Friday, September 30, 2011

Jono Lafler's 11th place finish leads Washington State to fifth overall at adidas Notre Dame Invite...

SOUTH BEND, Indiana--Jono Lafler's (left/photo by Paul Merca) 11th place finish in the invitational Blue race at the adidas Notre Dame Invitational led the Washington State Cougars to a surprising fifth place finish Friday afternoon at the Notre Dame Golf Course.

Lafler covered the 5-mile course in a time of 24:20.

The WSU men's team finished in front of four nationally-ranked teams in this prestigious race in Indiana: No. 20 New Mexico, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 26 Ohio State, and No. 27 Eastern Kentucky. All four teams that finished ahead of the Washington State men in the Invitational were nationally ranked in the top 15 in Week 3. The Cougars' finish Friday will be a solid campaign for a national ranking in next week's USTFCCCA poll.

"For the men, big breakthrough, it was a huge day for the Cougs obviously beating a lot of ranked teams," Cougar Head Coach Pete Julian said. "It was a massive breakthrough for Jono Lafler. It was exciting to see him racing with the lead pack with a mile to go. We struggled a little today on the fifth man but we have depth there and some good guys who will come around. We left the meet on the men's side thinking we could have run better and maybe that's getting greedy. But fifth place in a stacked race like this and beating a lot of nationally-ranked teams is good for the guys and I'm really pleased for them."

Andrew Kimpel was next across the finish line for the Cougs in 30th place with a time of 24:47, and was followed closely by teammates Andrew Gonzales (34th) and Justin Englund (37th) with Todd Wakefield (96th) rounding out the scoring Cougars.

BYU's Miles Batty won the men's Blue race individual title in a time of 23:59, leading the BYU Cougars to the team title with 46 points.

In contrast to the men's outstanding run, Julian was disappointed in the performance of his women's squad, which placed 17th out of 28 teams with 420 points.

Once again, the first to finish for the Cougar women was sophomore Ruby Roberts Roberts finished 38th the 5,000m race in a time of 17: 42. The other Cougar women across the line were: Caroline Austin (54th), Sarah Bobbe (105th), Katie Fleischer (106th), and Courtney Zalud (124th).

Silje Fjortoft, a senior from Southern Methodist University, took first place overall in the women's 5,000m race (16:54). No. 7 Florida State won the women's team title with 54 points.

"It was a real disappointing day for the Cougar women," Julian said. "As fired up as we were about the men's performance we are as disappointed in the women and they are disappointed in themselves. We went right to the back right at the beginning and that is not what we practiced, not what we train and not what we talk about."

The men's results of the adidas Notre Dame Invitational are available here, while the complete women's results are available here.

In Missoula, Montana, the Gonzaga women's cross country team placed third in the Montana Invitational, led by Lindsey Drake's second place finish.

Drake, second last week at the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational to help the Bulldog women to second place, led six Gonzaga women in the top 20 Friday as the Bulldogs captured third with 56 points, behind Montana State's 36, and Montana's 47, with Eastern Washington fourth at 103.

Drake lost to MSU's Heather Haug over the 5k course by a mere three seconds, Haug claiming her first collegiate victory in 17:46 while Drake came across in 17:49 for the 5K course. Following Drake across the line for the Bulldogs were Maggie Jones in 18:53 for 13th place overall, Catherine Theobald in 14th in 18:54, Krista Beyer in 16th in 18:59 and Elizabeth Ryan in 19th in 19:18 to round out the Gonzaga scorers. Emily Albrecht was 20th in 19:31.

Eastern was led by Tonya Turner's 6th place finish in 18:18. She was followed by Katie Mahoney (23rd, 19:42), then Stephanie Dye (26th, 19:48), Angelica Rodriguez (34th,19:56), and Kimberly Macias (36th, 20:07).

In the men's 8k race, the Zags finished second behind Montana State 36-49, with Eastern Washington fourth with 90 points.

Montana's Lynn Reynolds took the victory in 24:44.

Tate Kelly, who missed the first two weeks with a quad strain, was seventh overall in 25:39 to pace the Zags. A pack of Bulldogs finished 10-12 and 14-16. Brent Felnagle returned finished 10th in 25:54, Willie Milam was 11th in 25:58 and Andrew Walker, competing for the first time this year after coming off an injury, was 12th in 25:59. Patrick Richie was 14th in 26:05, Robert Walgren 15th in 26:06 and Nick Roche 16th in 26:07.

For Eastern Washington, seniors Graham Vaux and Bowe Ebding placed fifth (25:35) and eighth (25:480, respectively. Sophomore Simon Sorenson finished 13th overall (26:03).

After those top three, freshmen Quin Olivas and Nathan Fall placed 40th and 51st, respectively, in 27:45 and 28:38.

The complete men's results from the Montana Invitational are available here, while the women's results are available here.

Washington State, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington will face each other at the Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic Saturday on October 15th in Spokane, hosted by Spokane CC.

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

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