|Washington State's CharLee Linton|
(photo by Paul Merca)
It’s championship weekend for the state’s five Division I schools, with three of them staying within the confines of the state of Washington to contest their conference championships.
Action gets underway Friday in Colfax, as Washington State hosts the Pac-12 cross country championships at the Colfax Golf Club outside of Pullman, with the men’s 8k kicking things off at 10:30am, followed by the women’s 6k at 11:35am.
The Pac-12 Network will present a delayed broadcast of the meet on November 2nd starting at 6pm, with Jim Watson, Dwight Stones, and Lewis Johnson on the call.
Colorado, the country’s #1 team goes into the Pac-12s as the overwhelming favorite to repeat as conference champions. However, #3 ranked Oregon could potentially make a run at the Buffaloes led by two time defending Pac-12 and NCAA champ Edward Cheserek, who was beaten two weeks ago at the Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville.
The meet also features four other nationally ranked squads—#15 UCLA, #21 Cal, #23 Stanford, and #20 Washington, which will be led by Izaic Yorks, who has had a solid season so far after finishing seventh two weeks ago at the adidas Wisconsin Invitational.
The Dawgs will also have All-American Tyler King, along with Fred Huxham and Spokane native Andrew Gardner.
The host Cougars look to lean on junior John Whelan, and sophomore Michael Williams, who has been the team’s top finisher so far, and will run in his first conference championship race, after missing last year’s contest due to injury.
On the women’s side, #3 Colorado and #5 Oregon are the teams to beat, with #10 Stanford, the #12 Huskies, and #19 Utah looking to place on the podium.
For the Huskies, All-American Maddie Meyers, who has been the #1 runner all season long, and was fourth at the conference championship in Oakland last year, is expected to lead the way. Freshman Charlotte Prouse, who was a DNF at the adidas Wisconsin meet with an illness, should be within range of Meyers, with sophomore Anna Maxwell, and redshirt soph Katie Knight following.
Washington State will be led by CharLee Linton (above/photo by Paul Merca) who has been the first Coug across the finish line all season long.
Both Husky squads finished fourth last year, while the Cougars were ninth in the men’s race, and tenth in the women’s race.
On Saturday, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Seattle University will compete for the team titles in the West Coast, Big Sky and Western Athletic Conferences.
Gonzaga won’t have to travel far, as they’ll host the West Coast Conference race at the Plantes Ferry Complex in Spokane Valley, which has hosted several championship meets over the years.
Both Brigham Young teams are heavy favorites to win the WCC team titles, as the Cougars’ men’s squad is ranked #4 and the women #14. The Zags finished third in the men’s team race, and fifth in the women’s championship meet.
Action gets underway at Plantes Ferry at 10 am with the women’s 6k, followed by the men’s 8k at 11 am.
The Eastern Washington women’s squad are looking for big things Saturday morning as they aim for a top 3 finish in the Big Sky championship meet in Cedar City, Utah after an impressive 13th place team finish at the Pre-Nationals meet two weeks ago in Louisville, Kentucky, led by Sarah Reiter’s 16th place finish.
Reiter goes into the Big Sky title clash as the defending individual champion, but also hopes that her supporting cast can run close to her, if the Eagles hope to finish in the top 3. Meanwhile, the Eagle men’s squad aim to move up from their sixth place finish last year.
SeattleU looks to defend the Western Athletic Conference women’s team title it won in 2014 in Orem, Utah Saturday, while the men look to improve from their fourth place finish.
paulmerca.blogspot.com will be on site in Colfax and Spokane Valley for both the Pac-12 and WCC championships.