LEWISTON, Idaho – The Washington State men’s cross country team was the overall Division I winner and the women’s team finished second overall in Division I at the Inland Empire Classic at the Lewis-Clark State College Cross Country Course in Lewiston, Idaho.
Senior Andrew Gonzales led the Cougar men and finished fourth overall in the 8000m race in 23 minutes and 29 seconds. This was the third race of the season that Gonzales led the Cougars. Todd Wakefield crossed the finish line in 23:43 to take sixth overall. Following were Forrest Shaffer ninth (24:00), John Whelan 10th (24:06), Lee George 17th (24:27), and Jackson Haselnus 30th (24:57). Andrew Kimpel, who only has track eligibility left, ran unattached and finished third overall. Team captain Drew Jordan also ran unattached and finished 12th overall.
Gonzales said, “I felt great. Definitely needed this after my performance at Notre Dame. I was a little upset about that as I was sick the entire week. Overall I’m happy. I PR’d by over 40 seconds so I call it a good day.”
When asked if this meet was a good preparation for the Pac-12 Championships, Wakefield said, “Definitely. It was good for us as a team to get out here. It was a small meet but there was really strong competition. Everyone showed up today and everyone ran strong. We ran well as a group and I think it is a great stepping stone towards Pac-12s and regionals.”
The Cougar men wrapped the meet with 24 points. The team finished ahead of Gonzaga (39) and Eastern Washington (63).
Coach Tim Riley said, “I was somewhat apprehensive coming off Notre Dame, but it shows the kind of character they have to come back and really put it together.”
Captain Ruby Roberts led the women’s team and finished second overall in the 5000m race in a time of 16:58. In both races she has competed in this season, she has been the top Cougar finisher. Following Roberts were Courtney Zalud ninth (17:32), Abby Regan 13th (17:44), CharLee Linton 15th (17:49), Kiah Condos 20th (17:54), Abby Knight 28th (18:07), and Steffie Pavey 54th (18:47).
Eastern Washington won the meet with 26 points. The Cougar women finished second overall with 33 points followed by Gonzaga (65) and Idaho (99).
Coach Tim Riley said, “I was really happy with how the women ran and since I did not see them run in Sacramento it was nice to see them actually put it together for a second time this year. Ruby Roberts ran great and Abby Regan is starting to put it together so that helps us a lot. Courtney Zalud had a great day today too. It’s really coming together and I couldn’t be happier.”
When asked about this meet as preparation for the Pac-12 Championships, Roberts said, “I think this was a little bit more of a low key meet so it was a confidence booster. I think everyone is pretty well prepared going into Pac-12s. Everyone is looking strong and everyone is super tough on this team.”
The next race for the Cougars will be Nov. 2 at the Pac-12 Championships in Louisville, Colo.