This weekend, all four of Washington’s Division II schools are in action, along with Eastern Washington, as the cross country season begins to heat up.
Eastern Washington will compete in the Division I section of the Roy Griak Invitational Saturday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, hosted by the University of Minnesota.
This meet, which is one of the largest invitational meet in the country, features on the women’s side, #6 Boise State, #9 Michigan State, #10 Michigan, #13 Penn State, #17 Iowa State, and #20 San Francisco, and on the men’s side #14 Boise State, #17 Michigan, co-#19 Portland and Oklahoma, #22 Furman, and #30 Michigan State.
One of the biggest stories of this meet will be the season debut of Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, the runner-up as a freshman at last year’s NCAA championship meet, along with teammate and Gig Harbor HS grad Brenna Peloquin, who finished ninth at the NCAA meet in 2015.
Another storyline to follow from a Washington perspective is how well the Eagles of Eastern Washington (above/photo courtesy EWU Athletics) gel, especially after losing through graduation, Katie Mahoney, Catie Arrigoni, Beranice Penaloza, and Mayra Chavez, with only 2014 Big Sky champion Sarah Reiter, Paula Gil Echevarria, and Bri Gibson from last year’s squad.
"What I most want to accomplish this weekend is running our own race, staying disciplined and moving well throughout the course," said Eastern Washington cross country coach Chris Shane. "If we can do that, I think we will end up with a solid result."
Nationally ranked Western Washington will also send their top athletes to run in the Division II section of the Roy Griak Invitational.
Western Washington will also send a group of athletes not traveling to Minnesota down to Lacey for the Saint Martin’s Invitational, along with nationally ranked Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and host Saint Martin’s.
Media partner Flotrack will offer live streaming coverage ($) of the Roy Griak Invitational Saturday beginning at 6:40 am Pacific time.
RICHBURG ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM NEW MEXICO STATE
Former University of Washington head track & field coach Orin Richburg (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field) announced his retirement from New Mexico State University Thursday, according to a release sent by the school.
In a statement by NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia, he said, "His student-athletes did tremendous in the classroom and were great examples in the community in his tenure. From an athletic standpoint, we saw positive strides and great individual accomplishment in conference, regional and national competition during his tenure. It is widely known that of the 17 sports that we sponsor, track and field has the most difficult situation, without the ability to compete at home. Through it all though, Orin always remained a consummate professional. With his reputation in the international community, representing Team USA, it was a great privilege to have someone of his stature represent New Mexico State on the world stage."
Since 2008, the Aggies have won 27 individual Western Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships under Richburg's guidance with 11 indoor and 16 outdoor. Richburg's teams have rewritten the NM State record books with 14 indoor records and 13 outdoor records set during his tenure.
In 2008, Richburg was tabbed as the head relay coach for the USA Track and Field Olympic team in Beijing, China. Most recently, he was served as the head coach for the U.S. U20 track & field team at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He has also served as the head relay coach for Team USA at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, China, and as a relay coach at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Additionally, he has been the sprint coordinatior for the senior national team since 1995. Richburg was the head coach for the U.S. National team at the World Track and Field Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was also the head coach for the U.S. National Team at the 1997 World Indoor Championships in Paris, France.
Prior to coming to NM State, Richburg spent 16 years at the University of Washington as the head track and field coach. While at UW, he coached 15 Pac-10 Individual Champions, three NCAA Individual Champions and four Olympians.
Before arriving at Washington, Richburg spent seven seasons at Kent State, and earned Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in 1980. He directed the men's team to a third-place conference finish in 1984, the school's best team finish since 1979. Richburg also recruited and coached two-time 100 and 200-meter MAC champion Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson went on to win the bronze medal in the 200-meter dash at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
NOTE: The sports information offices of Eastern Washington, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, and New Mexico State contributed to this report.