Friday, September 15, 2017

THE WEEKEND AHEAD: Sundodger and Gonzaga/Idaho dual top cross country calendar...

The collegiate cross country season roars into full swing Saturday as four of the state’s Division 1 schools and three of Washington’s Division II institutions are in action Saturday.

In Seattle, the University of Washington hosts the annual Sundodger Invitational cross country meet at Lincoln Park in West Seattle, beginning at 9 am with the women’s open 6k race at 9 am, and races throughout the morning and early afternoon.

The two open women’s and men’s races (men race 8k) have the biggest fields, with the likes of Division II Seattle Pacific, Western Washington and Central Washington. 

Those three schools will get their first test of how they fare against other teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, led by nationally ranked Simon Fraser, plus Alaska Fairbanks, Concordia, and Northwest Nazarene.

Throw in the mix Canada West men’s and women’s champs Trinity Western, and NAIA powerhouse Southern Oregon, and the two early races could have potential national implications for those teams.

The women’s invitational race at 11 am features host Washington going up against a field that includes Eastern Washington, Oregon State, Hawaii, Santa Clara, Portland State, SeattleU, Nevada, and Creighton.  The Huskies will be at full strength for this race on paper, led by reigning Pac-12 and NCAA west regional champ Amy-Eloise Neale (above/photo by Paul Merca).

Most of their freshman class will race unattached, led by Canadian and world U20 cross country chanpionhips competitor Shona McCullough.  Arizona prep standout Allie Schadler will run in uniform for the Dawgs.

In contrast, the men’s invitational race at 11:35 am only has four teams—host Washington , Eastern Washington, Portland State, and Seattle University.

The Huskies are holding out three of their top runners—Colby Gilbert, Fred Huxham, and Andrew Gardner, along with redshirt freshman Gavin Parpart, who ran for Team USATF at the IAAF World U20 Cross Country championships in Uganda last spring.  Johnathan Stevens and Mahmoud Moussa will lead he charge for the Huskies Saturday.

There are also two high school races on the docket, with the girls’ 5k going at 10:25 am, and the boys’ 5k closing out the Sundodger at 12:20 pm (the varsity and JV races are consolidated).

In Spokane, Gonzaga hosts the University of Idaho in a dual meet on the athletic fields at Mead High School.beginning at 10 am with the women’s race, and the men following at 10:30 am.

The women’s race will be contested over 5k, while the men will run 8k.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and Gonzaga University contributed to this report.

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