SEATTLE -- Todd Wakefield earned an at-large berth to the NCAA DI Cross Country Championships after he and Ruby Roberts were the top finishers for the Washington State cross country teams Friday afternoon under cold but sunny skies at the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships held at the Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle.
Wakefield, a sophomore middle distance specialist from Australia, placed 14th overall after running the 10,000 meters course in a time of 30 minutes, 1 second. He was one of four individuals selected from the regional for an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships, Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. Last year Wakefield took 39th at the West Regional as the WSU men finished fourth as a team. He was the final scorer at 151st for the Cougar men's team that finished 21st at the 2011 NCAA Championships. The 2012 at-large selections were announced by the NCAA late Friday evening.
"It was nice to have a good race today," Wakefield said. "The team raced really well but unfortunately injuries played more of a part in our results than we were hoping. Everyone gave it their all today; we left it all out on the course. We executed our race plan very well, the West Region just happens to be the deepest in the NCAA."
Drew Jordan finished 36th (30:27) with Andrew Gonzales 37th (30:27) and Lee George 39th (30:27). Andrew Kimpel, coming off a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Pac-12 Championships, finished a disappointing 98th (31:25) to round out the Cougar scoring. Forrest Shaffer (102nd - 31:34) and Richard Shroy (143rd - 32:33) rounded out the WSU competitors.
Arizona's Lawi Lalang (29:02) and Stephen Sambu (29:38) finished one-two in the men's race with Stanford winning the team title with 45 points. Portland was second with 107 points followed by UCLA (128), Oregon (135) and Washington (165). The WSU men finished seventh with 223 points.
Roberts (junior, Kingston, Wash.) finished 50th running the women's 6k course in 20:57 and Caroline Austin (senior, Chehalis, Wash.) was 53rd in a time of 21:03. Other Cougar women and their finishes Friday included Courtney Zalud (125th - 21:59), Emily Dwyer (150th - 22:21), Kiah Condos (167th - 22:43), Abby Knight (171st - 22:51), and CharLee Linton (185th - 23:26).
Oregon's Jordan Hasay won the individual title in a time of 19:16 and led the Ducks to the team title with 64 points. Stanford and Arizona tied for second place with 85 points with Washington (96) and San Francisco (151) rounding out the top five. The Cougar women's team finished 19th among the 28 women's teams.
"I am very proud of how our men and women raced today," Cougar Coach Tim Riley said. "To get out of this region and make it to nationals we knew everyone had to have their best race of the season. On the men's side, we had four guys that did just that today but we came up just short of our team goal. On the women's side, the experience of Ruby, Caroline and Courtney really showed today and it will be nice to have more of that experience next year."