Saturday, November 21, 2015

Huskies dash to pair of historic top-ten finishes in Louisville...

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky—Washington’s Maddie Meyers (left/photo by Paul Merca) capped off her Husky career with an eighth place finish at the NCAA Cross Country championships at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park Saturday to lead the Dawgs to a tenth place finish.

The senior from Seattle’s Northwest School positioned herself well early, working her way up from 25th place at the 2k split, to come in one place in front of Boise State freshman Brenna Peloquin from Gig Harbor.  Meyers was clocked in 20:04, with Peloquin a second behind.

Meyers earned the first top-10 finish by a Husky runner since Katie Flood finished seventh in the 2011 championship race.

“I thought if we just did our thing and took care of business that two top-10 finishes was a possibility,” said UW coach Greg Metcalf.

Washington’s scorers behind Meyers were Charlotte Prouse (78, 20:43), Katie Knight (95, 20:49), Anna Maxwell (107, 20:53), and Kaylee Flanagan (134, 21:04), as the Huskies finished with a final team score of 297.

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter missed by six places and two seconds an All-America certificate, as she was 46th in 20:30.

“She went out there and got in the front of the pack. If the pace was slow, we wanted her to hang out a little bit for a smooth race. As soon as the leaders started to push the pace, we were going to back off of the pace and settle into a rhythm and she did that very nicely. Sarah was running right between 30th and 45th for most of the race which is exactly where we wanted her to be. Our goal for her was to finish right inside of the top 40 which is All-American finish and she almost did that today."

The Bulldogs of Gonzaga, making their first ever appearance at the national championships, finished 25th.  

WCC champ Shelby Mills led the Bulldogs, finishing 82nd in 20:45, followed by Jessica Mildes (139, 21:07), Jordan Thurston (142, 21:09), Maggie Jones (184, 21:28), and Amelia Evans (238, 22:18).

“We had pretty big goals going into the race and didn't finish quite how we wanted to, but honestly I am so proud of what we've done not only today, but all season long,” Mills said. “To place ahead of where we were ranked and to try to give a little bit of love to all of the underdogs was really rewarding. We ran with the best in the nation and came out with our heads held high. I can't ask for a better team to have both here and back in Spokane. We've definitely felt the Zag love!”

Heavily favored New Mexico won the national title with a low score of 49, followed by Colorado (129), Oregon (214), Providence (231), and NC State (264).

Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel took the individual crown, running 19:29.

In the men’s race, Washington finished eighth with 345 points, the highest placing by a Husky squad in the tenure of current Husky coach Greg Metcalf, despite a sub-par performance by senior All-American Tyler King, who was 40th last year, and fifth in the West Regionals in Seattle last week.

Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Colby Gilbert led the charge for the Huskies, earning All-America honors with Yorks 30th in 30:19, and Gilbert a second behind and two places back.

Andrew Gardner was 96th in 30:56, followed by Fred Huxham in 100th in 30:59, then Johnathan Stevens in 178th in 31:42.

“The guys, gosh, I feel bad, Tyler King has been such a great kid for us and had a great career, and just didn’t have it today,” said Metcalf. “But the rest of our guys, they ran fantastic to get eighth-place takes a lot of grit and determination, and to have two All-Americans in Izaic and Colby, Izaic being a miler and stepping up to be an All-American in cross country, and Colby coming through late in the season for us, it’s great for both of them. Then we had two guys, Andrew and Johnny, they passed about fifty people combined over the last two thousand meters to take us from 13th place into the top-10.

Washington State, making its first appearance at nationals since 2011, finished 26th with 547 points.

Sophomore Michael Williams led the way in 57th in 30:40.  John Whelan, the Cougs’ leading runner all season long, was 113th in 31:06.

Rounding out WSU’s five runners were Sam Levora in 151st (31:28), Nathan Wadhwani in 174th (31:39), and Chandler Teigen in 183rd (31:47).

Cougar coach Wayne Phipps said, “To be 26th in the nation, and then return everyone including only one junior shows we have a very bright future. Michael Williams fell early on and moved up from 200th to 57th which was very impressive. Our guys won't make any excuses but we had a pretty rough trip to get here. We left campus at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday and arrived at our hotel at 10 a.m. the next morning, after having to spend the night in the Atlanta airport. No excuses, but it probably wasn't the ideal pre-race preparation. Overall, I'm very proud of this group and very excited about their future.”

Gonzaga’s Matthew Crichlow finished 134th in 31:17 as the first runner from the school to ever qualify for the national championships.

“Last year, I was on the sidelines injured the whole cross country season, so I've come a long way in a year,” Crichlow said. “I wish I would have run a little better, but when I take a step back, it's been an honor to compete and represent Gonzaga this weekend. I'll only use this energy to get me fired up for track season."

Federal Way native and UW grad Meron Simon, competing for North Carolina State, finished 130th in 31:14.

Edward Cheserek of Oregon won his third straight NCAA title, running 28:46.  Syracuse won the men’s title with 82 points, followed by Colorado (91), Stanford (151), Oregon (183), and Iona (231).

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, and the University of Louisville contributed to this report. apologizes for the delay in posting, as we experienced a travel delay that forced us to drive from Louisville to Atlanta.  We are posting from Atlanta.

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