Oct. 26, 2011
The Washington State men's and women's cross country teams will head to Litchfield Park, Arizona, to compete in the Pac-12 Conference Championships...men's 8,000m race and women's 6,000m race are to be held at Wigwam Golf Course in Litchfield Park...No. 22 Cougar men go into the conference championships ranked third in the West region behind only one team from the Pac-12, Stanford...results will be available on the official WSU Athletic website, wsucougars.com, when available post-race...live stats will be available on the Pac-12 website at http://pac-12.org/SPORTS/CrossCountry/Championships.aspx, during the race.
LEADING THE WAY
Cougar cross country head coach Pete Julian is in his third year coaching at WSU...he came to WSU after a highly successful career as the cross country head coach for four seasons, as well as the track and field head coach for three at Metropolitan State College of Denver...Julian is dedicated to recruiting talented young runners and developing training routines that lead each student-athlete to their highest potential...Tim Riley is the progam's volunteer assistant coach for the third year.
RACING THIS SATURDAY
Coach Julian notes that sickness has plagued athletes on both the men's and women's teams for Washington State...does not anticipate that this will keep any of the athletes from competing in Arizona Saturday.
"I don't mean to be coy or vague, but I think everyone looks good. We had a really good practice this morning. We will run well, no question about that."
COACH JULIAN'S EXPECTATIONS FOR SATURDAY'S RACE
"We think that we have a good chance at beating a handful of teams down there (on the women's side). The conference is incredibly tough. I think there are probably six teams ranked in the top 15 in the country - maybe top 12. We are not quite there yet. But then there is that second half of the conference that I think we can do pretty well against, and that's our objective this weekend. We are probably a year away from, I believe, cracking into that top 20, but we can certainly make some in-roads towards those things this year.
"The men - it is kind of peculiar. I think Colorado and Stanford are certainly the class of the field. They are both very strong programs - top five programs in the country. After that, there is ourselves, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State. We could run really quite well and have a great meet, maybe be a few points behind third and end up sixth. It is that condensed in there, and I think the national rankings reflect that too. I think we are all in there between 18th and 23rd nationally ranked. It is a really strong conference. There will be a great team that finishes fifth or sixth at that meet.
"Our guys understand. We have raced these teams before. We know that the margin of error is plus or minus one - it is going to be right down to the bitter end. But these guys are mature. It isn't there first rodeo. They are looking forward to it, which is maybe a change from years past."