Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lisa Egami opens season with victory at Clash of Inland NW cross country meet...

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State's Lisa Egami and Chelsea VanDeBrake (left/file photo by Paul Merca) finished one-two in the women's race, and Andrew Kimpel and David Hickerson were the top Cougars in the men's race, at third and fourth in the season-opening Clash of the Inland Northwest Cross Country meet at Mead High School in Spokane Saturday morning.

Egami, a senior from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, won the women's 4,000m race in a time of 16-minutes, 10.01 seconds. VanDeBrake, a senior from Yakima, took second place with a time of 16:10.02. Freshman Alyssa Andrews (Gig Harbor), running unattached, finished sixth in a time of 16:24.0.

"I was really pleased with the women's results today," first-year Cougar coach Pete Julian said. "We have pretty much overhauled their training and it's a whole new system. They ran very confident and sure of themselves and looked very strong. Chelsea was the pleasant surprise of the day. After struggling a bit for the last year, she returned back today to the athlete we all knew she was. It was good to see her up running with Lisa and that will be really helpful to us later in the year. This sport really favors the upperclassmen probably more than any other college sport. We have good team balance with seniors and freshmen Alyssa Andrews, Courtney Zalud and Caroline Austin. I think this team is going to be quite good."

Idaho's Markus Geiger won the men's 6,000m race in a time of 20:10.01 with Eastern Washington's Kyle King took second in a time of 20:28.0. Cougar freshman Kimpel (Spokane) and junior Hickerson (Spokane), both running unattached, finished in a time of 20:34.0. Dominic Smargiassi (senior, Auburn) took sixth in a time of 20:38.02.

"The rebuilding era is over for the Cougar men and we are in a position for success now," Julian said. "We held out a large majority of our guys in terms of not putting a WSU singlet on them. They ran unattached and conservative. This was an opportunity for the freshmen to shine and get the jitters out of the way. They all looked great, running at tempo and in control. I am tremendously pleased with where the athletes are right now."

The Cougars next competition will be at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 26.

Complete results from the Clash of the Inland Northwest meet can be accessed here.

NOTE: The WSU Sports Information office contributed to this report.

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