Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tim Riley named as cross country/distance coach at Washington State...

PULLMAN--It only took two days to replace departed Washington State University cross country and distance coach Pete Julian.

The school announced Wednesday that Tim Riley (left/photo by Paul Merca), who was Julian's volunteer coach the past three seasons, has been elevated as the next cross country coach of the Cougars.

On Monday, the school stated that Julian had taken a job to work as an assistant coach for Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project, which had two of its athletes--Mo Farah and Galen Rupp--earn three medals at the London Olympics, with Farah winning two golds in the 5000 and 10000.

WHO IS RILEY?

Riley was an outstanding cross country and track and field athlete at Eastern Oregon University where he earned All-America honors in 2004. He was a two-time NAIA indoor track and field national qualifier and a three-time NAIA outdoor track and field national qualifier, winning the 2004 10,000m national championship.

While at Eastern Oregon, Riley also went to four NAIA cross country national championships and was a member of the first place NAIA cross country national championship academic team in 2001.

Riley, a 31-year old native of Corvallis, Oregon, was an assistant coach of track and field and cross country at the College of Idaho from 2004 to 2006. During the 2004 season, Riley coached the men's team to a 17th place finish at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.

The Coyotes had three individual qualifiers for the 2005 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships and three individual qualifiers for the 2004 Cross Country National Championships during Riley's time there. Riley also coached one All-American at the 2005 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

Riley came to WSU in 2006 and was granted a research assistant position. He served as a Graduate and Professional Students Association senator at WSU. In May 2012 he received his PhD neuroscience from the department of veterinary and comparative anatomy, pharmacology and physiology (VCAPP).

“We are very excited with the addition of Dr. Tim Riley as our distance/cross country coach,” WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said. “He carried a lot of responsibility during the past three years of assisting Pete Julian. We look forward to a seamless transition with our philosophy and training methods that took us to the 21st place finish at the NCAA last year and moving forward in the future.”

THE COUGS ENTERING THE 2012 SEASON

Riley inherits a Cougar men's team that finished 21st at last year's NCAA championships, and returns five of seven members--Andrew Kimpel, Andrew Gonzales, Todd Wakefield, Drew Jordan, and Lee George--that ran in Terre Haute last year.

Though the team isn't very deep, with eight runners listed on their men's roster, Riley said, ”I think we are more fit now than we were in the spring and definitely more fit than a year ago and that is exciting."

He is optimistic that behind Kimpel and Jordan, any one of the runners on the WSU squad is capable enough to be the team's #3 runner.

"We look to have a tight pack that can produce low scores and have another successful season."

Washington State enters the 2012 season ranked #26 in the USTFCCCA national pre-season coaches' poll, with their big test coming on September 28th at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.

On the women's side, the Cougs will be led by senior Caroline Austin and junior Ruby Roberts, both of whom competed in the Pac-12 meet in the steeplechase.

“Ruby and Caroline are our leaders and they have bought into our program. Some of our freshmen have looked good for this early in the season but they are a big question mark for now. We will get a good idea this weekend and (September 15th) in Portland.”

The Cougars open the season Saturday at Mead HS just outside of Spokane against Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Whitworth, with the women racing 4.2k at 10 am, and the men competing over 6.2k at 10:30.

NOTE: The sports information office at Washington State University contributed to this report.

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