Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eastern's Kyle King third at Big Sky; Gonzaga's Chris Boyle fourth at WCC...

CHENEY, Washington--The Eastern Washington University men's cross country team placed fifth and the women's team placed seventh at the 2010 Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday.

Junior Kyle King (left/photo courtesy Eastern Washington University) led the men's team, placing fourth in the men's 8,000-meter competition and clocking a time of 22:11. King ran in the leading pack the entirety of the race, moving up to the third-place position until the last stretch, where he was out-kicked by junior Patrick Casey from Montana State, who finished in a time of 22:10.

"This was the race of the season, for sure -- top three races ever," said King. "The last two races I have gone out too hard, too early and so I am short at the end, but I just went for it today. That's the best I've felt all year, so I just went for it. I held third place for a long time, then got kicked at the end, but it's OK."

"Kyle ran awesome. There is no other way to put that," said head coach Chris Zeller. "I think his late start has been a real blessing. He has come along exactly the way you want a runner to do in the cross country season."

Northern Arizona had five finishers in the top-ten, including favorite David McNeill, who ran to his third-straight individual title in a blazing time of 21:29. Teammate Diego Estrada finished close behind with a time of 21:31, placing second overall. Both men averaged about 4:19 minutes per mile.

Senior Bowe Ebding was the Eagle's second finisher, placing 16th in the field of 64 competitors. He finished in a time of 23:08. Other finishers were junior Cody Barton (23:43), sophomore Simon Sorenson (24:02), freshman Connor Williams (24:31) and junior Drake DaPonte (24:47).

The Northern Arizona men claimed their fourth-straight team title, scoring an impressive 27 points. All seven Lumberjack-men finished in the top 15. Montana State finished second with 56 points, followed by Weber State (99), Sacramento State (134), Eastern Washington (137), Idaho State (151), Portland State (166), Montana (193) and Northern Colorado (250).

Senior Amy Kolin led the Eagle women, as she placed sixth in the 5,000-meter race, crossing the finish line in 16:07 and assisting the Eagles to secure a seventh-place finish.

"I'm feeling good, it was awesome having conference at home, having the entire track team here and feeding off of that positive energy helped," said Kolin. "The whole team did really well. Everybody is happy about their performance."

"The course was short so I took that time with a grain of salt. I felt like I was more competitive than I have ever been in a race. I felt I was battling the whole time and never gave up. If I lost track of the people I was with, I was able to catch back up with them quickly," said Kolin.

Other Eagle finishers were junior Stephanie Dye (17:11), freshman Angelica Rodriguez (17:34), freshman Monica Jaenicke (17:47), freshman Micaela Rasmussen (18:27), freshman Kimberly Macias (18:34), sophomore Jessi Johnson (19:04) and freshman Danielle Raschko (19:20).

Idaho State's Erica Wendt-Richardson crossed the finish line first in the women's competition in a time of 15:47. She was followed by Montana's Katrina Drennen (15:52) and Weber's Natalie Haws (15:53).

The Grizzlies from Montana took the team crown today, placing first overall while scoring 49 points. They were followed by Weber State (63), Idaho State (68), Sacramento State (105), Northern Arizona (124), Montana State (168), Eastern Washington (197), Portland State (213) and Northern Colorado (237).

In Belmont, California, Gonzaga University junior Chris Boyle set a school record for the West Coast Conference Cross Country Championships in earning his second straight All-WCC country honor Saturday, finishing fourth in the WCC Championships at Crystal Springs Course.

Boyle, 10th a year ago, finished fourth in 25:08 over the 8K layout, shaving 26 seconds off his time of a year ago and breaking the Gonzaga record of 25:28 last set by Joe Miller in 2006.

Gonzaga head coach Pat Tyson summed up the Bulldogs performance quite simply.

"It was a good day for Gonzaga, not a great day. But we're getting better in a much more competitive league," Tyson said.

The Bulldog men replicated their fifth-place finish of a year ago and the Bulldog women improved one spot to fifth. The Gonzaga men scored 107 points to finish 10 points behind Loyola Marymount for fourth and 11 points behind third-place Santa Clara University. As expected, the University of Portland won a 32nd straight title with 36 points and had the individual champion in junior Craig Hopkins who covered the course in 25:01.

Gonzaga's women scored 120 points, three points behind SCU for fourth. The University of San Francisco defended its team title with 38 points, while Loyola Marymount University's Tara Erdmann was the individual champion in 20:21.

Senior Laura Volcheff was the top Bulldog woman, finishing 20th in 21:58 for her first career sub-22 minute 6K.

Boyle turned in another strong performance.

"We have a top gun in Boyle who was in the hunt to win and ended up seven seconds out first, five seconds out of second and three seconds out of third. He showed a lot of moxie and was second early in the race," Tyson said.

In Edinburg, Texas, five Seattle University runners finished in the top 20 to allow the Redhawk men to finish in second place, while an All-Conference performance by freshman Cara Talty (Raritan, N.J.) helped the women post a fifth-place finish at the 2010 Great West Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday morning at the Los Lagos Golf Club.

Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) again led the way for the Seattle U men, finishing in third place in the 8k race in 24:04, earning First Team All-Conference honors along the way. Sophomore Kelton Sears (Maple Valley, Wash.) crossed the finish line in eighth place in 24:24, and Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.) finished in 14th place with a time of 24:49. Sears and McClement each earned Second Team All-Conference honors for their efforts, the second straight year McClement has been recognized in that way.

"To have three guys (Barkhaus, Sears, and McClement) earn All-Conference honors is fantastic and we had two more guys who were right on the cusp. That's what it takes to reach the goals we set for our season. We've shown that we are strong. That will feed into our upcoming track seasons as well," head coach Trisha Steidl said.

As a team, Seattle University finished with 56 points, well ahead of third place finisher Texas-Pan American. With four runners in the top ten, Utah Valley won the conference title with 34 points, with Wolverine runner Josh McCabe earning the individual title with a time of 23:50.

In her first conference championship competition, Talty maintained her position as Seattle U's top female runner this season, crossing the finish line in seventh place with a time of 17:20.26 over the 5k course. She was rewarded for her efforts with First Team All-Conference honors.
"Cara had a great race this morning. I'm proud of the fight she put up in the race today and thrilled that she earned All-Conference honors, especially as a freshman," Steidl said.

Sarah Bolce (Sacramento, Calif.) was the next Seattle U runner to finish the race, crossing the finish line in 20th place with a time of 17:58. Celeste Cassidy (Bellingham, Wash.) finished in 23rd place with a time of 17:59 followed closely by Lauren Hammerle (Seattle, Wash.) in 24th place in 18:01 and Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.) in 27th place in 18:09. Allison Prather (Carpinteria, Calif.) finished in 53rd place in 19:23, and Ashley Dalton (Bellingham, Wash.) crossed the finish line in 59th place in 20:03.

The Seattle University women collected 90 points, just one point more than South Dakota to finish in fifth place behind the Coyotes. Utah Valley easily won the team competition with 39 points, while North Dakota's Lindsay Anderson earned the individual title after finishing the course in 16:47.

NOTE: The sports information offices of Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and Seattle University contributed to this report.

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