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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cross Country Finishes Solid Year, Looks to the Future
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 11/20/2008
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Nov. 20, 2008

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THE 2008 SEASON RECAP: The Washington State University men's and women's cross country teams were led during the 2008 season by only one senior on the men's side but several juniors on the women's team...lack of experience did not seem to cause a problem for the Cougars as each squad found its leader early on...senior Drew Polley led the way for the Cougar men finishing as the top Cougar runner in almost every race...junior Sara Trané led the way on the women's squad as she was consistently the top finisher for the women...WSU's women's team came on late in the season, thanks to strong individual performances, to finish a strong fifth at the Pacific-10 Championships...men's team ran solidly throughout the season and raced against some of the best teams in the country at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA West Regional...other notable contributors were junior Lisa Egami who ran well all season for the Cougars and had her best finish of the season at the Montana Cross Country Invite (fourth), and juniors Sam Ahlbeck and Mark Moeller, both were among the top scorers for the men.

BUILDING ON FOUNDATION OF SUCCESS: As the Cougars look forward to the 2009 season the teams will be full of seniors ready to lead the way...Coach Drake will only graduate senior captain Drew Polley from this year's squad...both squads return top runners next fall...Sara Trané returns after an 18th-place Pac-10 finish and 29th-place at the NCAA West Regional...Lisa Egami's return will add to the depth of the team as she has proven that she can compete at a high level for WSU...other women's team returnees include juniors Marisa Sandoval and Chelsea VanDeBrake, sophomores Amanda Andrews, Stephanie Sipes, and Ashlee Wall, and freshmen Sarah Dunn, Emily Farrar, Michelly Foley, and Mietra Smollack...junior Sam Ahlbeck had his best finish of the season at Roy Griak Invitational and at the Pacific-10 Championships where he finished in 37th place at both events...juniors Mark Moeller and Dominic Smargrassi also ran well all season for the Cougars and will be looked to next season to help lead the way...men's team also returns a strong core in juniors Dan Geib and Luke Lemenager, redshirt freshmen David Hickerson, Peter Miller and Jeremy Swenson, and freshmen Justin Englund and Jono Lafler...gathering collegiate training experience this year were redshirting freshman Matt Cronrath, Drake da Ponte, Chris Goodman, Steven Hicks, Danny Lindstrom, Daniel Renz, Jason Stoker, Jayson Taylor and Cody VanDeBrake...younger runners gained experience and posted finishes that show promise for the 2009 cross country squads.

WSU WOMEN: The Cougars received strong performances from three women throughout the season...juniors Sara Trané, Lisa Egami, and Chelsea VanDeBrake had strong showings throughout the season...WSU finished fifth at the Pac-10 Championships behind four teams ranked in the top-25 in the country...Trané finished 18th to lead WSU...WSU also marked a 10th-place finish at the NCAA West Regional.

Amanda Andrews (So., Gig Harbor, Wash.) Participated in six races as a sophomore...top finishes include fifth at the Montana Invitational, seventh at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and 51st at the Pac-10 Championships....105th (fourth on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Sarah Dunn (Fr., Arlington, Wash.) Competed in four races for the Cougars during the 2008 season...finished 17th at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...37th at the Sundodger Invitational and 19th at the Montana Invitational.

Lisa Egami (Jr., Coquitlam, British Columbia) Ran in six meets for the Cougars...consistently was a top-five finisher for the Cougars...finished seventh at the Sundodger Invitational and 29th at the Pac-10 Championships...43rd overall, second on team at NCAA West Regional.

Emily Farrar (Fr., Bainbridge, Wash.) Competed in six races during the 2008 campaign...tops finishes were ninth at the Montana Invitational, 10th at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...49th at the Sundodger Invitational and 67th at the Pac-10 Championships...125th (seventh on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Michelly Foley (Fr., Prineville, Ore.) Participated in six races for WSU...finished fourth at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, 49th at the Sundodger Invitational, third at the Montana Invitational and 38th at the Pac-10 Championships, third-best on team...50th (third on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Marisa Sandoval (RS-Jr., Los Alamos, New Mexico) Ran in five meets for WSU...best finish was 8th at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...82nd at Pac-10 Championships...101st at NCAA West Regional.

Stephanie Sipes (RS-Fr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) Competed in three races during the Cougars 2008 season...top finishes include 12th at the Clash of the Inland Northwest 56th at the Sundodger Invitational.

Mietra Smollack (Fr., Oak Harbor, Wash.) Ran in six races during her freshman year...top finishes include 44th at the Sundodger Invitational and 53rd at the Pac-10 Championships, sixth on the team....115th (sixth on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Sara Trané (Jr.., Pixbo, Sweden) Was WSU's top finisher in every race except for one...best performances include fifth at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, 1st at the Montana Invitational, 47th at Pre-Nationals, 18th at Pac-10 Championships, first on the team...placed 29th at the NCAA West Regionals, which was best on the team.

Chelsea VanDeBrake (Jr., Yakima, Wash.) Competed in six races, including Pre-Nationals, the Pac-10 Championships, Clash of the Inland Northwest, Sundodger Invitational, the Montana Invitational and the NCAA West Regional...finished third at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and 52nd at the Pac-10 Championships...injured and did not run at NCAA West Regional.

Ashlee Wall (So., Walla Walla, Wash.) Participated in four races for the Cougars in her second season in crimson and gray...best finishes include 16th at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, 64th at the Sundodger Invitational.

DRAKE'S TAKE ON THE COUGAR WOMEN: "The season was bittersweet because at the beginning I didn't know what to expect," WSU Head Coach Jason Drake said. "If you told me it was going to go that way in July, I would have been very excited and I think the team would have been excited. As we started to have some success our goals started to change to maybe moving on the NCAA's, but at the end of the season, when that didn't happen, we were a little disappointed. Overall, if you look back at the body of work it was a good season. After losing four of our top-five runners from last season, we did great and to be able to match a fifth-place in the Pac-10 again. To beat some teams in this tough Pac-10 Conference and the tough region we are in, was good to see from the women."

DRAKE'S TAKE ON THE WOMEN NEXT SEASON: "With pretty much everyone returning next season is exciting because we are going to have some pretty good experience," Coach Drake said. "To have three freshmen on the team this year compete at the end of the year at the regionals will be critical a couple years from now. Last year the women lost four runners and this year we are only losing one, so that is a good place to be."

WSU MEN: The men's team was led by the strong finishes of senior Drew Polley throughout the fall...juniors Sam Ahlbeck and Mark Moeller were also major contributors for the Cougar runners...WSU finished sixth at the Pac-10 Championships and ninth at the NCAA West Regional.

Sam Ahlbeck (RS-Jr., Renton, Wash.) finished 10th overall at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...also racked up 37th overall at the Roy Griak Invitational, 66th at Pre-Nationals, 37th at Pac-10 Championships and 56th (third on team) at the NCAA West Regional.

Evan Blanshan (Sr., Selah, Wash.) Competed in three races during the fall season...races included the Clash of the Inland Northwest, Roy Griak Invitational...76th at Pac-10 Championships.

Matt Cronrath (Fr., Odessa, Wash.) Redshirt season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, Sundodger and the Cascade Conference Preview.

Drake da Ponte (Fr., Snoqualmie, Wash.) Redshirt Season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and the Sundodger.

Justin Englund (Fr., Federal Way, Wash.) Competed in five races for WSU...best finish was fifth at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...50th (fifth on team) at Pac-10 Championships...72nd (fourth on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Dan Geib (So., Reno, Nev.) Expected to help propel the team back to the national meet...missed season due to an injury.

Chris Goodman (Fr., Snohomish, Wash.) Redshirt season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, Sundodger and the Cascade Conference Preview.

David Hickerson (RS-Fr., Spokane, Wash.) Ran in six races for the Cougars...competed in four and ran two races unattached...best finish was second place at the Cascade Conference Preview...52nd (fifth on team) at the Pac-10 Championships...75th (fifth on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Steve Hicks (Fr., Spokane, Wash.) Redshirt Season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and the Cascade Conference Preview.

Jono Lafler (Fr., Maple Valley, Wash.) Ran in five races for WSU competing in four and running unattached in one...while running unattached finished third at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...finished 53rd (seventh on team) at the Pac-10 Championships...126th at NCAA West Regional.

Luke Lemenager (RS-Fr., Maple Valley, Wash.) Ran in four races during his sophomore season...best finish was top finishes include 31st at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and seventh at the Cascade Conference Preview...72nd at Pac-10 Championships.

Danny Lindstrom (Fr., Anacortes, Wash.) Redshirt season ran unattached at the Cascade Conference Preview and the Sundodger Invitational.

Peter Miller (Fr., Spokane, Wash.) Competed in three races during his sophomore season for the Cougars...best finish was 21st at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...67th at Pac-10 Championships.

Mark Moeller (Jr., Spokane, Wash.) Transferred from Spokane CC...one of WSU top finishers all season long...placed eighth at the Sundodger Invitational, 53rd at the Roy Griak...finished 25th (second on team) at Pac-10 Championships...48th (second on team) at the NCAA West Regional.

Drew Polley (Jr., Port Orchard, Wash.) Consistently a scoring runner for WSU...best finish of the season was sixth overall at the Clash of the Inland Northwest...other top performances include 15th at the Griak Invite, 37th at the Pre-Nationals...18th (top on team) at Pac-10 Championships...finished disappointing 47th (top on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Daniel Renz (Fr., Spokane, Wash.) Redshirt season...ran at the Sundodger Invitational.

Dominic Smargiassi (RS-Jr., Auburn, Wash.) Competed in four races for the Cougars...races included Clash of the Inland Northwest, Roy Griak Invitational, Pre-Nationals... 39th (fourth on team) at Pac-10 Championships...finished 83 (sixth on team) at NCAA West Regional.

Jason Stoker (Fr., Liberty Lake, Wash.) Redshirt season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and the Cascade Conference Preview.

Jeremy Swenson (So., Shoreline, Wash.) Competed in two races for the Cougars...finished 16th at the Cascade Conference Preview and 30th at the Clash of the Inland Northwest.

Jayson Taylor (Fr., Liberty Lake, Wash.) Redshirt season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, Sundodger Invitational and the Cascade Conference Preview.

Cody VanDeBrake (Fr., Yakima, Wash.) Redshirt season...ran unattached at the Clash of the Inland Northwest and Sundodger Invitational.

DRAKE'S TAKE ON THE COUGAR MEN: "Overall we are a little disappointed," Coach Drake said. "Losing Dan Geib early in the year hurt us (because) he was one of our top runners. Sam Ahlbeck had a good year and the addition of Mark Moeller was nice because he really filled some gaps. When we were at regionals and only three of our seven guys have ever been there before makes it tough. But, in the long run, that is good because they have the experience now that we are going to need a year from now. Since we only lose Drew Polley off of this team and then we get Dan Geib back, we are still going to be just as strong."

DRAKE'S TAKE ON THE MEN NEXT SEASON: "We are not really a team that has a front runner," Coach Drake said. "What we have to do is get a bunch of guys in the 15 to 30 (finish) range and with Ahlbeck, Smargiassi and Moeller coming back next season as seniors and with David Hickerson, Jono Lafler, Justin Englund and of course junior Dan Geib coming back, we have a strong core to build from."

Washington State Cougars Athletics
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