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Washington State Cross Country


Big Cross Invitational Should Provide Cougar Runners With First Big Test

September 15, 1998

PULLMAN, Wash. - This week the Washington State University men's and women's cross country runners prepare for their first big test of the fall, the Big Cross Invitational held Saturday, Sept. 19 at Pasco, Wash.

The women's 5,000-meter race starts at 10 a.m. PDT with the men's 8,000-meter race to follow at 10:45 a.m. PDT. Both races will be held at the Tri-Cities International Cross Country Course.

The sixth annual Big Cross promises to be the most competitive yet. The Cougar men will be joined by Oregon and Oklahoma State, which finished eighth and 14th respectively at the 1997 NCAA meet. Washington will also be in the mix with Idaho and Gonzaga. WSU's women can expect the Ducks (last year's Big Cross team champ), the Huskies and Portland State along with the Vandals and Bulldogs.

"It will definitely be a big meet," said Cougar head coach Dr. James Li. "It's still early season so it's not figured into the NCAA selection formula, but the level of competition will be the best we've had to date."

Senior Joanne Hunsinger (Fairfax, Va./Chantilly) is expected to make her first appearance for the Cougar women this fall, but junior Bernard Lagat (Nandi, Kenya/Kaptel) will stay on the shelf for another week until the Mountain West Classic Sept. 26.

"For the most part we will be running our full teams," Li said. "I don't think anyone has any doubts about what Bernard can do. This will be a great opportunity for everyone else to put together a good team performance. This meet is the first step towards the big meets later this season."

Last week the Cougars put together a strong showing at the Idaho Invitational. Sophomore Megan Maynard (Langley, Wash./South Whidbey) and senior Kimberly Schmolka (Port Orchard, Wash./South Kitsap) finished second and third respectively in the women's 4,000 meters. The men were paced by the Murray brothers, sophomore Justin and senior Jon (Stanwood, Wash./Lakewood), who respectively crossed third and fourth after 6,000 meters.

Justin Murray improved his time by 58 seconds from a year ago at Idaho, while senior Chris Charles (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge) ran 45 seconds faster from 1997.

Washington State University Cross Country

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