Saturday, November 18, 2017

Neale roars to second place finish at NCAA cross country championships...

LOUiSVILLE, Kentucky—Under grey yet ideal conditions for running, Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca) roared over the last 2 kilometers to finish second at the NCAA cross country championships at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

Neale got off to a good start in the 6k race, and was with the main group of runners, as eventual winner Ednah Kurgat of New Mexico bolted to the front and never looked back, winning in a time of 19:20, seven seconds ahead of Neale.

The senior from Snohomish flipped the script on San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor and Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, the top two finishers at last week’s NCAA West regionals in Seattle, with Neale, who was third at regionals, moving ahead of both Taylor (19:29) and Ostrander (19:32).

Washington State’s Vallery Korir also earned All-American (top 40) honors with her 33rd place finish, crossing the line in 20:08.

”The first kilometer I wasn't sure how the race was going to go but as we progressed I started to feel stronger and started moving up," Korir said. "What helped me most was running along girls that I competed with at Pac-12s and Regionals so I knew I should be with them. I am so happy with my race today, I have never been so proud of myself!"

WSU coach Wayne Phipps said, "She ran very intelligently and moved up very well in the last half of the race. Her improvement over this season has been incredible and she now has the confidence to compete with the very best in the nation."

The #22 ranked Huskies finished 21st with a team score of 513 points.  Scoring for the Dawgs after Neale were Izzi Batt-Doyle in 130th (20:58), Anna Maxwell in 148th (21:05), Emily Hamlin in 155th (21:08), and Allie Schadler in 209th (21:43).

New Mexico won the national title with a low score of 90 points, led by Kurgat.  Former Husky Charlotte Prouse was the Lobos’ second runner in 12th place, finishing in 19:49.

Another former Husky, Baylor’s Lindsey Bradley, finished 47th in 20:20.

In the men’s 10k, Portland’s Nick Hauger, a graduate of Spokane’s Shadle Park was the top finisher from the state, placing 26th in a time of 29:47.

Edmonds native Miler Haller, competing for Boise State, finished 36th in a time of 29:59, while another Spokane native, Oregon’s Tanner Anderson, missed the All-American status by one place, finishing 41st in 30:02.

It was a rough day for both Washington and Washington State, both of whom had high aspirations entering the championships.

The Huskies finished 22nd with 488 points, while the Cougars were 24th with 539 points.

Leading the way for Washington was Andrew Gardner in 66th (30:24), followed by Colby Gilbert in 106th (30:48).

Other scorers for the Huskies were Andy Snyder in 118th (30:54), Mahmoud Moussa in 143rd (31:05), and Talon Hull in 144th (31:06).

Washington State was led by Chandler Teigen in 63rd (30:21), and Michael Williams in 70th (30:27).

The Cougars’ other scorers were Nathan Wadhwani in 94th (30:38), Matthew Watkins in 201st (31:39), and Justin Janke in 206th (31:43).

Justyn Knight of Syracuse closed hard over the last 800 meters to win the national title in 29:01.

Northern Arizona successfully defended its national title, bolstered by a 2-3 finish by Matthew Baxter (29:01) and Tyler Day (29:05) with a low score of 74 points.

The University of Portland, with Washington natives Hauger in 26th and Logan Orndorf in 64th (30:21) finished second with 127 points.


NOTE:  The NCAA, University of Louisville, University of Washington and Washington State University contributed to this report.

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