BELLINGHAM--Western Washington's All-American Katelyn Steen (left/photo courtesy Western Washington University) finished third in the women's 6k at the 41st annual Viking Classic at Lake Padden Park, as the host Vikings finished eighth.
The top three teams--Trinity Western (58), GNAC member Simon Fraser (90), and University of Victoria (100) were all from Canada, while Alaska Anchorage (107) was fourth, Central Washington was sixth (137) Western Washington was eighth, and Seattle Pacific (199) was ninth in the 12-team field.
Steen completed the six-kilometer course in 21:20. She trailed just two Trinity Western runners, Sarah Inglis winning for the second straight year with a 20:52 clocking, followed by teammate Fiona Bensen in 21:17.
"I tried to run relaxed the first part of the race and work hard on the hills," said Steen, who ran 44 seconds faster than her previous best. "Not slipping on the hills on this course is always a key."
Central Washington's Dani Eggleston led the way for the Wildcats with her 11th place finish in 22;00.
The Falcons were led by Anna Patti, who finished 20th in 22:33.
Despite finishing ahead of Western Washington, Central coach Kevin Adkisson said, ""The women didn't have their best day, but it was still pretty good. Dani had a great run on a tough course, in a field of really tough women."
With the Vikings ranked #23 in the latest USTFCCCA Division II national poll, the question remains whether or not the voters will deem the Wildcats good enough to deserve a national ranking when the polls come out next week.
In the men's race, it was a dominating performance by the University of Alaska-Anchorage, placing all five of their scorers in the top 8, led by winner Dylan Anthony, who covered the 10k course in 31:02, and helped the Seawolves to a low score of 18 points.
The University of Victoria (39), Simon Fraser (121), and Western Washington (128) finished second, third and fourth.
Central Washington was ninth with 248 points, and Seattle Pacific was tenth with 278.
Rudy Spencer was Central's top finisher in 33rd place with a time of 32:41, and Turner Wiley was Seattle Pacific's top runner, finishing 20th in 32:11.
Isaac Griffith was Western Washington's top runner in 21st with a time of 32:12.
BELLINGHAM NATIVE JAKE RILEY TO MAKE MARATHON DEBUT
In Chicago, Bellingham native Jake Riley will make his marathon debut at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday through the streets of the Windy City.
Riley is part of the elite field in the race, headlined by Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, along with Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge and Wesley Korir.
On the women's side, Western Washington alum Sarah (Porter) Crouch is in the elite women's field that includes 2012 US Olympians Amy Hastings and Lisa Uhl, along with headliners Rita Jeptoo and Florence Kiplagat of Kenya, along with Gelete Burka of Ethiopia.
The elite field for Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which is part of the World Marathon Majors circuit, is available here.
NOTE: The sports information offices of Seattle Pacific, Central Washington and Western Washington University, along with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, contributed to this report.