Friday, September 30, 2016

Cougars finish seventh at Joe Piane Invitational at Notre Dame...

SOUTH BEND, Indiana—John Whelan (left/photo by Paul Merca) of Washington State University was the first Cougar across the line with an eighth place finish to lead the squad to a seventh place team finish at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by the University of Notre Dame Friday.

Whelan covered the 5-mile course in a time of 23:56, as Sean Tobin of Mississippi took the win in a time of 23:32.

Following Whelan were Michael Williams in 16th (24:04), then Sam Levora in 36th (24:20).  Rounding out WSU’s five scorers were Nathan Wadwhani in 48th (24:29), and Paul Ryan in 81st (24:47).

Tobin’s victory helped lead Mississippi, the nation’s 20th-ranked squad, to the team title with a low score of 83 points, followed by UTEP (#18) with 99, and Eastern Kentucky (#9) with 168 points.

Following Eastern Kentucky were Providence with 182, Illinois with 183, Southern Utah at 187, and the Cougars with 189.

According to WSU coach Wayne Phipps, sixth man Chandler Teigen, who normally runs closer to Levora and Wadwhani, fell during the race, thus accounting for the 51 second 1-5 split.

"We put ourselves in a very good position at the halfway point of the race, in third place, and then we struggled a bit towards the end," Phipps said. "We accomplished a lot by beating several key teams but we expected to finish a little higher overall. We were only a few points out of fourth and I feel that third was definitely in our grasp.”

The rest of the WSU team competes Saturday at the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park GC in Seattle.


Meanwhile, in Missoula, Montana, Gonzaga’s Jordan Thurston won her third straight meet of the season at the Montana Invitational, running the 6k course in 21:10.

In the double-dual format, the Bulldogs lost to both Montana and Montana State by identical 27-28 margins.

In the men’s 8k race, Gonzaga’s Troy Fraley, who is being redshirted and competing unattached, took the overall victory, running 24:56, to win by 30 seconds over the Zags’ Max Kaderabek.

The Zags took care of Montana by a perfect 15-50, and got the sweep, taking Montana State by a 23-35 count.


NOTE:  The sports information offices of Gonzaga, Washington State and Notre Dame contributed to this report.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

THE WEEKEND AHEAD: All five Washington D1 schools in action at Notre Dame, Montana & UW invite...

All five of Washington’s Division I schools are in action Friday and Saturday as the meat of the collegiate cross country season begins ramping up.

The 24th ranked Washington State Cougars, led by Michael Williams (left/photo by Paul Merca) heads to South Bend, Indiana for Friday’s Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational Blue Race at 11:45 am pacific time (2;45 eastern time), where they will try to pick up valuable points for NCAA championship meet consideration. 

WSU will face a 28-team field that includes five nationally ranked teams that include, Eastern Kentucky (9), Mississippi (20), NC State (23), UTEP (18), and Wisconsin (12).

Besides Williams, the Cougs will run John Whelan, who competed unattached two weeks ago at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle; Justin Janke; Sam Levora; Paul Ryan; Nathan Tadesse; Chandler Teigen, and Nathan Wadhwani.

Courtesy of WSU Athletics, here's WSU coach Wayne Phipps's press conference previewing the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational and the Washington Invite:


Both the Gonzaga men’s and women’s squads head to Missoula, Montana for Friday’ morning’s (9:30 am) Montana Invitational, where they will face host Montana and Montana State, plus a host of smaller schools and unattached runners.

Saturday, the University of Washington hosts the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park Golf Course starting at 11 am with the women’s 6k race featuring #4 Oregon, with 2015 Gatorade national cross country runner of the year Katie Rainsberger, and the #12 Huskies.

Also in the field are Eastern Washington, with 2015 NCAA qualifier Sarah Reiter from Renton leading the charge for the Eagles; SeattleU; and teams from Colorado State, Grand Canyon, Harvard, and Idaho.

The men’s 8k, which starts at 11:45, features #3 Oregon, where reigning NCAA champion Edward Cheserek is expected to make his season debut.

Also in the field are Eastern Washington, SeattleU and the rest of the WSU men’s team not competing at Notre Dame, along with #29 Colorado State, Grand Canyon, and Idaho.


DIVISION II RANKINGS SHIFT SLIGHTLY

Western Washington’s trip to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational, where they finished sixth in the women’s D2 race, and fifth in the men’s D2 race, dropped the Vikings in the national USTFCCCA rankings, which were released Wednesday.

The women’s team dropped from #8 nationally to #16, while the men’s team experienced a similar drop, falling to #21 from #14.

Seattle Pacific, which won the Saint Martin’s Open last week, dropped one spot in the national women’s poll to #19.

The top five women’s teams, according to the national poll are Grand Valley State, Adams State, Chico State, U-Mary, and Western State.

The Vikings and Falcons are the only two women’s squads from the GNAC ranked in the national top 25.

On the men’s side, the top five teams are Colorado Mines, Grand Valley State, Adams State, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

The only other men’s team from the GNAC besides Western Washington that is nationally ranked is defending conference champion Alaska Anchorage at #9.

This weekend, Central Washington and Saint Martin’s are the only two schools in Division II competing, as both schools will send athletes to Salem, Oregon for the Willamette Invitational.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA, University of Washington, Washington State University & University of Notre Dame contributed to this report.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Latest USTFCCCA D1 national poll reflects shuffling in ranks; Dawgs maintain spots...

Katie Knight & Charlotte Prouse of
#12 Washington at the Sundodger Invite
(Paul Merca photo)
NEW ORLEANS—There was some shuffling among the top five schools in the latest USTFCCCA men’s national cross country coaches’ poll in the NCAA Division I ranks, while the Washington Huskies maintained their #21 ranking, and Washington State moved up three spots to #24, even though both schools were idle.

In the national men’s poll, Northern Arizona is the nation’s number one team, followed by former #1 Syracuse, who were upset at the Panorama Farms Invitational in Virginia last week.

Oregon is that nation’s #3 men’s team, followed by Brigham Young, the winners of the Panorama Farms Invite.

Rounding out the top five is a tie between Colorado and Arkansas.

Other Pac-12 schools ranked nationally include #11 Stanford, and #27 UCLA.

The national women’s poll saw some shuffling in the ranks as well, as former #1 ranked New Mexico was dropped to a tie for #2 with Colorado.

The nation’s #1 team is Providence, with Oregon ranked fourth and North Carolina State at #5.

The Washington women’s team, which was idle last weekend, held steady at #12.

Other Pac-12 schools in the national top 30 include #6 Stanford, #28 Utah, and #29 UCLA.

The Huskies will host the Washington Invitational this Saturday at Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle’s Beacon Hill, with the women’s 6k starting at 11 am, and the men’s 8k starting at 11:45 am.

Oregon and Washington State are expected to field squads at the Washington Invitational.


NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Gig Harbor grad Brenna Peloquin wins Roy Griak Invitational women's title...

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minnesota—Gig Harbor HS graduate Brenna Peloquin (left/photo by Mike Scott) emerged victorious in the Jack Johnson women’s Gold race for Division I schools at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota and put herself in the conversation as a possible NCAA title contender in two months.

The sophomore put herself at the front, going through the mile in 5:23 alongside Michigan’s Erin Finn, before taking command after the halfway mark.

Peloquin extended her lead over Finn after the 3k mark, racing away to a winning time of 20:50, eleven seconds ahead of the Michigan runner.

Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter finished seventh to lead the Eagles to a 27th place finish, and put herself in a strong position to qualify for her second NCAA championship.

Reiter ran 22:02, 72 seconds behind Peloquin.

Eastern’s scorers were Paula Gil-Eehevarria (146, 23:51); Kaili Keefe (180, 24:16), Kari Hamilton-Scharnhorst (195, 24:25), and Carli Corpus (244, 24:54).

One of the biggest stories of the women’s race was the strong performance by the University of Portland, which upset a slew of nationally ranked teams to win the women’s team title, placing three runners in the top ten.

Sophomore Courtney Cox of the Pilots from Walla Walla HS was the team’s seventh runner, finishing 98th in 23:24.

On the men’s side, Portland showed that they will be a force on the national scene this season as they won the Merrill Fischbein team title by a 69-97 count over runner-up Iowa State.

Redshirt sophomore Nick Hauger from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS was the Pilots’ second runner across the line, finishing 11th in the 8k race in a time of 25:24.

Two spots behind Hauger was Edmonds-Woodway grad Miler Haller, a redshirt freshman from Boise State, who clocked 25:28.

Eastern Washington finished 26th in the 29-team field with a final score of 777 points, led by Steaven Zachman, who ran 27:07 to finish 153rd.

The Eagles’ other scorers were James Breen (186, 27:30); Isaac Kitzan (196, 27:37); Matthew Hommel (202, 27:41); and Logan Stahl (211, 27:47).

In the Division II Maroon mens’ 8k race, the #14 ranked Vikings of Western Washington finished fifth, led by a pair of top ten finishes by Isaac Derline in 6th (26:19), and Andrew Wise in 10th (26:28).

Augusta of South Dakota took the team title with 88 points, as Western Washington scored 154 for fifth.

The Division II women’s Maroon 6k race saw the Vikings finish sixth, led by Brittany Grant’s 15th place finish in 23:30.

The University of Mary won the women’s team title with 93, with the Vikings scoring 210 points in 6th.


NOTE:  The sports information offices of Boise State, Eastern Washington, Western Washington, Portland, and the University of Minnesota contributed to this report.

Shannon Porter wins SMU Invite, but nationally ranked SPU Falcons roll...

LACEY—Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter (left/photo by Paul Merca) sat back just inside the top 20 as the field passed the 1-kilometer mark to help teammate Yadira Lopez, but asserted herself on her home course to win the women’s 5k race at the Saint Martin’s Invitational on the campus of Saint Martin’s University.

Porter ran 17:51 to finish comfortably ahead of Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson (18:02) and Sarah Macdonald (18:17). with teammate Hannah Calvert (18:35) behind.

SMU’s Lopez was fifth (18:44) ahead of the Falcons’ Kate Lilly (19:01), and Chynna Phan (19:05).

The Falcons, currently ranked #18 in the current USTFCCCA Division II coaches’ poll, asserted themselves against the other three Washington state GNAC teams in the field (Western Washington, ranked #8 in the national women’s poll, and #14 in the national men’s poll, sent their top runners to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational), placing eight runners in the top ten.

Seattle Pacific easily won the team title with a low score of 22 to Western Washington’s 62, and Saint Martin’s 81, with Central Washington fourth at 132.

Western was led by Peyton Shinnick in 13th (19:20), and Central was led by Alicia Girdler (20:27) in 26th.

In the men’s 8k race, Sam Garvin of Clark College was the winner in 26:01, nipping out Michael Martin of Eugene’s Lane CC by one second.

Juan Castillo led a 3-4-6 finish by Western Washington, running 26:26, followed by Peter Butler (26:28) and Dylan Hayes (26:29).

SPU alum Turner Wiley was eighth (26:35), with the Falcons’ Ben Halladay taking ninth in 26:35.

Saint Martin’s top runner was Josiah Shelman in 27:01.

Lane CC took the men’s team title with 67 points, ahead of Western Washington’s 76.  Spokane CC was third with 95.

Host Saint Martin’s was fifth with 135, and Seattle Pacific was eighth with 171 points.


NOTE:  The sports information office of Saint Martin’s University contributed to this report.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Eagles and Vikings head to Minnesota for Roy Griak Invite; all four D2 schools at Saint Martin's Invite...

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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vikings and Falcons move up in latest USTFCCCA national Division II coaches' poll...

NEW ORLEANS—The Western Washington men’s cross country team moved up one spot, while its women’s squad (above/photo courtesy WWU Athletics) moved up two positions in the latest USTFCCCA Division II national coaches’ poll released Wednesday.

The Viking men’s squad moved up to #14 from #15, while its women’s team went up to #8 from #10 in the previous poll.

Western did not run its top runners at last Saturday’s Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park, as they prepare for this weekend’s Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota.  The Viking women finished eighth in the open section of the Sundodger, while the men’s team finished 13th.

Also moving up in the women’s national poll is Seattle Pacific, which moved up to #18 from the previous poll, where it was ranked #24.

On the men’s side, the top five teams in the nation are Colorado Mines, Grand Valley State, Adams State, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

The only other GNAC school ranked in the national top 25 is Alaska Anchorage at #9.

The top five women’s teams in the country are Grand Valley State, Adams State, Chico State, U-Mary, and Western State.

The other GNAC school in the national women’s poll besides Western and Seattle Pacific is Alaska Anchorage at #24, tumbling out of the national top ten after a disappointing showing at Sundodger last week, where they finished sixth.

While the Vikings head to Minnesota, Seattle Pacific will stay close to home and run in the Saint Martin’s Invitational in Lacey.


NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jeremy Taiwo finishes second in season-long IAAF Combined Events Challenge...

MONTE CARLO—University of Washington alum Jeremy Taiwo (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished second in the 2016 season-long IAAF Combined Events Challenge, according to a release from the international track & field governing body.

The IAAF Combined Events Challenge consisted of eleven multi-events meetings in Italy, Austria, Australia, Czech Republic. Canada, Germany, France. the Netherlands, as well as select national and international meets, including the US Olympic Trials and the Olympics in Rio.

Taiwo started out with an 8203 point performance at the Gotzis meeting in Austria, then followed it up with a personal best score of 8425 points to take second at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, then ended his season with an 11th place finish at the Rio Olympics, scoring 8300 points, giving him a season score of 24,928, just behind Germany’s Kai Kazmirek.

Kazmirek won the season long challenge with a total of 25221 points in his three decathlon competitions in 2016—8318 in Gotzis;  8323 in Ratingen, Germany; and a fourth place finish in Rio at the Olympics with a personal best 8580 points.

Kazmirek walks away with the first prize of $30,000, while Taiwo will receive $20,000 for his season-long efforts.

Athletes eligible for prize money from the season long Multi-Events Challenge had to complete at least three meets from the series; all six of the Olympic decathlon and heptathlon medalists only completed two multi-event competitions in 2016, including the Oregon TC’s Ashton Eaton, who won his second Olympic decathlon title in Rio.


NOTE:  The IAAF contributed to this report.

WSU moves into national top 30 in latest USTFCCCA coaches' poll as Dawgs drop...

NEW ORLEANS—The coaches who comprise the voters of the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll did not take Washington’s loss at its home Sundodger Invitational last Saturday too kindly, as the Huskies dropped 13 spots from #8 to #21 in the latest poll released Tuesday.

Washington, which hasn’t won its own meet for the last three years, came off of a hard training block after returning to Seattle from their pre-season training camp on the Washington coast, and did not race 2015 NCAA competitors Fred Huxham and Johnathan Stevens.

The Washington State Cougar mens team moved into the national top 30 for the first time this season with their third straight win at Sundodger, as they were ranked #27 by the coaches.  

The Cougs ran six of their seven runners from last year’s NCAA championship team at Sundodger, including Michael Williams (left/photo by Paul Merca) and ran John Whelan unattached.  The Cougs did however, place seven runners in the top 10, to score a 24-40 win over Washington.

The nation’s top five teams on the men’s side are Syracuse, Northern Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, and Colorado.  Washington and Washington State are the only other Pac-12 schools ranked in the top 30.

On the women’s side, the Huskies dropped one spot from their previous ranking of #11 despite a convincing win at the Sundodger, where they placed six runners in the top ten, led by Charlotte Prouse and Katie Knight, and ran two freshmen who finished in the top 10—Kaitlyn Neal and Nokki Zielinski—unattached.

The nation’s top five teams this week are New Mexico, Providence, Colorado, Oregon, and North Carolina State.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the latest poll include #7 Stanford, and #26 Utah.

Washington and Washington State will see each other again on October 1st at the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park Golf Course.


NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Gonzaga splits dual meet with Idaho...

SPOKANE—The Gonzaga Bulldogs split in their dual cross country meet with the University of Idaho Saturday at the Mead HS athletic compound, with the men winning by a 23-32 count, while the Idaho women’s squad took the victory 20-41.

Troy Fraley, who is being redshirted by the Zags for the cross country season, won the race, covering the 8k course in 24:25.

Gonzaga’s Max Kaderabek led the charge, finishing second in 24:53, followed by Scot Kopyznski in 25:01.

The Bulldogs’ other scorers were Jerry Sicalo in 9th (25:43), Sammy Truax in 12th (25:52), and Quentin Purtzer in 14th (25:53).

Despite a number of his athletes sitting out the meet, Gonzaga Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Pat Tyson was pleased with his squad’s performance.

In the women’s 5k race, Gonzaga’s Jordan Thurston took the win in 17:33.  The Vandals put across the line five runners before the Bulldogs’ Olivia Evans finished in seventh in 18:36.

Following Evans were Katy Culver in 11th (19:00), Lauren Bourgeois in 12th (19:11), and Claire Swafford in 13th (19:21).

Gonzaga returns to action September 30th when they travel to Missoula for the Montana Invitational.


NOTE:  Gonzaga's sports information office contributed to this report.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gilbert wins Sundodger, but Cougs put seven in top 10 for third straight team title...

SEATTLE—While it’s only September, the Washington State Cougars may have issued a statement to the rest of the teams in the Pac-12 conference, and for that matter, the rest of the nation, after decisively defeating host Washington at the Sundodger Invitational men’s 8k race on a cloudy day at Lincoln Park.

The Cougars, perhaps stinging from being snubbed by the voters of the USTFCCCA national coaches poll that did not consider them worthy of a national top-30 ranking after qualifying for last year’s NCAA championships, put seven scoring runners in the top ten to easily win their third straight Sundodger Invitational.

Washington All-American Colby Gilbert (#638/photo by Paul Merca) was in control of the race, as he easily won in a time of 23:39, with Washington State’s Michael Williams (#675) taking the runner-up spot three seconds behind.

The Huskies’ Andrew Gardner, who shared the early lead with Gilbert, was an easy third in 23:58, just ahead of Washington State’s John Whelan (24:01), who ran unattached.

It was the runners behind Whelan who were the story for the Cougs, led by Sam Levora in 5th (24:04), Chandler Teigen in 6th (24:10), Nathan Wadhwani in 7th (24:12), and Nathan Tadesse in 8th (24:19), giving Washington State an excellent 1-5 split of 37 seconds.

Finishing behind Gilbert and Gardner for the Dawgs, who were admittedly tired from their annual pre-season training camp on the Washington coast, were Blake Nelson in 14th (24:45), Keith Williams in 17th (24:49), and Julius Diehr in 21st (25:02), giving the Huskies a final score of 40 points to the Cougars’ 24.

Husky freshman Gavin Parpart competed unattached, running 24:34 for 11th, and fellow frosh Ryan Gregory was 15th in 24:47.  

Seattle University finished third with a final team score of 99 points, led by Chay Weaver’s 22nd place finish in 25:08.

In contrast, the Washington women, who were ranked #11 in the USTFCCCA national poll entering the weekend, were dominant, placing six runners in the top ten, as Canadian internationalist Charlotte Prouse was given credit for the win over the 6k course in 20:19 over Husky teammate Katie Knight as they held hands across the finish line.

Fresno State’s Annemarie Schwanz made the finish a bit interesting as she tried to make a late charge at Prouse and Knight, but ran out of real estate, taking third in 20:20.

NCAA 1500m qualifier Amy-Eloise Neale was fourth in 20:25, followed by a pair of UW freshmen competing unattached, Kaitlyn Neal in 5th (20:26), and Nicole Zielinski in 6th (20:40).

Rounding out Washington’s five scorers were Anna Maxwell in 7th (20:52), and Kaylee Flanagan in 8th (20:53), giving them a low score of 18 points.

Washington State was led by Devon Bortfeld’s 12th place finish (21:12), followed by Morgan Willson in 13th (21:32), Morgan Lash (18th, 22:05), Melissa Hruska (19th, 22:13), and Josie Brown (25th, 22:24), giving them a score of 67 points.

Hawaii was third with 99, three less than SeattleU.  The Redhawks were led by Lila Rice, who finished 21st in 22:14.

In the first race of the day, former Washington State standout Caroline Austin, now competing for the Seattle Running Club, led for most of the way before being overtaken in the final 100 meters by Trinity Western’s Regan Yee, as both were credited with at time of 20:30.

Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter finished fifth in 20:57, while Kayla Leland of Division III Whitworth was tenth in 21:18.

Declan White of Trinity Western won the mens open race in 24:00 over Western Oregon’s David Ribich, who ran 24:05. Former Seattle Pacific standout Turner Wiley was the top runner with Washington ties, finishing 8th in 24:35.

Complete results of the Sundodger Invitational are available below.


NOTE:  The University of Washington contributed to this report.  The results will be updated later to include team scores.

Sundodger Invitational highlights collegiate cross country schedule in Washington state...

Action from the 2015 Sundodger Invitational up front
(Paul Merca photo)
An anticipated battle between the University of Washington and Washington State University men’s cross country teams is expected to be the highlight of Saturday’s Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park in West Seattle, starting at 9 am.

The featured Invitational men’s 8k, featuring the Huskies and Cougars, gets underway at 11:35 am.  Also in the invitational field are Fresno State, Portland State, and SeattleU.

The Husky men’s team, which opened up two weeks ago at the UW/SeattleU Open at Chambers Bay GC in University Place outside Tacoma, enters its home meet as one of the country’s top teams, as they’re ranked #8 in the latest USTFCCCA poll, led by All-American Colby Gilbert.

Washington just returned to campus earlier in the week following their annual pre-season training camp in Seabrook on the Washington coast. 


Washington State, which is unranked in the national USTFCCCA coaches’ poll, returns all seven runners from the team that competed in the NCAA championships, though John Whelan will run the Sundodger as an unattached competitor.  Michael Williams, who ran most of last season as the Cougars’ #1 or #2 runner with Whelan, leads the charge for the Cougs, who may have something to prove to the national voters, as they finished outside the national top 30 in the latest Division I poll.

On the women’s side, Washington, led by NCAA track qualifiers Katie Knight and Amy-Eloise Neale and enters the meet ranked #11 in the country, is expected to have an easier time with a rebuilding Washington State squad, and with the field that includes Fresno State, Hawaii, Portland State, and SeattleU.

The women’s invitational 6k gets underway at 11 am. 


The only significant school missing from the Sundodger open races is Seattle Pacific, which competed last week at the Humboldt State Invitational.  The Falcon women’s squad is currently ranked in the national top 25 among Division II schools.

Also in the field are many of the state’s Division III and NAIA schools in what could be a preview of their conference championship meet in October.

Defending GNAC cross country champs Joyce Chelimo, and Henry Cheseto of Alaska Anchorage are the ones to watch in the open races, which have the largest fields of the meet.

Across the state in Spokane, Gonzaga hosts the University of Idaho in a dual meet at Mead High School, with the women’s 5k race starting at 10 am, and the men’s 8k starting at 10:45.  

The only Division I school idle this weekend is Eastern Washington.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

SPU's Mary Charleson wins Humboldt State Invitational...

In Trinidad, California, Seattle Pacific junior Mary Charleson (left/photo courtesy Seattle Pacific) used a decisive surge with 100 meters remaining to take the victory at the Humboldt State Invitational cross country meet Saturday morning.

Charleston covered the 6-k course that went along Patrick’s Pointe State Park in 21:09, three seconds up on Sonoma State’s Analicia Garcia, and six seconds ahead of Falcon teammate Sarah Macdonald.

The win was the first for Charleson in a college race. It also was her personal-best time on a 6-kilometer course, easily beating the 21:48 she posted in last year's NCAA Division II West Regionals in Monmouth, Oregon.

Perennial West Coast Division II powerhouse Chico State put three runners behind Macdonald to take the team title over the Falcons by a 40-57 count.

Also scoring for the Falcons were Hannah Calvert (21:43) in 11th; Chynna Phan (22:10) in 20th; and Kate Lilly (22:12) in 22nd.

In the men’s 8-k race, William Reyes of Chico State led his squad to a perfect 15 point total, winning in a time of 24:19.

Ben Halladay led the Falcons with a 19th place finish in 25:35, as they finished 6th in the 7-team field with 197 points.


WESTERN SWEEPS TEAM TITLES AT CWU INVITE

In Ellensburg, Western Washington swept both the men’s and women’s team titles Saturday at the Central Washington Invitational at Rotary Park.

The WWU men took top team honors with 27 points, placing 4 of 5 scoring runners within the top 7. The Vikings edged Central Washington (29 points) for the victory while Olympic College placed 3rd.

The WWU women scored 23 points to top CWU (35 points) in the two-team women’s field.

Junior Andrew Wise took the men’s team title, covering the 6-k course in 20:19, four seconds ahead of teammate Matthew Lutz.

Josh Boston was Central’s top finisher in third in a time of 20:24.

Elena Gomez of the host Wildcats took the women’s 4-k race in a time of 15:11, 23 seconds ahead of runner-up Lilianna Stelling of Western Washington.


Both schools will be in action next week at the Sundodger Invitational hosted by the University of Washington at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.

PRO ROUNDUP:  GREAT CITY GAMES

In Newcastle/Gateshead, England, Washington State alum Bernard Lagat showed the effects of the long season, as he finished seventh in the mens mile at the Great City Games Saturday afternoon.

Competing over a road course, Lagat finished in a time of 4:08.70, as Great Britain’s Jake Wightman won in 4:05.70.

University of Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts was third in the women’s road mile in 4:35.96, as Great Britain’s Laura Muir won in 4:33.99.

In the men’s long jump, Washington alum Norris Frederick was fifth with a leap of 23-3.5 (7.10m) as former Olympic champ Greg Rutherford won with a best of 25-1.75 (7.66m).


NOTE:  The sports information departments of Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, and Central Washington University contributed to this report.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Western, Central & SPU open '16 harrier season; Lagat, Mackey & Frederick at Great North City Games...

Western Washington, Central Washington, and Seattle Pacific open up their 2016 cross country campaign in two different venues Saturday.

The Viking women (above/photo courtesy WWU Athletics), who start the season ranked #9 in the USTFCCCA Division II pre season poll,  and whose men’s squad starts the season ranked #22, travel to Ellensburg to compete in the CWU Invitational hosted by Central Washington, with the men’s 6k getting underway at 4 pm, followed by the women’s 4k at 4:45pm at Rotary Park.


On the men’s side, the Vikings look to return to the NCAA championship meet after not qualifying last season.


Meanwhile, the Falcons of Seattle Pacific are eschewing their traditional trip to Alaska for the Humboldt State Invitational in Trinidad California, where they’ll face 11 schools in the meet.

The Falcons will race over an 8-k course in the men’s competition, while the women will run 6k.


Finally, Washington State grad Bernard Lagat closes out his 2016 campaign by running a road mile at the Great North City Games in Newcastle/Gateshead, England Saturday.

University of Washington grad Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts, who ran the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York last week, is entered in the women’s road mile race at the Great North City Games.

Another former Husky, Norris Frederick, is entered in the long jump.

Saturday’s Great North City Games will be shown live online via usatf.tv starting at 6:15 am, pacific time.


The Great North City Games takes the best of track & field into a street setting, making it more accessible to the public.  The meet is held in conjunction with the Great North Run, which is one of Great Britain’s top half-marathon road races.

In Brussels, Belgium, Vancouver native Kara Winger ended her 2016 season with a third place finish in the javelin at the Van Damme Memorial meeting Friday evening, the 14th and final stop of the season-long IAAF Diamond League tour.

The three-time US Olympian, who started her 2016 season shortly before the US Olympic trials in July due to a nagging injury and the demands of her master’s program in business administration, threw a season best of 202-11 (61.86m) in the fourth round of competition.

Latvia’s Madara Palameika won the event with a bed of 217-1 (66.18m).

Here’s Winger’s thoughts on he competition:


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Winger wins javelin in Rovereto, while Efraimson gets third in mile; Mackey 4th in 3000 in Zagreb...

In Rovereto, Italy, Vancouver native Kara Winger (left/photo by Paul Merca) took the victory Tuesday at the Palio Città della Quercia meeting in the javelin.

Though it wasn’t close to her season best, Winger won with a fifth round throw of 191-8 (58.44m) after taking the lead in the first round with a throw of 187-0 (57.00m).

The win in the Italian city was Winger’s first overseas win since 2009 when she won in Kawasaki, Japan in 2009.


Winger moves on to Brussels, Belgium to throw at the Van Damme Memorial on Friday, the final meet of the season-long IAAF Diamond League series.

In the women’s mile, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson finished third in a personal best 4:27.39, as Ethiopia’s Olympic 1500m silver medalist Genzebe Dibaba ran the fastest time in the world this season, stopping the watches in 4:14.30.


In Zagreb, Croatia, Washington alum Katie Mackey finished fourth in the 3000 Tuesday night, clocking 8:47.46 at the Memorijal Borisa Hanžekovića IAAF World Challenge meeting.

Margaret Kipkemboi of Kenya was the winner of the very competitive race, running 8:45.69, as the top five finishers were under 8:50.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Saints sweep Puget Sound Invite; Mackey eighth in Fifth Avenue Mile...

At Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, the Saint Martin’s Saints were the first Washington Division II school to open its season, and they did so by sweeping the Puget Sound Invitational hosted by Division III University of Puget Sound.

In the women’s 6k, Shannon Porter (left/photo courtesy Saint Martin’s Sports Information) was an easy winner, covering the 6k course in 20:36, winning by nearly 3 minutes over runner-up Shailee Woodard of Pacific Lutheran, who ran 23:34.

Behind Porter, the Saints finished 4-5-9-10 to score a team low 29 to nip host Puget Sound by 6 points.  Pacific Lutheran was third with 77, followed by Green River CC at 103, and Olympic College’s 126.

In the men’s competition, Germia Lizier-Zmudzinski of Puget Sound was a 15-second winner over Saint Martin’s Skyler Larson, 26:43 to 26:58 over an 8-k course.

Saint Martin’s went 2-3-4-8-9 to handily beat Puget Sound 26-45.  Pacific Lutheran was third with 54, followed by Olympic College with 118.

According to SMU coach Jim Brewer, "Both our men and women ran really well. In the women's race, Shannon took an early lead and held on to it for the whole race setting a new course record. We had three women in the top five and five in the top 10. Several of our women had an amazing performance."

"On the men's side the highlight was seeing our men really compete and have a solid pack with just over a minute spread between our number one and number five. Our men managed to repeat the women's effort by having five in the top 10 and winning the meet."

Saint Martin’s, which is picked to finish 11th in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference pre-season men’s coaches’ poll, and ninth on the women’s side, next competes on the 17th at the Sundodger Invitational hosted by the University of Washington at Lincoln Park in Seattle.


In New York Saturday, University of Washington alum Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts finished eighth Saturday in the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile through the streets of New York, running 4:23.5, as Olympic 1500m bronze medalist Jenny Simpson took the win in 4:18.3.

In the men’s Fifth Avenue Mile, Riley Masters of the Brooks Beasts was 13th in 3:55.8, as former Oregon Duck Eric Jenkins of the Nike Oregon Project (3:49.4) upset his teammate and Olympic 1500m gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz (3:49.5).


NOTE:  The sports information office of Saint Martin’s University and the New York Road Runners contributed to this report.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lagat ends storied track career with second place finish in Berlin...

BERLIN, Germany—Competing in his final track race as a professional, Washington State University alum and five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished second in the 3000 meter run at the ISTAF Meeting at the Berlin Olympiastadion Saturday afternoon.

The 41-year old Lagat ran 7:43.63, as Kenyan veteran Augustine Choge took the win in 7:43.00.

Lagat, whose summer training base is in Tubigen, Germany, told the crowd afterwards “I ended my career in Berlin, because there is no better way to end my career than with you in Berlin. I feel like I am home. I thank you all for the great support all these years.”

In the women’s javelin, Vancouver native Kara Winger, competing in her first meet after the Olympics, finished fifth with a best of 192-9 (58.76m), as Germany’s Christina Obergfull won in her final competition before retiring with a best of 210-11 (64.28m).

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dawgs open up harrier season impressively at Chambers Bay vs. SeattleU...

UNIVERSITY PLACE—In what could best be described as a test run for a possible bid by the University of Washington to host the NCAA cross country championships sometime in the near future, the Huskies hosted the annual UW/SeattleU Open meet at the Chambers Bay Golf Course Friday morning.

Chambers Bay, which hosted last year’s US Open Golf Championships, is used by several high schools in the area during the fall for meets, and is large enough to hold spectators and teams for a national championship meet.

This year’s UW/SU Open was contested over a one-mile loop on the west end of the course which did not interfere with golfers playing their rounds Friday.

In the women’s 4800 meter race, which was contested in a slightly heavy rain that hit the runners after the 5-minute mark, reigning Pac-12 10000 meter champ Katie Knight (above, #2146/photo by Paul Merca) was credited with the win in 17:11, as she led a group of seven runners across the line simultaneously.

Moira O’Connor Lenth was SeattleU’s top finisher in 12th in 17:46.

In the men’s 6400 meter race, Pac-12 5000 meter champ Colby Gilbert led seven Huskies across the line in 20:13.

Joe Charbonneau led the Redhawks across the line in eighth, running 20:18.

Both Washington squads ran Friday's races as a glorified tempo run, as they ran at a controlled pace.

Washington, which does not start school until late September, heads off to its annual pre-season training camp, before hosting the annual Sundodger Invitational on September 17th at Lincoln Park, where they’ll face two-time defending men’s champion Washington State.

Complete results of the UW/SeattleU Open are available below:


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lagat takes sixth at Zurich Weltklasse; Gonzaga men take Clash of the Inland NW team title...

ZURICH, Switzerland—Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished sixth in the men’s 5000 at the Weltklasse meeting, the penultimate stop of the IAAF’s Diamond League tour.

In what was a bit of a strange race, only Evan Jager, the Olympic silver medalist in the 3000 steeplechase from the Portland based Bowerman Track Club, followed the hired pace setters, who were supposed to run in the neighborhood of 13 minutes.

After a few laps, it became apparent that the field was not interested in running fast, leaving Jager along with a lead that grew to around 90 meters.

In the end, Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia ran down Jager over the last 150 meters to win in 13:14.82, with Olympic 5000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo of the US Army WCAP second in 13:16.51, and Jager third in 13:16.86.

Lagat finished in 13:19.73 to take sixth.

Former Puyallup resident Hassan Mead did not finish the race.

You can watch highlights of the race here (may be removed by rights holder):

Lagat moves on to compete in the 3000 meter run at Saturday’s ISTAF meeting in Berlin.


THURSTON WINS WOMEN'S TITLE; BULLDOG MEN TAKE TEAM CROWN AT CLASH OF THE INLAND NORTHWEST

In Moscow, Idaho, Gonzaga’s Jordan Thurston won the women’s 4k race at the season opening Clash of the Inland Northwest cross country meet at the Idaho Golf Course.

Thurston ran 13:41 to beat former Big Sky cross country champ Sarah Reiter of Eastern Washington by five seconds.

Eastern’s Paula Gil Echevarria cracked the top ten, finishing eighth in 14:22.

Gonzaga’s Jessica Mildes, who was the team’s top returning finisher at last year’s NCAA championships in Louisville, was 11th in 14:32.

Idaho won the team title with 28 points, followed by Eastern with 61, then Gonzaga at 64, and Montana with 76.

In the men’s 6k race, Troy Fraley of Gonzaga, competing unattached, was the winner in 18:24, 13 seconds ahead of Gonzaga’s Max Kaderabek.

The Zags had three other runners in the top 10, while freshman Colton Johnsen was Eastern Washington’s top finisher in ninth, in 18:52.

Gonzaga took the men’s team title with 26 points, with host Idaho second with 40.  Eastern Washington was third with 62, while Montana rounded out the field with 104.


NOTE:  The sports information office of Gonzaga University contributed to this report.

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