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Washington State Cross Country


Returning Cougar Runners Get Their Shot At Idaho Invitational

September 8, 1998

PULLMAN, Wash. - Most of the returning members from last year's Washington State cross country squads will get their first racing opportunity of the fall Friday, Sept. 11 during the Idaho Invitational.

Competition begins at 5:15 p.m. with the women's 2.5-mile race followed by the men's 4-mile race at 6 p.m. Both races will be held at the U of I golf course. The Cougars will join teams from Boise State, Eastern Washington and host Idaho.

"We'll swing the other way around this week by racing the returnees and resting the freshmen," said Cougar head coach Dr. James Li. "Again, this early in the season, I want to give people some work and evaluate. The competition will be better this week."

Li hopes the returning Cougars can enjoy the same success posted by the freshmen at last week's Spokane Harrier Classic at Whitworth College. WSU garnered both team titles and freshman Oscar Franco-Parra (Portland, Ore./Sunset) posted a 17-second victory in the men's 6,000-meter race with a time of 21-minutes, 21 seconds. And April Gagner (Yelm, Wash./Yelm) finished as runner-up in the women's 4,000-meter race that had the Cougars' five scorers, all frosh, within 40 seconds of each other.

This week WSU's men will compete with a pair of brother combinations, Jon and Justin Murray (Stanwood, Wash./Lakewood) and Eric and Simon Kamau (Nairobi, Kenya). Jon, Eric and Chris Charles (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge) are three returning seniors who each were top seven runners for the Cougars last fall. "All of our guys have looked good in training and most look stronger than last season," said Li. "The Murray brothers will be our sensations this year."

Kimberly Schmolka (Port Orchard, Wash./South Kitsap) will be the lone senior competing for the Cougar women at Idaho. Schmolka, along with sophomores Megan Maynard (Langley, Wash./South Whidbey) and Crystal Malgesini (Snohomish, Wash./Snohomish) will look to build on the momentum of successful track seasons.

The Cougars will be without two key performers, namely junior Bernard Lagat and senior Joanne Hunsinger. Lagat, last year's Pacific-10 champion, had an extensive summer of track competition. He will likely make his first appearance at the Mountain West Classic Sept. 26. Hunsinger has recovered from a slight stress fracture (foot) and will need other week of training according to Li.

Washington State University Cross Country

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