LOUISVILLE, Colo. - The Washington State University men’s cross country team notched a sixth place finish and the women’s team placed 10th at the Pac-12 Championships at the Coal Creek Golf Course in Louisville, Colo.
For the fourth time this season, Andrew Gonzales highlighted the men’s race for the Cougars. The senior finished 15th overall in the 8,000m race with time of 25 minutes and 33 seconds. Following Gonzales were Todd Wakefield 19th (25:50), John Whelan 30th (26:01), Lee George 45th (26:23), Forrest Shaffer 47th (26:27), Jackson Haselnus 66th (27:32), and Conner Johnsen 70th (27:56). Oregon’s Edward Cheserek was the overall winner with a time of 24:36.
Gonzales said, “The goal for today’s race was top 15. I felt great running with some of the best runners in the country. I got into my rhythm quickly and was able to finish very well. The guys performed great today and I was proud on how we ran as a team.”
The Cougar men finished sixth overall with 151 points. Colorado took the win for the third straight year with 28 points. The rest of the field included Oregon (54), Stanford (79), Arizona State (140), Washington (142), UCLA (152), Arizona (194), and California (220).
Coach Tim Riley said, “Today was a very good day for the Cougs. On the men’s side we finally put together a solid team effort at the right time. Andrew Gonzales and Todd Wakefield executed the race plan perfectly. John Whelan had the race of the day for the Cougs and Lee George and Forrest Shaffer worked together throughout the race. To be 11 points out of fourth and to beat a very good UCLA team, I feel we are one step closer to the postseason.”
In the women’s 6,000m race, captain Ruby Roberts led the Cougars for the third time this fall and notched a 15th place finish overall in 22:09. Abby Regan was the second Cougar finisher and 50th overall (23:22). She was followed by CharLee Linton 55th (23:30), Courtney Zalud 81st (24:44), Kiah Condos 82nd (24:44), Steffie Pavey 94th (25:59), and Abby Knight 96th (26:19). Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe took the win in 21:04.
Roberts said, “Given the competition, altitude, and pressure of performing in the most competitive conference in Division I cross country, I was proud of how our women’s team competed and stayed poised throughout the race. We were one of the few teams that didn’t have anyone drop out of the race and I think that speaks for the toughness and dedication of this team. We still have some things to prove and this weekend is good motivation going into the regional meet in two weeks.”
Arizona was the overall team winner with 69 points. This was the first win at the Pac-12 Championships for the Arizona women. Finishing after Arizona were Colorado (75), Washington (111), Oregon (113), Stanford (129), Arizona State (138), UCLA (173), Utah (207), California (213), Washington State (260), Oregon State (269), and USC (346).
Coach Riley said, “Ruby Roberts had a great day finishing 15th. I was happy with the effort the Cougar women had today, but was disappointed on their execution of the race plan. To have an off day and beat an Oregon State team that beat us handily earlier in the year is another step in the right direction for this young women’s squad.”
The Cougars will next compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships Nov. 15 in Sacramento, Calif.