Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cougar cross country teams head to South Bend for adidas Notre Dame Invite...

The Washington State cross country team heads to South Bend, Indiana to run in Friday's adidas Notre Dame Invitational at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

The Cougar men look to bounce themselves into the national rankings with a good performance in Indiana racing against eight nationally-ranked and 21 regionally-ranked teams in the five-mile Blue race, while the women's squad, fresh off a victory at the Erik Anderson Memorial race in Spokane Valley, will square off against six nationally-ranked and 25 regionally-ranked squads at Notre Dame.

In the women's race, ranked teams, according to the latest USTFCCCA polls include No. 2 New Mexico, No. 7 Florida State, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 22 Princeton, No. 28 Penn State and No. 29 BYU.

The men's race features No. 3 Stanford, No. 10 Florida State, No. 12 Princeton, No. 14 BYU, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 25 Ohio State and No. 26 Eastern Kentucky, and host and #23 ranked Notre Dame.

In talking about Friday's race, WSU coach Pete Julian said, "Our women have really surprised me this year. They are a good team and I don't really know how good they are and they don't know how good they are. I know that in the practices and the races we've done, they are light years ahead of where they've been, I'm excited to see how they do together as a team. Ruby Roberts is at a higher level than she was a year ago. It will be interesting to see if she is ready to make that jump to being one of the top collegiate women and not just the Northwest."

"We have three or four really strong men up front and based on experience Justin Englund (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Jono Lafler will be leading that charge of WSU men. Certainly guys like Drew Jordan or Andrew Gonzales or Andrew Kimpel wouldn't surprise me at all if one of those guys are our number one man."

Here's a video previewing the adidas Notre Dame Invitational, courtesy of Washington State University.

Meanwhile, Seattle University will host the Emerald City Open on Saturday at Lower Woodland Park, with the women's 6k starting at 10:30, and the men's 8k at 11:15 am.

Seattle Pacific will send athletes to the meet, as well as to the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Salem, Oregon.

The Emerald City Open has traditionally attracted local schools, as well as unattached runners and redshirted athletes.

Both Eastern Washington and Gonzaga head to Missoula for the University of Montana Invitational, where they will run against Big Sky Conference foes Montana and Montana State.

The meet was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was changed to avoid a conflict with a home football game.

You can read Eastern Washington's release here; and, you can read Gonzaga's release here.

Polls, Kendra Schaaf, Usain Bolt, etc...

In this week's USTFCCCA polls, the Washington Huskies dropped to #20 in the Division I women's poll after being ranked #11 last week.

In the national Division II poll, Western Washington's men's team is ranked #21, dropping two slots, while the Viking women are ranked #17, moving up 4 spots.

In Division III, the Whitman women's squad is the only nationally ranked team this week at #35.

The USTFCCCA polls can be accessed via their web site.

Here's a link to a Running Times article on former Washington Husky Kendra Schaaf, who transferred to the University of North Carolina after the 2010 track season, two years after helping lead the Huskies to an NCAA national cross country championship.

In talking about the move from Seattle to Chapel Hill, Schaaf told Running Times, "I had been struggling with some injuries and what I wanted in a training philosophy was kind of different,” Schaaf says of her decision, adding, “I never regret going there. Those two years were awesome. I have great memories, but my life has changed and I needed something different.” 

The full article can be accessed here.

Finally, here's a link to an article from via Associated Press in which Usain Bolt is advocating a return to the IAAF's previous false start rule, which, had it been in force in Daegu, would not have contributed to his disqualification from the finals of the 100 meters, an event in which he was the defending world champion.

Bolt, who is in the United States on a Puma promotional tour as well as to raise money for his foundation, said in Beverly Hills,"They really should go back to one false start and charge it to the field. It's easier. Somebody makes one mistake and everybody can relax."

You can read the article here.

NOTE: The sports information offices at Washington State, Notre Dame, SeattleU, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

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