Friday, November 18, 2016

Runners ready to roll in Terre Haute for Saturday's NCAA championship race...

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana—Under 70-degree temperatures and clear skies, the athletes competing in Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championships took the opportunity to run over the Lavern Gibson Championship Course.

While the weather was ideal Friday, conditions for Saturday are expected to worsen over the next few hours.  A thuderstorm will hit the Terre Haute area Friday night, with temperatures expected to drop to the low 40s by the time the race starts at 11 am (8 am Pacific), local time.  In fact, in the last few minutes, as we are filing the story at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course media work room, the thunderstorms have rolled in

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter and her coach Chris Shane (above/photo by Paul Merca), along with the Washington State men’s team, the University of Washington’s women’s team and individual runner Fred Huxham, along with many of the schools with athletes from the state of Washington competing for Boise State, Colorado, Northern Arizona, and Portland, took the time to figure out points along the course where to make the crucial moves in preparation for Saturday’s title clash.

The Huskies will compete in their 20th NCAA championship meet over a 22-year period, and their tenth straight.  The seventh-ranked Dawgs, who were ranked as high as #2 this season, are aiming for a podium (top four) finish, a spot they last saw in 2011 when they took second.  They are coming off two straight runner-up finishes at the Pac-12 championships, where they lost to Colorado, and the NCAA West Regionals, where they were edged out by Stanford.

The Huskies’ Fred Huxham, who finished third in the West regionals, will run solo, but nonetheless aim to become the fifth runner in the last three seasons to earn All-America (top 40) status, joining Aaron Nelson, Tyler King, Izaic Yorks and Colby Gilbert.

Washington State, which finished fifth at both the Pac-12s and the NCAA regionals, enters the meet ranked #18 in the nation, are aiming to better their current national ranking.

For Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter, this will be an opportunity to improve upon her 46th place finish in Louisville at last year’s nationals, where she missed making All-America by six places and two seconds.

In addition to those athletes from Washington schools competing, several individuals from the state of Washington are running Saturday as part of teams.

Those athletes include Portland’s Nick Hauger, a sophomore from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, who led the Pilots with his sixth place finish at the NCAA West Regionals; Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin of Boise State; Oregon’s Tanner Anderson from Spokane’s North Central HS; Miller Haller of Boise State from Edmonds/Woodway HS; Riley Campbell of Boise State from Tahoma HS in Maple Valley; Mt. Spokane grad John Dressel of #2 ranked Colorado: and Nathan Weitz of Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, who runs for #1 ranked Northern Arizona.

Peloquin finished in the top ten in last year’s race, while Dressel and Weitz are key runners for Colorado and Northern Arizona, and could play significant roles in their school’s national title hopes.

Racing gets underway Saturday at 8am pacific with the women’s 6k, followed an hour later with the men’s 10k, where Oregon’s Edward Cheserek seeks an unprecedented fourth straight national title.



PORTER & DERLINE SET TO RUN IN NCAA DIVISION II TITLE RACE…

Meanwhile, the NCAA Division II championship race will be contested Saturday in St. Leo, Florida, where Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter and Western Washington’s Isaac Derline take aim for All-America certificates.

Porter is the first athlete in school history to compete at the NCAA championship meet, while Derline is appearing in his second national championship meet, having finished 104th two years ago.

The men’s 10 k race gets underway at 5:30 am Pacific time, while the women’s 6k race starts at 6:45 am.

The link to the live results page is available here.  NCAA.com will provide live streaming coverage of the Division II championship race.

NOTE:  The NCAA contributed to this report.

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