Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Both Husky squads & Cougar men maintain positions in USTFCCCA coaches' poll...

NEW ORLEANS—Bothe the University of Washington (above/photo by Paul Merca) and Washington State men’s cross country squads maintained their positions in the USTFCCCA national top 30, and the Husky women’s team did likewise, as the national coaches’ poll was released Tuesday.

The Huskies, thanks to their fifth place finish in the Pac-12 championship last week, moved up one spot from the previous poll conducted two weeks ago to number 20 in the national poll, while the voters penalized the Cougars for finishing sixth at Pac-12s by dropping them to number 27.

The nation’s top five teams are Northern Arizona, BYU, Syracuse, Pac-12 champion Stanford, and Colorado.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the national top 30 include co-number 10 UCLA, and #13 Oregon.

Other nationally ranked teams that both the Huskies and Cougars will have to contend with at the NCAA West Regionals include #6 Portland, and #26 Boise State.

The Washington women’s team dropped three spots from the previous poll two weeks ago to number 16 despite finishing fourth in the Pac-12 championship meet.

The nation’s top five teams are Pac-12 champions Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, San Francisco, and North Carolina State.

Other nationally ranked teams from the Pac-12 include #7 Stanford, and #26 California.

Nationally ranked teams the Dawgs will have to contend with at the NCAA regionals not in the Pac-12 include San Francisco at #4, and #10 Boise State.

The top two teams from the nine NCAA regional races around the country on November 10th will automatically earn berths into the NCAA championships on November 18th in Louisville, Kentucky, while 13 other teams will be selected to fill the field based on a formula that takes into account head to head competition in key regular season meets, as well as the conference and regional meets.


400 HURDLER JORDIN ANDRADE TO LEAVE PUGET SOUND TO TRAIN IN NORTH CAROLINA...

Federal Way resident and Cape Verde Olympian Jordin Andrade (above/photo by Paul Merca) announced on his Facebook page that he will leave the Puget Sound area to train in Raleigh, North Carolina under George Williams, the head coach at St. Augustine’s University.

Williams, who was the head men’s US Olympic team coach in 2004, has worked with numerous world class hurdlers, including Bershawn Jackson, and Johnny Dutch.  

Andrade, a graduate of Bonney Lake HS, was a semi-finalist at the Rio Olympics, but did not get out of the first round at the IAAF world track & field championships in London in August in the 400 hurdles.

Andrade, who has been working with Mike Cunliffe and the Seattle Speed group since graduating from Boise State, says that he will have the opportunity to train with a group of national and world-class hurdlers, something that he didn’t have in Seattle.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rough day for both SeattleU and Eastern Washington at conference championship meets...

It was a rough day for both Seattle University and Eastern Washington as the Redhawks and the Eagles ran in their respective conference championship meets Saturday.

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, Seattle University senior Matthew Seidel (above/photo courtesy Seattle University) ran to a seventh place finish at the Western Athletic Conference championship meet Saturday to lead the Redhawks to a fourth place finish.

Seidel ran 24:23 for the 8k course, as the Redhawks scored 119 points, as the University of Missouri/Kansas City upset Utah Valley, leveling them on points at 42, but winning the tiebreaker (1st runner vs 1st runner, down to 5th runner vs 5th runner. Team with most wins takes the tiebreaker, which was UMKC 3-2).

Bryce Miller of UMKC won the race in 23:47.

In the women’s 5k race, the Redhawks’ Olivia Stein led the way for SeattleU, racing to a ninth place finish in 17:23, as the team also ran to a fourth place finish with 106 points.

Host New Mexico State upset Utah Valley on a tiebreaker, with both schools scoring 47, and NMSU winning the tiebreaker 3-2.

UMKC’s Mia Jerman won the race in 16:56.



The Eagles finished eighth with 218 points, as Northern Arizona won with 51 points, led by Paige Gilchrist, who won in 17:13.

On the mens’ side, Colton Johnsen led the way with a 37th place finish on the 8k course, running 25:58.

Northern Arizona, the nation’s number one team, easily won with 24 points, led by Tyler Day’s 23:21.


GONZAGA MEN TAKE FOURTH IN WCC CHAMPS IN OAKLAND...


Kaderabek ran 24:22 for 8k to finish 17th, as the Bulldog men’s squad finished fourth with 102 points.

Number 2 ranked BYU won the men’s title with 22 points, led by winner Connor McMillan’s 23:23, with number 3 ranked Portland second with 50 points. 

Spokane native Nick Hauger was the second runner for Portland, finishing seventh in 23:31.

Thurston, the last remaining member of the Bulldog team that won the WCC title two years ago in Spokane, ran 20;53 to finish 18th over the 6k course, as the Zags were sixth with 179 points.

Charlotte Taylor of #4 ranked San Francisco, led the way for the Dons, winning the race in 19:11, as USF easily won the team title with 23 points.


Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and SeattleU will meet up at the NCAA West Regional championship meet on November 10th at Seattle’s Jefferson Park GC, hosted by the University of Washington.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and SeattleU contributed to this report.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mahmoud Moussa breaks through with fifth place finish at Pac-12 championships...

SPRINGFIELD, Oregon—For most of the season, observers of the University of Washington cross country team felt that Mahmoud Moussa (left/photo by Paul Merca) was on the verge of a breakthrough, but were wondering when that would happen.

After the fog had burned away Friday morning at the Springfield Golf Club, that breakthrough came at the Pac-12 cross country championships, as Moussa ran to a fifth place finish over the 8k distance.

As they did at last year’s NCAA regional championships in Sacramento, several runners from Washington State took control of the front, beginning with Nathan Wadhwani, followed by Chandler Teigen, then their All-American Michael Williams, with UCLA’s Robert Brandt, who did much of the leading at the Wisconsin Invitational, close by.

At the penultimate split point, Brandt and Cclorado’s Joe Klecker went to the front, with Moussa and Stanford’s Grant Fisher lurking.

Moussa went to the front with less than 800 meters to go, but as they went to the final 400, Fisher surged to the lead and held it as they shot down the final straightaway.

Fisher won in 23:45, with Klecker second in 23:48.

A pair of Stanford runners, Steven Fahy, and Alex Ostberg, nosed Moussa out at the line, with all three timed at 23:52.

WSU’s Teigen hung on to take ninth in 24:03.

Colorado’s reign as conference champions ended, as the Cardinal, thanks to a top-5 finish by their three top runners, won with a final team score of 41 points, with the Buffaloes second with 47 points.

Washington was fifth with 114 points, while Washington State took sixth with 138.

Other scorers for the Huskies were Andrew Gardner in 11th (24:05); Colby Gilbert in 27th (24:27); Talon Hull in 29th (24:29); and Andy Snyder in 47th (24:47).

WSU’s other scorers were Michael Williams in 19th (24:12), Jake Finney in 33rd (24:32), Matthew Watkins in 37th (24:34), and early leader Wadhwani in 45th (24:40).

Spokane native Tanner Anderson of Oregon was 22nd in 24:16, as the host Ducks were fourth with 109 points.

In the opening women’s 6k championship race, Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger went to the front as she did at last month’s Dellinger Invitational that she won in setting a course record of 18:48.

Unlike the Dellinger and the Wisconsin meets where Washington’’s Amy-Eloise Neale hung back, the senior from Snohomish via Great Britain stayed in contact with the front runners, fluctuating anywhere from third to twelfth.

With less than 1000 meters to go, Neale was in prime position to jump the leaders, sitting on the shoulder of Colorado’s Dani Jones and Rainsberger.

Jones took the conference title, running 18:58, with Rainsberger and Neale going 2-3 in 18:59.

Colorado won the team title with a low score of 53 points, with Stanford and Oregon tied at 71.

Washington was fourth with 128 points, while Washington State was tenth with 259.

After Neale, the Huskies’ scorers were Kaitlyn Neal in 26th (19:35), Izzi Batt-Doyle in 27th (19:39); Emily Hamlin in 36th (20:04), and Anna Maxwell in 38th (20:05).

Washington State was led by Vallery Korir in 13th (19:20); Devon Bortfeld in 40th (20:06); Melissa Hruska in 77th (21:00); Josie Brown in 81st (21:03); and Kiyena Beatty in 88th (21:17).

Next up for both Washington squads is the NCAA West Regionals at Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course on November 10th.


NOTE:  The University of Oregon and the Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Cougs and Dawgs head to Willamette Valley for Pac-12 cross country champs Friday...

In this blog’s preview of the 2016 Pac-12 cross country championships, World Wresting Entertainment hall of famer Ric Flair’s famous quote of “to be the man, you have to beat the man” was used to describe the cross country juggernaut that is the University of Colorado.

Although the University of Colorado won the women’s team title at the Pac-12s in Tucson last year, the tables were turned on the Buffaloes at the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Indiana, as the University of Oregon, which finished fourth at both the Pac-12s and the West regionals, stormed past everyone to win the NCAA title.

With Oregon set to host the Pac-12 championships at the Springfield Golf Course on Friday, the number one-ranked Ducks are the team to beat for the team title over the 6k distance, especially after they defeated  Colorado at the adidas Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky two weeks ago.

A victory by Oregon on its home course would snap a two year grip by Colorado on the conference team title.

The University of Washington, led by defending champ Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca), goes into the Pac-12s as the #13 team in the country, On paper, the Dawgs, who scored the only perfect 15 in meet history in winning the Pac-10 title on this course nine years ago en route to its only national title, are projected to finish third, behind Oregon and Colorado, with #14 Stanford expected to battle the Huskies, along with #27 Utah and #28 California.

On paper, Neale does not appear to be the favorite to defend her individual title, as Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger, who set a course record of 18:48 in winning the Bill Dellinger Invitational last month; Dani Jones of Colorado, who beat Rainsberger at the adidas Pre-Nationals, and Utah’s Grayson Murphy, who was second at the Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, have all run well in the big invitationals this season.

However, Neale, who was 14th in Wisconsin, had one of the fastest last 2k splits at that race, running 6:22 to gain ten places. If she can stay within striking distance of the leaders with less than a mile to go as she did at last year’s Pac-12 championships, she will be a factor. 

Washington State will be led into battle by Vallery Korir, the transfer from Murray State, who won the open section of the Nuttycombe Wisconsin meet two weeks ago.

In the men’s competition, Colorado is the team to knock off for the title belt, as the Buffs have won every Pac-12 title since entering the league in 2011, and are on course to set the league-record streak of seven. Colorado currently shares the league record of six straight Pac-12 team titles (2011-16) with Stanford (2000-05).

The Buffaloes, who enter the Pac-12 8k championship race as the #5 ranked team in the country, will be challenged by #6 Stanford, and #8 Oregon, with #14 UCLA, #20 Washington State, and #21 Washington all having something to say about the outcome.

Washington State will be led by All-American Michael Williams, who was 39th at Wisconsin two weeks ago. The Huskies will be led by senior All-American Colby Gilbert along with fellow senior Andrew Gardner.

The Dawgs will have available freshman Talon Hull, who sat out the Wisconsin meet with an injury.  According to the school’s press release, senior Fred Huxham will not travel to Springfield, though he was on the preliminary entry list. Huxham, who only ran in the meet against Seattle University on September 1st, will be eligible to redshirt, assuming he doesn’t compete in any more meets this season.

A pair of runners from the Spokane area could contend for individual honors in Colorado’s John Dressel, who was a cross country All-American last year, and Oregon’s Tanner Anderson, who was third in the Pac-12 10000m last spring.

For the first time, the Pac-12 Network will televise the Pac-12 cross country championships live Friday, beginning at 11 am (Comcast channel 628 in Seattle), with Jim Watson, Dwight Stones, and Lewis Johnson on the call.  Authenticated subscribers can also stream the meet on their computers or devices using the Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com. The awards ceremony will be webcast on the Pac-12’s Facebook page.



paulmerca.blogspot.com will be in Springfield covering the Pac-12s.

THE REST OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE FOR WASHINGTON’S D1 SCHOOLS…

On Friday, Gonzaga travels to Oakland for the West Coast Conference championships at the Metropolitan Golf Links, with the women’s 6k starting at 10 am, and the men’s 8k following at 11 am.

On the men’s side, #2 ranked BYU and #3 ranked Portland are set to collide for the conference crown, as those two schools have won the last 38 WCC titles.

Portland has on its roster two athletes with Washington ties, led by Nick Hauger from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS, and Logan Orndorf from Cedarcrest HS in Duvall.  Both were scorers for the Pilots in Wisconsin two weeks ago, with Hauger finishing eighth.

The Zags will be led on the men’s side by Dillon Quintana, who was 16th in last year’s conference title race, and Max Kaderabek, who led the team two weeks ago at the adidaa Pre-Nationals in Louisville.

On the women’s side, Jordan Thurston, the last remaining member of the historic 2015 team that won the WCC title en route to qualifying for its first NCAA national championship berth, leads the way for the Zags into Oakland.


The WCC championships will be streamed live on TheW.tv.

Saturday, both Eastern Washington and Seattle University will compete in their conference championships, with Eastern heading to Ogden, Utah for the Big Sky Conference meet hosted by Weber State, while Seattle University travels to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Western Athletic Conference title clash, hosted by New Mexico State.



After conference championship weekend, all five schools will compete at the NCAA West Regionals in Seattle on November 10th at Jefferson Park Golf Course on Beacon Hill.

NOTE:  The Pac-12 Conference, the Western Athletic Conference, the Big Sky Conference, the West Coast Conference, and the sports information offices of all five Washington NCAA Division I schools contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

SPU's Mary Charleson takes second in GNAC cross country championships...

BELLINGHAM—It rained before, and after the races, but for the duration of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country championships at East Lake Padden Park, the weather gods cooperated.

Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who had nursed an injury for most of the season before opening two weeks ago on this very same course with a 13th place finish in 22:15 at the Western Washington Classic under explicit instructions to run easy with the pack for the first mile, roared to a second place finish, running 21:46 over the wet course, improving on her fourth place finish in the conference meet last year.

While Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat ran away from the field, winning by a 56 second margin over Charleson in 20:50, the Seattle Pacific senior had a seven second gap over third place finisher Julia Howley of Simon Fraser, who was one of the most dominant runners in the conference this season.

Charleson’s efforts helped the Falcons gain a fourth place finish, just behind host Western Washington, as the Vikings edged Seattle Pacific out by a 87-93 margin, despite not having a runner break into the top ten.

Afterwards, Charleson said, "It felt so good to be back and starting where I normally start and being competitive with it. “I didn't hold anything back today, and that was exciting."

"After that first hill, I started making a move on the downhill," Charleson said of how she broke away on the back side of the lake. "I knew we had to keep up the pace so that the back pack didn't catch us.”

Sophomore Tracy Melville was the Vikings’ top finisher in 13th place with a time of 22:24.

Central Washington was fifth with 163 points, led by GNAC 10000m champ Alexa Shindruk, who was 11th in 22;14.

Saint Martin’s was tenth with 255 points, led by Larissa Kolasinski in 31st place with a time of 23:23.

Alaska Anchorage made an emphatic statement in successfully defending its GNAC title, as the #8 ranked Seawolves scored a low of 28 points, placing all five of its scorers in the top ten, handily defeating number 4 Simon Fraser, who scored 65 points.

With Saturday’s performance, Alaska Anchorage should move up when the national USTFCCCA rankings are published on Wednesday.

In the men’s 8k race, there was a bit of a mild upset, as Western Oregon’s David Ribich, the reigning NCAA D2 champ at 1500 meters, got the best of defending conference cross country champ Edwin Kangogo, winning the GNAC title in a time of 24:55 to Kangogo’s 25:04.

#23 Western Washington placed two runners in the top ten, led by Jadon Olson’s sixth place finish in 25:30.  Andrew Wise was tenth in 25:42, as the Vikings finished fourth with 76 points.

As in the women’s race, Ribich’s win propelled #13 Western Oregon to the conference title, stopping a streak of seven consecutive team titles for Alaska Anchorage. The Wolves, coached by former UW head coach Mike Johnson, scored 51 points to UAA’s 64 points.

The Vikings, which beat unranked Simon Fraser two weeks ago at its own meet, had the tide turned on them by the Clan, as SFU was third with 70 points to WWU’s 76.

Central Washington was sixth with 161 points, led by Josh Boston in 25th place in 26:19.  

Seattle Pacific was eighth with 224 points, as Peder Rickbell was their top runner in 32nd in 26:42, while Saint Martin’s was 11th with 331 points, led by Josh Hunt in 59th place in 27:11.

All eleven GNAC member schools will reconvene in two weeks at Western Oregon University’s Ash Creek Preserve for the NCAA West Regional championship meet to determine berths for the NCAA championships in Evansville, Indiana on November 18th.


NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Friday, October 20, 2017

GNAC cross country title tilt slated for Saturday in Bellingham...

The championship season begins Saturday for Washington’s four NCAA Division II schools, as they convene in Bellingham for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet at Lake Padden Park, with the women’s 6k starting at 10 am, and the men’s 8k going one hour later.

The host Western Washington Vikings would love nothing better than to win a conference title on their home course, with their men’s squad having the best chance of doing so, led by Andrew Wise (left/photo by Paul Merca), who has four top-20 finishes this season, including a sixth-place performance at the WWU Classic two weeks ago over the same Lake Padden course, albeit over the longer 10k distance.

However, the road to the conference crown goes straight through defending champion Alaska Anchorage, currently ranked in the USTFCCCA national poll at number 17.

The Seawolves are led by defending conference champ Edwin Kangogo, who is the only scoring member of last year’s championship team returning, although they have two other runners who competed in the conference title battle.

Western Oregon, currently the highest ranked GNAC squad nationally at #13, and Simon Fraser are the two other schools with realistic chances to knock off Alaska Anchorage.

Wise and Seattle Pacific’s Ben Halladay are the two Washington runners with the best chances to contend for top-10 individual honors.

The women’s team title is expected to be a two-way battle between defending champs Alaska Anchorage and Simon Fraser, currently ranked #5 in the latest USTFCCCA coaches poll.

UAA’s Caroline Kurgat comes into the meet as the defending champion, while Simon Fraser’s Julia Howley is expected to challenge for top individual honors.

Central Washington’s Alexa Shindruk, the defending GNAC 10000m champ, along with Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson, Western’s Lillianna Stelling, and Saint Martin’s Yadira Lopez, could contend for top-10 finishes.

As it has been for the past few days leading up to the race, expect cool and rainy skies, and a slick course for Saturday’s races.


NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference contributed to this report.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dawgs' efforts in Wisconsin earn them their first USTFCCCA national ranking this season...

NEW ORLEANS—The University of Washington men’s cross country team's (above/photo by Paul Merca) 14th place finish in the ├╝ber-competitive Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison was rewarded by the voters of the USTFCCCA’s Division I national cross country poll, as the Huskies made the national rankings for the first time this season, landing at number 21.

At the same time, the Washington State men’s squad, which was at one time ranked as high as #11, but got bounced all the way down to number 29 in the last released poll two weeks ago, rebounded all the way up to number 20, just ahead of the Huskies.

The nation’s top five men’s teams after the busy Wisconsin Invite and the adidas Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville over the weekend are Northern Arizona, BYU, Portland, Syracuse, and Pac-12 champs Colorado.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the national top-30 include #6 Stanford, #8 Oregon, and #14 UCLA.

On the women’s side, the Huskies dropped two spots to number 13. despite finishing seventh in Wisconsin last week.

The nation’s top five schools are defending national champs Oregon, followed by New Mexico, defending Pac-12 champ Colorado, San Francisco, and NC State.

Other Pac-12 teams in the national top 30 include #14 Stanford, #27 Utah, and #28 California.

The USTFCCCA will release two more polls—one after the conference championship weekend, and one after the regional championships.


NOTE:  The USTFCCCA, and the Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spokane's Tanner Anderson leads Ducks to third place finish at adidas Pre-Nationals...

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky—Spokane native Tanner Anderson (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished 17th in the invitational section of the adidas Pre-Nationals Invitational hosted by the University of Louisville at T.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, the site of this year’s NCAA championships, leading the University of Oregon to a third place finish Saturday.

Anderson, a product of North Central HS, ran 23:27 for the 8k course to cross the line first for the Ducks, who concentrated on pack running. Oregon, the number 8 ranked team in the country, had six runners in the top 35, with their fifth scorer only 19 seconds behind Anderson, as they scored 129 points.

Brigham Young, who won the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Springfield two weeks ago, won the men’s team title with 41 points, led by individual winner Rory Linkletter, who ran 23:09.

Gonzaga, who ran without steeplechase All-American Troy Fraley, finished 16th in the 41-team field with 478 points, led by Max Kaderabek, who finished in 60th in 24:09. 

Peter Hogan was 80th (24:21), and Jake Perrin was 93rd (24:27). Rounding out the Zags’ scorers were Phillip Fishburn in 114th (24:36), and Bennett Gagnon in 145th (24:51), as the Bulldogs had a 1-5 spread of 43 seconds.

Eastern Washington was 39th in the field with a score of 954 points, as Colton Johnsen, the team’s leader all season long, finished 78th in 24:20.

In the women’s invitational section, the Eagles finished 41st with a score of 1021 points, as Oregon won with 63 points.  Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire was the individual winner over the 6k course, running 19:29.

Jordan Thurston, a member of Gonzaga’s first-ever team to qualify for the NCAA cross country championships two years ago on this same course, was the Bulldogs’ lone woman running in the race, finishing 110th in 21:18.

Kari Hamilton was the Eagles’ top runner, crossing the line in 21:30, and placing 131st. 


In Lewiston, Idaho, Washington State alum John Whelan won the men’s 8k at the Inland Empire Collegiate Championships hosted by Lewis-Clark State.

Whelan ran 23:35 to win the race by a comfortable margin over a field that included athletes from Washington State, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Seattle University, along with a host of other smaller D3 and NAIA schools, with Central Washington the lone GNAC school at the meet.

The women’s 5k race was won by Idaho’s Andrea Condie, who ran 17:15, 12 seconds ahead of Seattle University’s Olivia Stein. 


NOTE;  The sports information offices of the University of Louisville, University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and Lewis-Clark State contributed to this report.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Washington women finish seventh in ultra-competitive Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invite...

MADISON, Wisconsin—Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran to a 14th place finish to lead the Huskies to a seventh place finish in the invitational section of the Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on a calm but cloudy day at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course Friday afternoon.

The senior from Snohomish, who is the reigning Pac-12 conference champion, started slow and worked her way though the 227-woman field, crossing the line in 20:07.

Fellow senior Izzi Batt-Doyle was Washington’s second finisher in 20:35, followed by sophomore Kaitlyn Neal in 50th in 20:43.

Rounding out the scoring for the Dawgs were Anna Maxwell in 73rd in 21:00, and Emily Hamlin in 77th in 21:01, giving Washington a 54 second 1-5 split.

New Mexico won the team title with 87 points, led by three women in the top ten, with Ednah Kurgat leading the way for the Lobos.

Former Husky Charlotte Prouse was seventh overall in 19:55 for the winning New Mexico squad.

Another notable former Husky, Lindsey Bradley, now competing for Baylor, was 13th in 20:07, just ahead of Neale.

The Huskies actually tied for sixth with 257 points but lost a tiebreaker to Furman, thus finishing seventh. That was ahead of fifth-ranked Stanford which placed eighth with 292 points, and the Dawgs also beat out No. 14 Indiana, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 18 Iowa State, and five more teams ranked between No. 20 and No. 28.

It was a bit of a rough go for both Washington State and Washington, both of whom had aspirations for a top ten finish, as the Cougars were 13th with 441 points, and the Huskies 14th with 445 points.

All-American Michael Williams led the way for the Cougars, finishing 39th over 8k in 24:15.  Chandler Teigen was 55th in 24:23, followed by Nathan Wadhwani in 96th at 24:43.

Jake Finney was 104th in 24:49, and Paul Ryan rounded out the scorers in 147th in 25:02, as Washington State’s 1-5 split was 47 seconds.

For the Huskies, Andrew Gardner led the way in 37th, running 24:14.  Andy Snyder was 91st in 24:40, followed by Johnathan Stevens in 99th at 24:45.

Colby Gilbert was 100th in 24:46, and freshman Tibu Proctor as 118th in 24:54, giving the Dawgs a 1-5 split of 40 seconds, despite missing both Fred Huxham and Talon Hull.

That said, both the Cougars and the Huskies beat several nationally ranked teams, which will come in handy when it comes time to select the at-large teams for the NCAA championships in mid-November.

The WSU men finished ahead of these higher-ranked teams from the latest poll: No. 13 Iona 17th, No. 14 Iowa State 16th, No. 15 Boise State 21st, No. 16 Illinois 28th, No. 18 Virginia 30th, and No. 28 Wisconsin 25th.

The Dawgs entered unranked but finished ahead of No. 13 Iona, No. 14 Iowa State, No. 15 Boise State, No. 16 Illinois, No. 18 Virginia, No. 21 Indiana, No. 25 Wisconsin, and No. 30 Columbia. 

Living up to its reputation as the country’s best invitational race, the huge Wisconsin fields featured 16 of the top-30 nationally ranked women's squads and 20 of the top-30 men's teams. 

In the women’s open or B section, Washington State’s Vallery Korir led from start to finish and took the victory in 20:37, a time that would have placed her 47th in the invitational race.

Korir, who is the younger sister of US world championships team member Leonard Korir, said afterwards that her win will give her the confidence to run with the top runners in the Pac-12 conference when they face off in two weeks in Springfield, Oregon.

About having to run solo in the race, she said, "The best thing about running by yourself is that it boosts your mental skills of running," 

The Cougs finished fourth in the open section with 111, as Colorado won the section with 35 points.  Washington prep standout Cayla Seligman from Issaquah was part of the winning Colorado squad, finishing 19th in 21:37.

Washington’s three entries in the B section were led by freshman Erica Schroeder in 13th in 21:28, one spot behind WSU’s Devon Bortfeld, who ran 21:26.

The Husky men were sixth in the open men’s race with 127 points, led by Gavin Parpart in 23rd in 25:12.  Stanford won the open mens title with 60 points.  Luis Vargas of NC State, competing unattached, won the race in 23:42.



NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, and Washington State University contributed to this report.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dawgs and Cougs set to battle nation's best cross country teams at Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invite...

The Washington men's squad works on practice starts
Friday at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in
Madison, WI (Paul Merca photo)
MADISON, Wisconsin—Can Washington State’s men’s squad bounce back from a bad performance at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational and maintain their national ranking?

Can the Washington men, who are outside of the current USTFCCCA national top 30, take the next step and run a strong race that puts them in the national conversation going into the championship season?

Can the perennial national powerhouse Husky women’s team rise up and get themselves into the top ten going into the Pac-12 championships with a solid performance?

While those questions may or may not have definite answers, collegiate cross country fans will have a better understanding of the national landscape after Friday’s Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, and Saturday’s Pre-Nationals race in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Nuttycombe Wisconsin meet features 35 of the country’s leading Division I men’s teams, and 33 women’s squads, with 20 men’s ranked teams, and 17 nationally ranked women’s teams according to the USTFCCCA’s release. 

The powerhouse lineup of teams are led by defending men’s champ and current number one ranked Northern Arizona, while #3 New Mexico and #5 Stanford are the headliners on the women’s side.


The meet gets underway at 11 am, local time (9 am pacific) with the women’s 6k B race, which Washington State is entering a full team, followed by the men’s 8k B section at 11:40.  

The women’s 6k A section goes off at 12:20 pm, followed by the men’s 8k A section at 1 pm. Media partner Flotrack ($) will stream the meet live on flotrack.org.

Saturday, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington will enter teams at the Pre-National Invitational at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of this year’s NCAA championships, while Seattle University travels south to Sunnyvale, California for the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational.

Additionally, WSU, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington are scheduled to enter teams at Saturday’s Inland Empire Classic in Lewiston, Idaho, hosted by Lewis-Clark State.  Central Washington, the only Washington GNAC school competing this weekend, is also expected to enter runners in that meet.

WESTERN WASHINGTON MEN BREAK INTO USTFCCCA NATIONAL RANKINGS…

Thanks to a strong showing at their own Western Washington Classic last Saturday, the Western Washington men’s team became the first Washington Division II team to earn a USTFCCCA national ranking this season.

The Vikings finished second behind #4 ranked Chico State, and that was enough for the voting panel to rank them #23 in the national poll released Wednesday.

The nation’s top five men’s D2 teams are Adams State, Grand Valley State, Colorado Mines, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

Number 13 Western Oregon and Alaska Anchorage at #17 are the only other men’s teams from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference to be ranked in the national top 25.

Next up for the Vikings is the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet at East Lake Padden Park in Bellingham on October 21st.

NOTE:  The University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

London 2017 800m competitor Lindsey Butterworth outkicks Tansey Lystad at WWU Classic...

BELLINGHAM—Canadian world championships 800m competitor and Simon Fraser alum Lindsey Butterworth used her speed over the last 500 meters to chase down Inglemoor HS and University of Portland alum Tansey Lystad (left/photo by Paul Merca) to win the women’s 6-kilometer race at the Western Washington Classic at East Lake Padden Park Saturday.

The former cross country All-American for the Pilots took command of the race early as the field looped around Lake Padden, which will be the site of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships in a fortnight.

However, as they exited the lake to make the last little U-turn with 500 meters to go before the finish, Butterworrth, a former NCAA Division II 800 meter champ for Simon Fraser who ran 2:02.13 this summer to get a spot in the London world championships, used her speed to run down Lystad and get the win in 21:15, three seconds better than Lystad, who ran for Team USA at the NACAC cross country championships this spring, and who is presently the cross country coach at Everett CC.

Simon Fraser, the NCAA Division II’s number four ranked team, won the team title by two points 44-46 over #12 ranked Chico State.

Western Washington finished fourth with 106 points, led by Lilllianna Stelling’s 19th place finish in 22:29.

Seattle Pacific was fifth with 114 points, led by Mary Charleson’s 13th place finish in 22:15, as she made her 2017 season debut after missing the first month of the season with an injury.

Central Washington was sixth with 165 points, as Alexa Shindruk led the way for the Wildcats with her 11th place finish in 22:10.

Saint Martin’s was ninth in the 12-team field with 249 points, led by Yadira Lopez in 42nd with a time of 23:15.

In the men’s 10k race, it was a dominating performance by Chico State, who is the fourth ranked Division II squad according to the latest USTFCCCA national poll, as they placed six runners in the top ten, and finish with a low score of 17 points.

Keenan Viney of Calgary, Alberta, competing unattached, was the overall winner in 31:17, 21 seconds ahead of Connor Fisher of Chico State, who ran 31:38, the same time as teammates Eddie King and Teddy Kassa.

Western Washington was second with 76 points, as Andrew Wise led the charge for the Vikings in sixth in 31:43.

Seattle Pacific was sixth with 180 points, led by Ben Halladay in 25th at 32:35.

One place behind the Falcons was Central Washington with 182 points, led by Josh Boston in 41st in 33:13, while Saint Martin’s was 11th in the eleven-team field with 312 points. Josh Hunt was the Saints’ top runner in 89th place in 34:58.

All four of Washington’s Division II squads will return to East Lake Padden for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title clash on the 21st.


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

Friday, October 6, 2017

Vikings set to host Western Washington Classic Saturday at Lake Padden Park...

All four of Washington’s NCAA Division II cross country teams are competing at Saturday’s Western Washington Classic at Lake Padden Park in Bellingham.

The meet, consisting of a women’s 6k at 10 am and a men’s 10k at 11, will be contested on the same course that the GNAC championship meet will be held in two weeks, thus the fact that seven of the conference’s 11 schools will have teams racing.

In addition to being a preview of the conference course, the Western Washington Classic will also give the men the one shot to race over 10k before the championship, as its the only regular season meet offering the 10k distance.

Those wanting to watch the meet should have no difficulty finding Lake Padden Park. Head north up I-5 to Exit 246. Coming off the exit, turn left onto Samish Way, and follow it approximately 2.25 miles to the park's eastern entrance on the left (south) side of the road. The entry road comes to a 'Y'; keep to the right for the park. (The left half goes to the golf course).



NOTE:  The Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Western Washington University contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Renton HS & 2x US Olympian Patty vanWolvelaere newest member of USATF Hall of Fame...

Patty vanWolvelaere (second from the left) finished fourth
in the 80m hurdles final at the 1968 Olympics
(photos courtesy Crawford Family US Olympic Archives, USOC)
INDIANAPOLIS—Patty vanWolvelaere (Weirich), one of Washington state’s most decorated track and field athletes, and a two-time US Olympian, was selected as one of five men and women to the USA Track & Field National Hall of Fame, which will be inducted at the organization’s Black Tie & Sneakers Gala in New York on November 2nd.

vanWolvelaere joins modern athletes Leroy Burrell and Bryan Clay, fellow veteran athlete Lindy Remigino, and coach Bill Squires as members of the USATF Hall of Fame class of 2017.

She made her first Olympic team in 1968 shortly after graduating from Renton High School when she finished second in the US Olympic trials and advanced to the Olympics in Mexico City.  In the Mexico City Olympics, she finished fourth in the 80 meter hurdles.

Four years later in Munich, vanWolvelaere broke the 100m hurdles American record in 13.26 during the semifinals. She would set the AR in the 100m hurdles seven times in total, capped by her 13.14 in 1978.

In between those Olympic appearances, she sped to gold at the 1971 Pan American Games.

She won four U.S. outdoor titles in 1971, 73-74 and '77, and was also a six-time national indoor gold medalist in the 60y hurdles, including four in a row from 1971-74.

In college at USC, vanWolvelaere took back-to-back AIAW golds in the 100m hurdles in 1977-78 and represented the U.S. at the World University Games and '77 IAAF World Cup.

After retiring from competition, Patty served as a fire engineer at the San Diego Fire Department for 24 years and has coached at Ramona High School in California since 2013.



PAC-12 NETWORK TO TELEVISE THE PAC-12 CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS LIVE

Pac-12 Networks announced it will provide live coverage of the 2017 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships hosted by the University of Oregon on Friday, Oct. 27.  

The live broadcast will be the first ever for the championship event with the women’s 6k race commencing at 11 am, and the men’s 8k starting at noon from the Springfield Golf Club, with both races airing on Pac-12 Network as well as across all six Pac-12 regional channels.  The events will also be available to stream live for authenticated subscribers via the Pac-12 Now app and pac-12.com

Jim Watson, Dwight Stones, and Lewis Johnson will call the action at the conference championship meet.


NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the Pac-12 Conference contributed to this report.  Publisher Paul Merca is one of the media voters of the USATF National Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Significant shuffling in latest USTFCCCA Division I cross country poll...

NEW ORLEANS—The University of Washington women’s cross country team (above/photo by Paul Merca) remained ranked the number 11 squad in the country as the USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll was released Tuesday.

The national top five remained the same: number 1 Colorado, followed by Oregon, New Mexico, Michigan and Stanford.

The only other Pac-12 squad in the national top 30 is number 22 Utah.

On the men’s side, there were some significant shuffling in the rankings, the biggest of which was Washington State’s free fall from number 11 all the way down to 29 after finishing eleventh at the Piane Notre Dame Invitational last week.

Additionally, the University of Washington picked up some votes after a solid fourth place finish at the Bill Dellinger Invitational to almost crack the national top 30.

The nation’s top five teams are Northern Arizona, BYU, Syracuse, Stanford, and Arkansas.

Other Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 30 include #7 Colorado, #8 Oregon, and #20 UCLA.


Because of the light national schedule this weekend as teams prep for one of the two major meets next weekend—the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in Madison, and the Pre-Nationals in Louisville, the next rankings will be released on October 17th.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

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