Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kendra Schaaf & Kelly Spady win Sundodger titles at Lincoln Park...

SEATTLE--For the second straight year, the University of Washington's Sundodger Invitational lived up to its title billing, as the sun managed to dodge Lincoln Park Saturday.

Continuing where she left off in 2008, Washington's Kendra Schaaf motored around the wet Lincoln Park course Saturday to win her second straight Sundodger Invitational cross country race at Lincoln Park, destroying her own course record in the process.

There was no doubt who was going to win this race, as the sophomore from Craven, Saskatchewan took command from the gun and ran unchallenged.

Another Husky All-American, junior Mel Lawrence, placed second for the second-straight season behind Schaaf, clocking 20:06 which is 17 seconds faster than last year. Seattle Pacific's D-II champ Jessica Pixler was third, a full 20 seconds behind Lawrence.

“It was OK, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for,” said Pixler, who ran third last year in 20:30.99. “I wanted to go out fast and hold on as long as possible, and maybe try to kick a the end. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

“The Stanford Invitational is next week, and I’m definitely going to go for the win in that one,” Pixler added.

Western Washington All-American Sarah Porter grabbed fourth in 20:38, and demonstrated that she may be a factor for a top 20 finish at the NCAA D2 championships in November.

Next up for the Husky women was Lauren Saylor in fifth-place, then redshirt freshman Allison Linnell with perhaps the day's most pleasant surprise, as she grabbed seventh in 21:06. Last year Linnell was 40th in 22:14 but some hard work has clearly paid off for the New Jersey native. Junior Kenna Patrick placed eighth in 21:15, and true freshman Lindsay Flanagan was 10th in 21:18, giving the Huskies six in the top-10.

"First day you're not 100-percent sure what you're going to get," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "With the women we got what we kind of expected. Kendra, that's a great start to her season again. Today was a more calm, cool effort than a year ago and she ran faster. Mel Lawrence is way better than she was a year ago. She was on her game today. Then Lauren, Kenna, Allison, and Lindsay were out doing their thing and they ran together and were patient. So we have some newfound depth there. It was a great place to start."

Senior Kelly Spady (left/file photo by Paul Merca) took a more patient approach to Saturday's invitational men's race, preferring to sit back and let a host of runners do the work over the first few laps.

While he maintained contact with Alaska Anchorage's D2 All-American Micah Chelimo, Spady pulled away on the final lap to garner his first win over 8K as a Husky, stopping the watch at 23:54.

Chelimo was second in 24:03. Husky senior Colton Tully-Doyle was very impressive taking third in 24:08, though he ran unattached. Redshirt freshman Joey Bywater was sixth in his second Sundodger but first with the UW jersey on. At 24:16, Bywater was 30 seconds faster than his 2008 time.

James Cameron from Lake Forest, Calif. was the top UW freshman, placing eighth in 24:23 while competing unattached. Sophomores Cameron Quackenbush and Max O'Donoghue-McDonald crossed ninth and tenth, respectively, in 24:26 and 24:31. O'Donoghue-McDonald is fighting back from a redshirt year lost to injury. His last cross country race was the 2007 West Regional meet.

The Huskies sat out senior Jake Schmitt, who is expected to be the leader of this team this season.

"Our men have a few question marks but I think today some of those questions were answered," Metcalf said. "Kelly Spady coming out here and getting his first 8k victory to run 23:50 I think is a great run out here. He was completely controlled. Max O'Donoghue-McDonald and Joey Bywater had a great start to the season. Colton ran unattached but we'll definitely put a uniform on him. David McCary ran better than he ever had before. So top to bottom our men showed some depth and with what we've done in training I think that was a really good start to our year and we're excited to go test it for real in a couple weeks."

Washington will have the next week off before embarking on the first road challenge of the year. The Huskies will be in South Bend, Indiana for the Notre Dame Invitational on October 2nd.

Complete results from the Sundodger Invitational can be accessed below:

Men's Invitational 8k

Men's Open 8k

Women's Invitational 6k

Women's Open 6k

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

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