Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cougars and Huskies head to Terre Haute for crucial Pre-Nationals race...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – Final preparations are under way at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center where Indiana State University will host the biggest collegiate cross country invitational of the season with the 2010 Pre-National Invitational this Saturday.

Eighteen of the top 30 men’s cross country teams and 18 of the top 30 women’s cross country teams will be on hand this weekend, including the University of Washington and Washington State University, along with many other schools that have either been ranked or received votes during the 2010 season.

Pre-Nationals divides the massive men's and women's fields into a Blue Race and White Race, splitting the races evenly based on rankings. Both Husky squads are in the Blue Races, while both Cougar teams are in the White Races.

The men will run over a 8-kilometer course, while the women will race over 6-kilometers.

Once Saturday's races are complete, only three meets remain, starting with the Pac-10 Championships, which UW will host on October 30 at Jefferson Park Golf Course. From there it's on to NCAA West Regionals on November 13 and back to Terre Haute for the NCAA Championships on November 22.

The Cougar women will be led by freshman Ruby Roberts from Kingston, who has been the surprise of the season thus far for coach Pete Julian’s squad, as she’s been the first runner across the line for WSU in every meet to date.

For the 13th ranked UW women, leading the charge are seniors Kailey Campbell and Mel Lawrence (left/photo by Mike Scott). Campbell was 15th at Pre-Nationals last year in one of her best outings, while Lawrence was fifth in 2008 and did not run at the race a year ago. Campbell had an excellent run at Notre Dame, while Lawrence made her season debut in South Bend and is looking to take another step closer to her peak form.

While reigning Foot Locker national champ Megan Goethals will not make the trip to Indiana, Nike Cross Nationals champion Katie Flood will run Saturday in her official Husky debut. Two weeks ago, Flood finished third in the Emerald City Open race hosted by Seattle University.

Washington State will have the services of 2009 IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships competitor Andrew Kimpel from North Central HS in Spokane. The sophomore competed three weeks ago as an unattached runner at the Erik Anderson Invitational in Spokane Valley, finishing second behind Cougar teammate Justin Englund.

The Husky men will look for strong runs from junior Cameron Quackenbush and sophomore Joey Bywater. Last year, Bywater was 46th overall, helping the Huskies to an impressive fifth-place showing. Quackenbush will look for a strong bounce-back run after he was unable to finish at Notre Dame. The Huskies will be without Sundodger champ Max O'Donoghue-McDonald again this week as the junior recovers from a back injury, so UW will need everyone to step up in his absence.

Eastern Washington will send Kyle King to Terre Haute, where he will compete in the open section of the Pre-Nationals race to get some exposure running on the national championship course.

Media partner flotrack.org will provide live streaming video of the Pre-Nationals meet starting at 8 am, pacific time. Complete results will be posted here at the Indiana State University athletic department web site.

Those Washington State athletes not competing in Terre Haute will run at the Inland Northwest Classic meet in Cheney that features a women's 5k (10 a.m.) and men's 8k (10:45 a.m.) on the Eastern Washington University campus. Teams competing include Gonzaga, Whitworth, Lewis-Clark St., Spokane CC, Flathead Valley CC. Calgary, WSU and host EWU.

The complete University of Washington release can be read here, while Washington State’s release can be accessed here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington, and Indiana State University contributed to this report.

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