Saturday, September 15, 2012

WSU's Caroline Austin takes win at WCC Preview in Portland...

PORTLAND--Washington State University senior Caroline Austin (left/photo by Paul Merca) racked up her second win of the 2012 cross country season, as she took the victory at the WCC Preview meet at Portland's Fernhill Park in 21:04 for the 6-k race.

"It was a well laid out race that played to my strengths because I can break down a race that's done in loops better," Austin said. "I felt strong and had some fun out there today. I also liked how strongly our freshmen handled their first 6k. It shows a lot of promise for our team."

The Bulldogs of Gonzaga, one of the region's most improved teams, may have sent a message to the rest of the West Coast Conference, as they took the women's team title.

Gonzaga won with 29 points followed by Loyola Marymount (53), Chico State (99), Portland (103), Santa Clara (123), and Washington State finished sixth at 132.

Emily Thomas (21.12) led a three-four-five finish over the 6K layout for the Bulldogs as she was followed across the line by Lindsey Drake (21:23) and Maggie Jones (21:23), respectively. Lauren Bergam (21:34) was eighth and freshman Amelia Evans (21:39) was ninth.

"There was a 25-second spread among our top five. Things played out pretty well today and that that crowd within 25 seconds of each other will pay off down the road and hopefully we'll even tighten it up a little more," Gonzaga assistant coach Patty Ley said of the women's effort.

In the men's race, Gonzaga finished third as the University of Portland won the meet with 22 points, followed by NCAA Division II power Chico State University with 63 points and Gonzaga with 73.

Tate Kelly paced the men in 12th place in 23:40 for the 8K, Brent Felnagle was 16th in 23:51, Willie Milam was 17thin 23:52, Robert Walgren finished 19th in 23:53 and Chris Boyle was 24th in 24:02 to account for Gonzaga's top five finishers.

Washington State's #26 men's squad stayed at home, as they will race next weekend.

Complete results of the WCC Preview are available here.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC INVITATIONAL, PLUS THE PRO CIRCUIT

In South Bend, Indiana, a fourth-place finish by Erik Barkhaus led the Seattle University men's cross country team to a fifth place finish, while the women's cross country squad finished in eighth place at the National Catholic Invitational, hosted by the University of Notre Dame Friday.

Barkhaus finished the five-mile course in 24:33, just 17 seconds behind individual champion Jeremy Rae of Notre Dame. Fellow redshirt senior Matthew McClement crossed the finish line in 27th place with a time of 25:31, followed by Collin Overbay in 38thplace in 25:56.

As a team, the Redhawk men finished in fifth place overall among 34 teams with 191 points. Among the 13 Division I schools that competed, Seattle U finished in fourth place, behind meet champion Notre Dame, Duquesne, and Marquette.

For the Redhawks, Hannah Mittelstaedt was the top finisher, completing the five-kilometer course in a time of 18:18 crossing the finish line in 21st place. Jennifer Stolle finished in 40th place with a time of 18:46, and Sophie Curatilo posted a time of 19:00 to finish in 55th place.

The Redhawk women totaled 273 points, eighth place among all 34 schools competing and seventh place within the 13 Division I schools in the event. Notre Dame placed six runners in the top 10 to easily win the team competition.

Results of the National Catholic Invitational are available here.

On the pro circuit, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat won the mile Saturday in a not-so-easy 4:01.62 over Great Britain's James Brewer, who was one step behind at 4:01.81 at the Great NorthCity Games in Newcastle/Gateshead, UK, held in conjunction with the Bupa Great North half-marathon.

In this unique setting, a temporary track and jump runways were built on the streets of the two cities, with the distance races held on a road course.

To give the meet some added spice, the event was set up as a dual between Team USA and Team GB.

In the mile, Brewer a former European Under23 silver medallist, pushed Lagat to the wire, but the veteran held on to win by 0.19sec in a time of 4:01.62 with Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara third in 4:02.86.

Lagat's time rounded up to 4:02 equalled the CityGames record which Andy Baddeley and Farah achieved three years ago during their epic battle in the England versus Australia match.

Double Olympic champ Mo Farah, who currently trains on the Nike campus in Beaverton, delighted the home fans in capturing the invitational two-mile in 8:40.

In the point-per-win format, Team USA won the match over Team GB 6 to 3.

Complete results of the Great NorthCity Games are available here.

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

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