Nov. 17, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State senior Anna Blue was selected as an at-large participant to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships at Waterloo, Iowa, Monday, Nov. 24.
"We're excited. She should be excited to go back there where she's had some success," said Cross Country Coach Jason Drake. Blue is Drake's first NCAA competitor at Washington State.
Blue, a native of Olympia, Wash., has the opportunity to return to the site of her best performance of the season. Last month Blue raced to a 14th place finish in her race, and 23rd overall, at the Pre-National Meet which was held on the same course as the Championships will be held.
"(Having performed well there before) gives me a lot of confidence," explained Blue. "I'm really excited that I get to run one more time in a WSU uniform."
All-American honors are given to the top 30 American finishers in the race next Monday. With a high finish, Blue, who earned All-American honors in track last spring, would be WSU's first woman All-American in both track and cross country.
"I think that it is very realistic for Anna to be in the top 30," said Drake. "She's got to have a little better race than she had this weekend (at the NCAA West Regional), but if she runs a smart race she can outwit some of the other teams."
Blue is the first cross country athlete to represent WSU at the NCAA Championships since Everlyne Lagat finished 30th in 2001. The last two Cougar women to run at NCAA Championships garnered All-American honors, Lagat in 2001 and Megan Maynard in 1998.
It will be a busy week for Blue, whose return trip will take her to the Oregon Coast where she will be married to former Cougar cross country runner Jon Welch Saturday, Nov. 29.