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Washington State Cross Country


Cougar Cross Country Runners Host Only Home Meet This Fall

September 29, 1998

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State's cross country runners make their only home appearance of the season as the Cougars host the WSU Cross Country Invitational Saturday, Oct. 3.

The meet, held at the hilly WSU Golf Course, begins at 10 a.m. PDT with the women's 5,000 meters race followed by the men's 8,000 meters at 10:45 a.m. PDT. Admission to both races is free to the general public.

A total of six men's squads and five women's teams are expected, including host WSU (M/W), Eastern Washington (M/W), Gonzaga (M/W), Idaho (M/W), Santa Clara (M only) and Whitworth (M/W).

This looks to be the only opportunity for local fans to catch a glimpse of Cougar junior Bernard Lagat (Nandi, Kenya). The defending Pacific-10 champion made his 1998 debut last week in Missoula, Mont. and handily won the Mountain West Classic by 11 seconds over Cleophas Boor, an unattached runner.

"We're planning to race Bernard because it will be good for people at home to watch him run," said Cougar head coach Dr. James Li. "He was great at Missoula and won fairly easy against some of the top collegiate runners. It just confirms the hype around the nation that Bernard is the favorite to win the NCAA title."

Lagat defeated Michigan's John Mortimer, the next best collegiate runner, by a full 16 seconds. Mortimer won the Classic a year ago and beat Lagat by 21 seconds. The Cougar All-America also knocked off Adbi Adbirahman of Arizona, the defending Pac-10 5,000 and 10,000 champion in track, by 20 seconds.

The men finished sixth at Missoula despite running times nearly identical to 1997 when the Cougars were third. The big individual improvement came from senior Chris Charles (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge) who ran 42 seconds faster on the same course.

"I thought the men ran well," said Li. "We have to respond to the challenges."

The women were without their only two seniors, Joanne Hunsinger (Fairfax.Va./Chantilly) and Kimberly Schmolka (Port Orchard, Wash./South Kitsap). Hunsinger has a hip flexor problem while Schmolka's injury has not been officially determined. Both runners are listed as questionable for Saturday.

That would force the Cougars to continue their youth movement. WSU raced three sophomores and four freshmen during the Classic last Saturday, which saw the Cougars finish seventh overall.

Sophomore Megan Maynard (Langley, Wash./South Whidbey) has been the top runner for WSU's women so far this year. Maynard was the ninth college finisher at the Classic and improved her overall time by more than one minute. "Megan continues to make significant improvements," said Li. "She is running with the faster runners in every meet."

Please use the following information to prepare for the WSU Cross Country Invitational.

Name of Meet:  WSU Cross Country Invitational
Host:  Washington State University
Day/Date:  Saturday, October 3, 1998
Site:  WSU Golf Course (Pullman, Wash.)
Course Description:  A hilly, challenging course - 2/3 grass, 1/3
gravel/dirt (cart path)
Races:  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
Participating Squads:  six men's squads, five women's squads - Eastern
Washington (M/W), Gonzaga (M/W), Idaho (M/W), Santa Clara (M only),
Washington State (M/W), Whitworth (M/W)
Altitude:  2,350 feet

Washington State University Cross Country

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