Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flanagan and O'Donoghue-McDonald lead Huskies to victory at Sundodger Invitational...

SEATTLE--Sophomore Lindsay Flanagan and junior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald emerged victorious in the invitational women's 6k race and men's 8k race at the annual Sundodger Invitational cross country race at Lincoln Park to lead the University of Washington Huskies to yet another team championship.

Competing under cloudy skies that gave way to sunshine as the meet progressed, Flanagan (left/photo by Paul Merca), a sophomore from Lake Park HS in Roselle, Illinois, was content to let Canadian Natasha Wodak and the heralded Husky freshman Megan Goethals do most of the early work in the race.

As the runners headed down the south end of Lincoln Park for the final lap, Flanagan was gradually able to shake off Wodak, and extend her lead, cruising to a twelve-second victory, covering the 6k course in 20:35.

Wodak hung on for second in 20:47, followed by Chelsea Wishard of Pepperdine in 20:54, passing Goethals who ended up fourth in 20:55.

Rounding out the top ten were Lauren Lodge of Pepperdine in 20:58 for fifth, followed by Husky senior Kailey Campbell from Ballard HS in 21:08.  Freshman Liberty Miller from Simi Valley, California was seventh in 21:23, followed by Husky teammate Allison Linnell in 8th at 21:29.  Hannak Kiser (21:31) and Julia Veseth (21:37) from Idaho were ninth and tenth.

"I just wanted to stay with the team and run with whoever was up there," said Flanagan. "I feel like I had a good summer and I just said ... stay with them. The last lap, we work hard to get through that last (thousand meters) so I just thought about that and finishing hard."

The Huskies, ranked third in the current USTFCCCA national poll, and who had five runners in the top eight, despite missing All-Americans Mel Lawrence and Christine Babcock, took home the team title with 22 points, followed by Idaho in second at 72 points, then Pepperdine in third at 99 points.

Washington had a 54-second gap between first runner Flanagan, and fifth runner Linnell.

Coach Pat Tyson's improved Gonzaga squad was fourth at 108 points, while Eastern Washington finished sixth at 160 points.  Seattle University finished eighth with 186 points.

In the men's invitational 8k race, the outcome was still in doubt with 200 meters to go, as Husky junior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald (left/photo by Paul Merca), was part of a group of about six runners as they headed into the final lap.

Defending champion and Sundodger course record holder Paul Limpf made a move to try and shake up the gang of six, but O'Donoghue-McDonald, a graduate of Seattle Prep HS countered the surge with a move on his own, shortly after running past Washington head coach Greg Metcalf.

"I heard Metcalf yelling at me, saying 'you can't lose the freaking Sundodger meet on your home course', so I had to come back with a move of my own," said the winner in the post-race interview.

As the runners came down the final straightaway, Limpf, a graduate of Eastern Washington University, who is training for the Twin Cities Marathon next month, made one last shot at running down O'Donoghue-McDonald, falling one second short as the Husky stopped the watches in 24:04.

Chris Reed of Western Oregon was a close third in 24:05. Unattached runner Friesen (no first name listed in results) was fourth in 24:09, and Washington junior Cameron Quackenbush was fifth in 24:11.

Barry Britt of Idaho was sixth in 24:13, and David Laney of Southern Oregon was seventh in 24:13.  Former Husky Mike Hill was eighth in 24:16, followed by Washington sophomore Joey Bywater in 24:21, and 2007 world championships marathon competitor Uli Steidl from Seattle was tenth at 24:28.

The Huskies, who ran close to a full squad Saturday, took the team title with 27 points, and a 29-second gap between winner O'Donoghue-McDonald, and fifth runner Gareth Gilna.

Southern Oregon finished second with 75 points, followed by Idaho in third at 78 points.

Gonzaga was fourth with 140 points, while Eastern Washington ended up sixth with 160 points.  Seattle University finished eighth with 185 points.

In the men's open 8k race, Kyle Van Santen of St. Martin's took the victory in 28:48, while NCAA Division III Whitworth College, currently unranked nationally took home the team title with 47 points, and will certainly get noticed when the next national poll comes out.

The women's open 6k race was won by Jessica Smith of Simon Fraser in 21:52.  Smith and teammate Angela Shaw's 1-2 finish led Simon Fraser to the women's open team title with 35 points.

The link to complete results from the Sundodger Invitational, along with the UW's media release can be accessed here.

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