12 champions Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, San Francisco, and North Carolina State.

Other nationally ranked teams from the Pac-12 include #7 Stanford, and #26 California.

Nationally ranked teams the Dawgs will have to contend with at the NCAA regionals not in the Pac-12 include San Francisco at #4, and #10 Boise State.

The top two teams from the nine NCAA regional races around the country on November 10th will automatically earn berths into the NCAA championships on November 18th in Louisville, Kentucky, while 13 other teams will be selected to fill the field based on a formula that takes into account head to head competition in key regular season meets, as well as the conference and regional meets.


Federal Way resident and Cape Verde Olympian Jordin Andrade (above/photo by Paul Merca) announced on his Facebook page that he will leave the Puget Sound area to train in Raleigh, North Carolina under George Williams, the head coach at St. Augustine’s University.

Williams, who was the head men’s US Olympic team coach in 2004, has worked with numerous world class hurdlers, including Bershawn Jackson, and Johnny Dutch.  

Andrade, a graduate of Bonney Lake HS, was a semi-finalist at the Rio Olympics, but did not get out of the first round at the IAAF world track & field championships in London in August in the 400 hurdles.

Andrade, who has been working with Mike Cunliffe and the Seattle Speed group since graduating from Boise State, says that he will have the opportunity to train with a group of national and world-class hurdlers, something that he didn’t have in Seattle.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rough day for both SeattleU and Eastern Washington at conference championship meets...

It was a rough day for both Seattle University and Eastern Washington as the Redhawks and the Eagles ran in their respective conference championship meets Saturday.

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, Seattle University senior Matthew Seidel (above/photo courtesy Seattle University) ran to a seventh place finish at the Western Athletic Conference championship meet Saturday to lead the Redhawks to a fourth place finish.

Seidel ran 24:23 for the 8k course, as the Redhawks scored 119 points, as the University of Missouri/Kansas City upset Utah Valley, leveling them on points at 42, but winning the tiebreaker (1st runner vs 1st runner, down to 5th runner vs 5th runner. Team with most wins takes the tiebreaker, which was UMKC 3-2).

Bryce Miller of UMKC won the race in 23:47.

In the women’s 5k race, the Redhawks’ Olivia Stein led the way for SeattleU, racing to a ninth place finish in 17:23, as the team also ran to a fourth place finish with 106 points.

Host New Mexico State upset Utah Valley on a tiebreaker, with both schools scoring 47, and NMSU winning the tiebreaker 3-2.

UMKC’s Mia Jerman won the race in 16:56.

The Eagles finished eighth with 218 points, as Northern Arizona won with 51 points, led by Paige Gilchrist, who won in 17:13.

On the mens’ side, Colton Johnsen led the way with a 37th place finish on the 8k course, running 25:58.

Northern Arizona, the nation’s number one team, easily won with 24 points, led by Tyler Day’s 23:21.


Kaderabek ran 24:22 for 8k to finish 17th, as the Bulldog men’s squad finished fourth with 102 points.

Number 2 ranked BYU won the men’s title with 22 points, led by winner Connor McMillan’s 23:23, with number 3 ranked Portland second with 50 points. 

Spokane native Nick Hauger was the second runner for Portland, finishing seventh in 23:31.

Thurston, the last remaining member of the Bulldog team that won the WCC title two years ago in Spokane, ran 20;53 to finish 18th over the 6k course, as the Zags were sixth with 179 points.

Charlotte Taylor of #4 ranked San Francisco, led the way for the Dons, winning the race in 19:11, as USF easily won the team title with 23 points.

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and SeattleU will meet up at the NCAA West Regional championship meet on November 10th at Seattle’s Jefferson Park GC, hosted by the University of Washington.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and SeattleU contributed to this report.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mahmoud Moussa breaks through with fifth place finish at Pac-12 championships...

SPRINGFIELD, Oregon—For most of the season, observers of the University of Washington cross country team felt that Mahmoud Moussa (left/photo by Paul Merca) was on the verge of a breakthrough, but were wondering when that would happen.

After the fog had burned away Friday morning at the Springfield Golf Club, that breakthrough came at the Pac-12 cross country championships, as Moussa ran to a fifth place finish over the 8k distance.

As they did at last year’s NCAA regional championships in Sacramento, several runners from Washington State took control of the front, beginning with Nathan Wadhwani, followed by Chandler Teigen, then their All-American Michael Williams, with UCLA’s Robert Brandt, who did much of the leading at the Wisconsin Invitational, close by.

At the penultimate split point, Brandt and Cclorado’s Joe Klecker went to the front, with Moussa and Stanford’s Grant Fisher lurking.

Moussa went to the front with less than 800 meters to go, but as they went to the final 400, Fisher surged to the lead and held it as they shot down the final straightaway.

Fisher won in 23:45, with Klecker second in 23:48.

A pair of Stanford runners, Steven Fahy, and Alex Ostberg, nosed Moussa out at the line, with all three timed at 23:52.

WSU’s Teigen hung on to take ninth in 24:03.

Colorado’s reign as conference champions ended, as the Cardinal, thanks to a top-5 finish by their three top runners, won with a final team score of 41 points, with the Buffaloes second with 47 points.

Washington was fifth with 114 points, while Washington State took sixth with 138.

Other scorers for the Huskies were Andrew Gardner in 11th (24:05); Colby Gilbert in 27th (24:27); Talon Hull in 29th (24:29); and Andy Snyder in 47th (24:47).

WSU’s other scorers were Michael Williams in 19th (24:12), Jake Finney in 33rd (24:32), Matthew Watkins in 37th (24:34), and early leader Wadhwani in 45th (24:40).

Spokane native Tanner Anderson of Oregon was 22nd in 24:16, as the host Ducks were fourth with 109 points.

In the opening women’s 6k championship race, Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger went to the front as she did at last month’s Dellinger Invitational that she won in setting a course record of 18:48.

Unlike the Dellinger and the Wisconsin meets where Washington’’s Amy-Eloise Neale hung back, the senior from Snohomish via Great Britain stayed in contact with the front runners, fluctuating anywhere from third to twelfth.

With less than 1000 meters to go, Neale was in prime position to jump the leaders, sitting on the shoulder of Colorado’s Dani Jones and Rainsberger.

Jones took the conference title, running 18:58, with Rainsberger and Neale going 2-3 in 18:59.

Colorado won the team title with a low score of 53 points, with Stanford and Oregon tied at 71.

Washington was fourth with 128 points, while Washington State was tenth with 259.

After Neale, the Huskies’ scorers were Kaitlyn Neal in 26th (19:35), Izzi Batt-Doyle in 27th (19:39); Emily Hamlin in 36th (20:04), and Anna Maxwell in 38th (20:05).

Washington State was led by Vallery Korir in 13th (19:20); Devon Bortfeld in 40th (20:06); Melissa Hruska in 77th (21:00); Josie Brown in 81st (21:03); and Kiyena Beatty in 88th (21:17).

Next up for both Washington squads is the NCAA West Regionals at Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course on November 10th.

NOTE:  The University of Oregon and the Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cougs and Dawgs head to Willamette Valley for Pac-12 cross country champs Friday...

In this blog’s preview of the 2016 Pac-12 cross country championships, World Wresting Entertainment hall of famer Ric Flair’s famous quote of “to be the man, you have to beat the man” was used to describe the cross country juggernaut that is the University of Colorado.

Although the University of Colorado won the women’s team title at the Pac-12s in Tucson last year, the tables were turned on the Buffaloes at the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Indiana, as the University of Oregon, which finished fourth at both the Pac-12s and the West regionals, stormed past everyone to win the NCAA title.

With Oregon set to host the Pac-12 championships at the Springfield Golf Course on Friday, the number one-ranked Ducks are the team to beat for the team title over the 6k distance, especially after they defeated  Colorado at the adidas Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky two weeks ago.

A victory by Oregon on its home course would snap a two year grip by Colorado on the conference team title.

The University of Washington, led by defending champ Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca), goes into the Pac-12s as the #13 team in the country, On paper, the Dawgs, who scored the only perfect 15 in meet history in winning the Pac-10 title on this course nine years ago en route to its only national title, are projected to finish third, behind Oregon and Colorado, with #14 Stanford expected to battle the Huskies, along with #27 Utah and #28 California.

On paper, Neale does not appear to be the favorite to defend her individual title, as Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger, who set a course record of 18:48 in winning the Bill Dellinger Invitational last month; Dani Jones of Colorado, who beat Rainsberger at the adidas Pre-Nationals, and Utah’s Grayson Murphy, who was second at the Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, have all run well in the big invitationals this season.

However, Neale, who was 14th in Wisconsin, had one of the fastest last 2k splits at that race, running 6:22 to gain ten places. If she can stay within striking distance of the leaders with less than a mile to go as she did at last year’s Pac-12 championships, she will be a factor. 

Washington State will be led into battle by Vallery Korir, the transfer from Murray State, who won the open section of the Nuttycombe Wisconsin meet two weeks ago.

In the men’s competition, Colorado is the team to knock off for the title belt, as the Buffs have won every Pac-12 title since entering the league in 2011, and are on course to set the league-record streak of seven. Colorado currently shares the league record of six straight Pac-12 team titles (2011-16) with Stanford (2000-05).

The Buffaloes, who enter the Pac-12 8k championship race as the #5 ranked team in the country, will be challenged by #6 Stanford, and #8 Oregon, with #14 UCLA, #20 Washington State, and #21 Washington all having something to say about the outcome.

Washington State will be led by All-American Michael Williams, who was 39th at Wisconsin two weeks ago. The Huskies will be led by senior All-American Colby Gilbert along with fellow senior Andrew Gardner.

The Dawgs will have available freshman Talon Hull, who sat out the Wisconsin meet with an injury.  According to the school’s press release, senior Fred Huxham will not travel to Springfield, though he was on the preliminary entry list. Huxham, who only ran in the meet against Seattle University on September 1st, will be eligible to redshirt, assuming he doesn’t compete in any more meets this season.

A pair of runners from the Spokane area could contend for individual honors in Colorado’s John Dressel, who was a cross country All-American last year, and Oregon’s Tanner Anderson, who was third in the Pac-12 10000m last spring.

For the first time, the Pac-12 Network will televise the Pac-12 cross country championships live Friday, beginning at 11 am (Comcast channel 628 in Seattle), with Jim Watson, Dwight Stones, and Lewis Johnson on the call.  Authenticated subscribers can also stream the meet on their computers or devices using the Pac-12 Now app and The awards ceremony will be webcast on the Pac-12’s Facebook page. will be in Springfield covering the Pac-12s.


On Friday, Gonzaga travels to Oakland for the West Coast Conference championships at the Metropolitan Golf Links, with the women’s 6k starting at 10 am, and the men’s 8k following at 11 am.

On the men’s side, #2 ranked BYU and #3 ranked Portland are set to collide for the conference crown, as those two schools have won the last 38 WCC titles.

Portland has on its roster two athletes with Washington ties, led by Nick Hauger from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, and Logan Orndorf from Cedarcrest HS in Duvall.  Both were scorers for the Pilots in Wisconsin two weeks ago, with Hauger finishing eighth.

The Zags will be led on the men’s side by Dillon Quintana, who was 16th in last year’s conference title race, and Max Kaderabek, who led the team two weeks ago at the adidaa Pre-Nationals in Louisville.

On the women’s side, Jordan Thurston, the last remaining member of the historic 2015 team that won the WCC title en route to qualifying for its first NCAA national championship berth, leads the way for the Zags into Oakland.

The WCC championships will be streamed live on

Saturday, both Eastern Washington and Seattle University will compete in their conference championships, with Eastern heading to Ogden, Utah for the Big Sky Conference meet hosted by Weber State, while Seattle University travels to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Western Athletic Conference title clash, hosted by New Mexico State.

After conference championship weekend, all five schools will compete at the NCAA West Regionals in Seattle on November 10th at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill.

NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference, the Western Athletic Conference, the Big Sky Conference, the West Coast Conference, and the sports information offices of all five Washington NCAA Division I schools contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

SPU's Mary Charleson takes second in GNAC cross country championships...

BELLINGHAM—It rained before, and after the races, but for the duration of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country championships at East Lake Padden Park, the weather gods cooperated.

Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who had nursed an injury for most of the season before opening two weeks ago on this very same course with a 13th place finish in 22:15 at the Western Washington Classic under explicit instructions to run easy with the pack for the first mile, roared to a second place finish, running 21:46 over the wet course, improving on her fourth place finish in the conference meet last year.

While Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat ran away from the field, winning by a 56 second margin over Charleson in 20:50, the Seattle Pacific senior had a seven second gap over third place finisher Julia Howley of Simon Fraser, who was one of the most dominant runners in the conference this season.

Charleson’s efforts helped the Falcons gain a fourth place finish, just behind host Western Washington, as the Vikings edged Seattle Pacific out by a 87-93 margin, despite not having a runner break into the top ten.

Afterwards, Charleson said, "It felt so good to be back and starting where I normally start and being competitive with it. “I didn't hold anything back today, and that was exciting."

"After that first hill, I started making a move on the downhill," Charleson said of how she broke away on the back side of the lake. "I knew we had to keep up the pace so that the back pack didn't catch us.”

Sophomore Tracy Melville was the Vikings’ top finisher in 13th place with a time of 22:24.

Central Washington was fifth with 163 points, led by GNAC 10000m champ Alexa Shindruk, who was 11th in 22;14.

Saint Martin’s was tenth with 255 points, led by Larissa Kolasinski in 31st place with a time of 23:23.

Alaska Anchorage made an emphatic statement in successfully defending its GNAC title, as the #8 ranked Seawolves scored a low of 28 points, placing all five of its scorers in the top ten, handily defeating number 4 Simon Fraser, who scored 65 points.

With Saturday’s performance, Alaska Anchorage should move up when the national USTFCCCA rankings are published on Wednesday.

In the men’s 8k race, there was a bit of a mild upset, as Western Oregon’s David Ribich, the reigning NCAA D2 champ at 1500 meters, got the best of defending conference cross country champ Edwin Kangogo, winning the GNAC title in a time of 24:55 to Kangogo’s 25:04.

#23 Western Washington placed two runners in the top ten, led by Jadon Olson’s sixth place finish in 25:30.  Andrew Wise was tenth in 25:42, as the Vikings finished fourth with 76 points.

As in the women’s race, Ribich’s win propelled #13 Western Oregon to the conference title, stopping a streak of seven consecutive team titles for Alaska Anchorage. The Wolves, coached by former UW head coach Mike Johnson, scored 51 points to UAA’s 64 points.

The Vikings, which beat unranked Simon Fraser two weeks ago at its own meet, had the tide turned on them by the Clan, as SFU was third with 70 points to WWU’s 76.

Central Washington was sixth with 161 points, led by Josh Boston in 25th place in 26:19.  

Seattle Pacific was eighth with 224 points, as Peder Rickbell was their top runner in 32nd in 26:42, while Saint Martin’s was 11th with 331 points, led by Josh Hunt in 59th place in 27:11.

All eleven GNAC member schools will reconvene in two weeks at Western Oregon University’s Ash Creek Preserve for the NCAA West Regional championship meet to determine berths for the NCAA championships in Evansville, Indiana on November 18th.

NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Friday, October 20, 2017

GNAC cross country title tilt slated for Saturday in Bellingham...

The championship season begins Saturday for Washington’s four NCAA Division II schools, as they convene in Bellingham for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet at Lake Padden Park, with the women’s 6k starting at 10 am, and the men’s 8k going one hour later.

The host Western Washington Vikings would love nothing better than to win a conference title on their home course, with their men’s squad having the best chance of doing so, led by Andrew Wise (left/photo by Paul Merca), who has four top-20 finishes this season, including a sixth-place performance at the WWU Classic two weeks ago over the same Lake Padden course, albeit over the longer 10k distance.

However, the road to the conference crown goes straight through defending champion Alaska Anchorage, currently ranked in the USTFCCCA national poll at number 17.

The Seawolves are led by defending conference champ Edwin Kangogo, who is the only scoring member of last year’s championship team returning, although they have two other runners who competed in the conference title battle.

Western Oregon, currently the highest ranked GNAC squad nationally at #13, and Simon Fraser are the two other schools with realistic chances to knock off Alaska Anchorage.

Wise and Seattle Pacific’s Ben Halladay are the two Washington runners with the best chances to contend for top-10 individual honors.

The women’s team title is expected to be a two-way battle between defending champs Alaska Anchorage and Simon Fraser, currently ranked #5 in the latest USTFCCCA coaches poll.

UAA’s Caroline Kurgat comes into the meet as the defending champion, while Simon Fraser’s Julia Howley is expected to challenge for top individual honors.

Central Washington’s Alexa Shindruk, the defending GNAC 10000m champ, along with Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson, Western’s Lillianna Stelling, and Saint Martin’s Yadira Lopez, could contend for top-10 finishes.

As it has been for the past few days leading up to the race, expect cool and rainy skies, and a slick course for Saturday’s races.

NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

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