Oct. 18, 2007
Well another race down and now we move onto the championship portion of our season. The team remains very upbeat and excited entering the Pac-10 Championship training cycle. We had an okay day out at the Pre-Nationals last weekend.
The men, as a group, ran pretty well. We averaged about 30 seconds faster than a year ago as a team, and our 3 to 6 runners really stepped back up and closed the gap on our leader Andrew Jones. I was thrilled with the performances of Drew Polley, Dan Geib, and Dominic Smargiassi. They are developing into excellent athletes and the future looks good having them around for a couple of more years. Chris Williams, like always, had a solid day (he seems to be the constant this season). Alex Grant was really our only guy with an "off" day, and it was still the fastest he has ever run on the Pre-Nats course. I think that Andrew got caught up in the fast start (coming through the mile in about 4:36), and that cost him some places, but again, like Alex, he ran his fastest time on the course by about 37 seconds.
The women were a mixed bag. Sara Trané continues to improve with every race. I was excited to see her up towards the front of the race. Isley Gonzalez gets the "Coug of the Day" in my book. She ran her best race in a WSU uniform and I am excited to see where she goes next. Ashlee Wall ran a nice race for a freshman in spite of having to stop and put her shoe back on. This is good for our future. The other members of the team were a little off but training has been going great this week, and I look for some nice improvement at the Pac-10 Championships.
So, we continue to train hard this week, and then shut it down for the Pac-10 race in Corvallis next weekend. I am more excited and optimistic than I ever have been. I feel both our men and women are having the best year I have seen in my time at WSU and it is still realistic to advance on to the NCAA Championships in November.
On the women's side, the top 4 teams in the conference are ranked in the top 10 in the country. I'm not sure we can catch them but I think we can really close the gap. Hopefully, with a little rest next week, everyone will be fresh and ready to roll.
Like the women, on the men's side, the top 6 teams in the conference are ranked and the Cougs and the Huskies are sitting just out of the polls. There are so many great teams in the Pac-10 that I really believe it just depends how people compete on the day. I still believe we can beat a few of these teams and set ourselves up for another run at the NCAA Championships.
Until next time, Go Cougs!