Friday, October 9, 2009

Four Falcons to run in San Francisco, while rest of team set for showdown with Western in Bellingham...

Bellingham and San Francisco will be the focus this weekend as the Seattle Pacific and Western Washington cross country teams will compete at those venues.

Seattle Pacific's reigning NCAA D2 cross country champ Jessica Pixler (left/photo courtesy SPU Sports Information) will get a preview of this year’s regional course, and the rest of the region will get a look at her, speedy senior teammate Jane Larson, and SPU men’s team front runners Chad Meis and Jordan Lance when the four of them compete in the San Francisco State Invite at Golden Gate Park on Friday.

The meet affords runners an opportunity to get a feel for the course that will be used again on Nov. 7 for the NCAA Division II West Region championships. Pixler and Larson will run in the 6-kilometer women’s race at 4 p.m. SPU senior Meis and junior Lance will go in the 8K men’s race at 4:45.

While that Falcon foursome will be getting one final race under their shoes prior to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships (set for Oct. 24 in Yakima), the rest of the SPU runners will be doing likewise on Saturday at the Western Washington Invitational at Bellingham’s Lake Padden Park. The women will run their 6K race at 10:30 a.m., followed by the men’s 10K at 11:15 a.m.

"It will be good to get back in a cycle again and have a good race," said WWU Invitational host and Western coach Pee Wee Halsell. "It will help us get ready for the championship part of our season where our focus is."

The Viking women, ranked No.7 in the latest United States Cross Country Coaches Association/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, are led by All-American Sarah Porter, who is looking to defend her individual title.

Porter has placed first in five of her last six regular-season meets and finished among the top 10 in all 11 regular-season events during her three-year career.

The Western men, rated No.8 nationally, are seeking a fifth straight team title.

The Vikings are paced by three All-Americans - Bennett Grimes, Blake Medhaug, and Jordan Welling.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Western Washington and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.

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