SACRAMENTO—Using the formula that earned the victory a fortnight ago at the Pac-12 championships, the University of Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) came from behind to win the NCAA West Regional cross country title Friday at Haggen Oaks Golf Course on a pleasant, but slightly muggy day in the California state capitol.
Neale stayed patient through the first fifteen minutes of the race, content to run between sixth and tenth place, but moved to the front for the last five minutes, taking command from Gig Harbor native Brenna Peloquin.
When Neale made her decisive move, neither Peloquin nor any other runner in the top ten responded to her surge, and the Glacier Peak HS grad won going away, covering the 6k course in 19:28, a 13 second margin over San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor, with Peloquin holding on to third at 19:42.
Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter finished sixth to assure herself of another NCAA championship berth, running 19:44.
Washington’s Charlotte Prouse finished tenth in a time of 19:52.
Neale and Prouse led the Huskies to a second place team finish with a final score of 88 points, 17 behind winner Stanford’s 71, as the Cardinal placed five runners in the top 20.
Also scoring for the Huskies were Katie Knight in 24th place (20:12), Kaitlyn Neal in 27th (20:17), an Izzi Batt-Doyle in 29th (20:21).
Gonzaga finished 16th with a score of 487 points, led by Jordan Thurston’s 40th place finish in 20:31. Washington State was 18th with 525 points, led by Devon Bortfeld’s 38th place finish in 20:28. Eastern Washington was 20th with 571 points, and Seattle University was 23rd with 605 points, led by WAC champion Lila Rice, who was 95th in 21:35.
In the men’s 10k, Washington State (above/photo by Paul Merca) took the race out hard early, but managed to hang on to a fifth place finish with 143 points to all but assure the Cougars of a return trip to the national championships.
The Cougs were led by Michael Williams, who finished 17th in a time of 30:00, followed by John Whelan in 18th in 30:03.
Also scoring for WSU were Chandler Teigen in 27th place (30:11); Sam Levora in 36th (30:25); and Nathan Wadhwani in 47th (30:39).
The Washington Huskies had a rough day, finishing tenth with a final score of 262 points, though they will advance one individual to next Saturday’s NCAA championships.
Fred Huxham had perhaps the best run of his collegiate career, finishing third with a time of 29:48, holding off the charge of San Francisco’s Alex Short, who had the same time.
Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won the individual title in a time of 29:24, with his teammate Matthew Maton second at 29:45.
Stanford won the team title with a low score of 75 points, 15 better than Portland's 90. UCLA was third with 112, followed by Oregon at 122.
Gonzaga was twelfth with a final score of 341 points, led by Max Kaderabek, who was 52nd in 30:46. Seattle University was 17th with 495 points, led by Eli Boudouris’ 83rd place finish in 31:38. Eastern Washington was 26th with 712 points, led by Matt Hommel in 108th place in 32:07.
The Washington women’s team, the WSU men’s squad, along with Peloquin, Huxham, and Reiter next compete in eight days at the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.