Aug. 31, 2004
THIS WEEK: The Washington State University men's and women's cross country teams open their seasons Friday at the Cross Country Jamboree hosted by the University of Idaho in Moscow...the meet takes place at the University of Idaho Golf Course...women will race on a 4,000m course beginning at 6 p.m. and the men will run a four-mile course with the race slated to start at 6:40 p.m. DEPTH AND EXPERIENCE: Coach Jason Drake, in his third season as the mentor for Washington State cross country and the first year as the head coach, fields full teams with 18 men and 20 women on the rosters...both teams are young but feature solid senior leaders and experienced groups of returning juniors and sophomores...a talented recruiting class adds the much-needed depth Drake has worked to create on a team he once had to advertise in the school newspaper to fill. WSU WOMEN: Led by seniors Ana Cabrera, Molly Bull and Julia Corbett...Cabrera returns as the Cougar women's captain and top runner...Bull and Corbett continue to progress and are expected to be consistent contributors...a troop of talented sophomores, including standouts Natalie Smith and Kayle Peterson, return experienced and improved...freshmen newcomers Collier Lawrence, Haley Paul, Lisa Waananen and Isley Gonzalez are expected to have an immediate impact. WSU MEN: Seniors Mike Heidt and Danny Wolf lead WSU this year...Heidt was the top Cougar finisher at NCAA West Regional Meet last year (29th overall)...Wolf is training well after battling Achilles tendon problems last year...sophomores Matt Knoff, Andrew Jones, Alex Grant and Chris Williams are expected to be competitive...senior Justin Ireland and redshirt freshmen Chris Concha and Geoff Casazza also return...freshmen talents Drew Polley, C.J. Godfrey and Woody Favinger add depth to the men's team. DRAKE'S VIEW ON THE TEAM'S TRAINING: "Overall, training is going very well. On any given day we have 10 runners on both the men's and women's sides that can really push each other. We are way ahead of where we were this time last year but it is only week three and this is when the aches and pains start to sneak up on you. We will just keep moving ahead smart and keep everyone healthy. That's our hope." CHANCE TO EVALUATE: All WSU runners will compete unattached at the Idaho Jamboree allowing Drake more time to evaluate his teams before naming the competitive rosters...Wolf and Heidt will not run in the jamboree so they may continue their regular training regime...all other Cougar harriers are expected to run with the exception of a few newcomers just beginning their training with the team. DRAKE'S VIEW ON THIS WEEKEND'S COMPETITION: "We need the meet to count for our overall season (required number of contests) but it will be pretty low key. This is our first chance to get out there and get an idea of where our teams are at this point. Almost everyone will be out there but will be running unattached. We aren't sure who are traveling squads are yet for the men or women and this way we have a few more weeks to make those decisions." NEXT UP: The Cougars will be off for a week before traveling to Seattle, Wash., to compete at the Sundodger Invitational, September 18.