Friday, November 17, 2017

Teams check out NCAA championship course Friday; start time for Saturday's races changed...

Washington State head coach Wayne Phipps makes a point to
members of the Cougar cross country team Friday at
E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park (Paul Merca photo)
LOUiSVILLE, Kentucky—On a cool and crisp early afternoon, both Washington and Washington State took their final runs on the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park cross country course Friday in preparation for Saturday’s NCAA cross country championship meet.

The course appeared to be in good shape overall, though there were small concerns about some wet spots and mud holes that meet management staked off so runners wouldn’t go over them during the course preview, but overall, nothing major that would cause a great deal of apprehension for the teams and athletes competing tomorrow.

It was a sunny day here in Louisville, despite it being in the high 30s to mid-40s, though there is expected to be some rain and high winds, along with possible lightning after midnight.  The  concern about lightning during the race was enough for organizers to change the start times of the meet.

At the coaches’ technical meeting (4:00 pm local time), the start times for Saturday’s races were changed:  The women’s 6k gets going at 9 am local time/6 am pacific, and the men’s 10k will start at 10 am/7 am pacific.

Besides both University of Washington squads, the Washington State men’s team, and WSU’s Vallery Korir, who qualified for the championships last week in Seattle, there are also athletes with Washington ties competing, including Wisconsin’s Joe Hardy (Seattle Prep), Portland’s Logan Orndorf (Cedarcrest) and Nick Hauger (Shadle Park), Boise State’s Miler Haller (Edmonds/Woodway), and Oregon’s Tanner Anderson (North Central).

Colorado’s John Dressel (Mt. Spokane) and Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin (Gig Harbor), both of whom were All-Americans (top 40) at last year’s meet, are being redshirted this season.

Former Huskies Charlotte Prouse (New Mexico) and Lindsey Bradley (Baylor) are also competing, with Prouse a key component of New Mexico's hope of winning a national title.

The Husky women are making their 11th consecutive appearance at this meet and 21st over a 23-year period.  

Washington State’s men’s squad is making their third straight NCAA championship appearance as a team, while Vallery Korir becomes the first WSU runner to qualify for this meet since 2009 when Lisa Egami did so.

The Husky men, who finished a surprising second at the NCAA regional meet in Seattle last week, are back in the championships after missing out last year.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf told paulmerca.blogspot.com before the coaches’ technical meeting this afternoon that redshirt freshman Gavin Parpart will run instead of Johnathan Stevens Saturday.  Earlier in the week, the school announced that Kiera Marshall will take the place of Kaitlyn Neal, who was injured after falling in the first 100 meters of the regional championships.                          

Washington’s pre-meet release is available here, while Washington State’s release is available here.

Media partner Flotrack ($) will offer streaming coverage of the championships.

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

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