Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ruby Roberts leads Cougars to victory at Anderson Invitational; Huskies 6th & 14th at Roy Griak...

SPOKANE VALLEY--Washington State's Ruby Roberts (left/photo by Paul Merca) cruised to victory, leading five Cougars across the line in the top ten in the women's 6k race at the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex.

Roberts, a sophomore from Kingston, led the way for the Washington State women, finishing in first place in front of the nearly 230 runners covering the 6,000 meters with a time of 20 minutes 54 seconds. Close behind Roberts, finishing as the runner-up with a time of 21:08 was Cougar teammate Caroline Austin.

Finishing third was Gonzaga's Lindsey Drake in 21:17.

Rounding out the scoring finishers for Washington State were Sarah Bobbe, Emily Farrar, and freshman Katie Fleischer, with finishing places of fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, as the Cougs won with a low score of 21 points.

"The women ran really strong and with a lot of poise and confidence," Cougar Head Coach Pete Julian said. "We withheld Allison Clark as she is coming back from a little bit of a quad strain and she is getting much better.

Seattle Pacific's Natty Plunkett led the way for the Falcons with her eighth place finish in 21:56.

The Anderson Invitational served as a preview of this coming November's NCAA Division II championships, which will be held on the same course.

Gonzaga finished second behind the Cougars with 114, with Western Washington third at 133 points, led by Rachael Johnson's 20th place finish in 22:28.

Seattle Pacific finished eighth at 298; Whitworth was 16th at 439; Eastern Washington was 20th at 615; Spokane CC 21st with 625; Whitman College 23rd at 733; and, Central Washington was 26th at 971.

In the men's 8k competition, Sean Gildea of Colorado School of Mines took the individual honors, running 24:04, as four other teammates cracked the top ten.

Saint Martin's Kyle Van Santen was fifth in 24:35, and Gonzaga's Nate Gesell was ninth in 24:51.

Colorado School of Mines took the team title with 27 points, with Gonzaga second at 95 points. Western Washington, led by Tyler Cannon's 20th place finish in 25:20, was third with 181 points.

Among Washington schools, Whitworth finished 10th with 313 points; Seattle Pacific 17th at 468; Spokane CC was 19th at 538; and Whitman was 25th at 987.

Complete results of the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational are available here.

In Falcon Heights, Minnesota, juniors Joey Bywater and Lindsay Flanagan each turned in Top-25 finishes today to lead the Washington cross country teams, as the Huskies ran at the Roy Griak Invitational outside Minneapolis for the first time since 2001.

The Husky women outpaced a trio of ranked opponents to finish sixth overall, while the men finished 14th out of 24 teams.

The 11th-ranked women were in great shape early on, but had some travails late in the race.

"It could have been a great day for our women but in the end we'll take it as a learning experience and just get better," said UW coach Greg Metcalf. "We got great runs from Lindsay Flanagan and Justine Johnson in their debuts. Christine (Babcock) looked fantastic but she took a fall. The way she looked I think she easily could have finished in the top-10. Eleanor Fulton was with Christine with 800-meters to go, but she just reached empty there on the tank. It was just an average day for Megan Goethals, she just needs to get one under her belt and she will run much better."

Flanagan led Washington with a 14th-place finish in 21:04 over the six kilometer course.

Following Flanagan was sophomore Justine Johnson, who made her season debut with a 26th-place effort in a time of 21:20. Senior Christine Babcock took 35th in 21:29, but was running in the top-15 before taking a fall and losing thirty places. Sophomore Megan Goethals was also in the top-15 early before dropping back to finish 56th in a time of 21:50. Sophomore Liberty Miller rounded out the scoring in 69th place, clocking 22:02.

Bywater led the Husky men with a 24th place finish in 24:40, followed by senior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald, the winner of last week's Sundodger Invitational, in 34th at 24:47.

A pair of freshmen--Aaron Nelson and Meron Simon--were 67th in 25:18, and 87th in 25:31.

Senior Cameron Quackenbush capped the Husky scorers in 101st place in 25:41.

"It was a good day for Joey and Max (O'Donoghue-McDonald), who was bothered by a knee issue, so with that to deal with he ran very solid," said Metcalf. "Aaron Nelson and Meron Simon were really steady for us and showed that they belonged. But we just need Gareth Gilna and Michael Miller to be healthy and our team changes a lot."

Washington now has a few weeks to train before they head back to the Midwest, visiting Madison, Wisconsin for the adidas Wisconsin Invitational on October 14.

Complete women's results from the Roy Griak Invitational are available here, while the men's results are available here.

NOTE: The sports information offices of the University of Minnesota, University of Washington, Washington State University, and the Spokane Sports Commission contributed to this report.

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