Sept. 12, 2001
THIS WEEK: The Washington State University men's and women's cross country teams stay home for the WSU Invitational, held at the WSU golf course in Pullman. Competition begins at 1 p.m. with the women running a 4,000 meter course, immediately followed by the men's 6,000 meter race. Teams from Idaho and Eastern Washington are scheduled to against the Cougars.
"These early season meets really serve the purpose of preparing up for the later, championship races," WSU Head Coach James Li said. "I believe Idaho can challenge us on the women's side, and Eastern Washington will provide good competition for our men's team."
WSU WOMEN: Everlyne Lagat got off to a fast start in her first meet as a Cougar last week. The junior transfer from Malone College in Ohio, who is the younger sister of former All-American, NCAA Champion, and Olympic bronze medallist Bernard Lagat, now an assistant coach for WSU, won the Idaho Invitational by nearly 15 seconds. Senior Ryan Gilmore and junior Anna Blue will also be vying for the top spots at this weekend's meet. Three WSU freshmen also looked impressive in their first collegiate meet. Brittney Boysen led the freshman Cougars placing 16th, Molly Bull followed in 21st and Julia Corbett finished 22nd.
"Lagat, coming in right away last week, running the race she did, says a lot about her talent," Li said. "I fully expect her to improve as the season progresses. With Ana Cabrera out at least four weeks with a stress fracture, some of our freshmen will need to step up."
WSU MEN: The WSU men looked nothing less than dominant in their first meet of the season, notching the top four spots at the Idaho Invitational last week. Sophomore Ian Johnson won the meet and senior Oscar Franco-Parra placed second, both having identical times of 20 minutes, 15 seconds. Senior Jon Welsh placed third, and freshman Mike Heidt grabbed fourth place in his first collegiate meet. Like the women's team, the Cougar men also had some impressive performances from their freshmen. In addition to Heidt's fourth place, WSU freshman Mike Barbero finished ninth, and freshman Justin Ireland 23rd.
"Sophomore Will Thrift is having some problems with an injured foot, some we will also need some help from our freshmen on the men's side," Li said. "These freshmen runners help us add some high quality depth, which will be our team's key this year."
NEXT WEEK: The Cougars head across the state to the Sundodger Invitational, their largest competition of the season up to this point.