All five Washington Division I schools return to action Friday afternoon, as the Washington Huskies host the West Coast’s biggest cross country invitational, the Washington Invitational at the Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill.
Action gets underway Friday at 3:15 pm with the women’s 6k, followed by the men’s 8k at 4 pm.
The Washington Invitational is one of four major races this weekend involving nationally ranked teams with the results playing a key role along with regional championship finishes in who gets into the national championship meet in Louisville in November.
Besides Washington, the Notre Dame Invite, the Princeton Inter-Regional meet, and the Greater Louisville Classic will have nationally ranked squads entered.
The men’s field looks especially deep and competitive, with four highly ranked squads and two more receiving votes out of the 11 teams competing. No. 2-ranked Stanford and No. 5-ranked Oregon will be challenged by 11th-ranked UCLA and 12th-ranked BYU.
The Huskies are receiving votes in the most recent national poll, as is perennial NCAA qualifier Portland, though according to the entry list posted by the host Huskies, freshman Tristan Peloquin from Gig Harbor, who won the open section of the Sundodger two weeks ago, will not race for the Pilots, who are opting to redshirt him. Adding more to the Northwest feel will be Gonzaga, Seattle U., and Eastern Washington.
Washington, who will be led by Sundodger champ Izaic Yorks, will have some added motivation with the entry of Pac-12 rival Washington State, who defeated the Dawgs two weeks ago at Sundodger, and bumped them out of the USTFCCCA national top 30. Conversely, the Cougs are trying to prove to the voters that their victory over the Huskies two weeks ago was not a fluke.
Reigning NCAA champion Edward Cheserek (above/photo by Paul Merca) of Oregon is obviously the one to watch, though the Ducks may be young behind King Edward. Stanford is scheduled to run Sean McGorty, who was 20th at the NCAA champs last season, along with twins Joe and Jim Rosa.
On the women’s side, Washington, which is ranked #15 in the USTFCCCA poll, looks to try and upset #4 Stanford and #5 Oregon, but can’t overlook #23 BYU, which won the Erik Anderson Invitational in Spokane two weeks ago.
Eastern Washington, led by reigning Big Sky champ Sarah Reiter, looks to mix it up with the powerhouses of the West Coast, as the Eagles appear to enter the core group together for the first time this season after sitting several veterans out of their first two meets.
In Division II, Seattle Pacific is the only Washington school in action this weekend, as they head to Salem, Oregon to compete in the Charles Bowles Invitational hosted by Willamette University.
Anna Patti, who won the women’s open section of the Sundodger, looks to win her fourth straight race of the season, after winning twice in Alaska.
Seattle Pacific’s release previewing the meet is available here.