Nov. 21, 2011
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Washington State men's cross country team finished 21st at the NCAA Cross Country Championships Monday at the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at Terre Haute, Ind. On a cool, misty and breezy afternoon, the Cougar men's team reached its best NCAA Championships finish since 1998 when the Bernard Lagat-led team finished 18th.
Andrew Kimpel, a junior from Spokane, was the first WSU runner to complete the 10,000m course, finishing 59th overall in a time of 30 minutes, 27.9 seconds. The other Cougars scoring included senior Jono Lafler (Maple Valley, Wash.) in 79th (30:38.6), Justin Englund (senior, Federal Way, Wash.) 162nd (31:20.2), Andrew Gonzales (sophomore, Kennewick, Wash.) 164th (31:22.1), and Todd Wakefield (redshirt freshman, Kearns, Australia) 186th (31:34.8). WSU runners Drew Jordan (sophomore, Medford, Ore.) was 220th (35:05.2) and Lee George (redshirt freshman, Ferndale, Wash.) 232nd (32:17.0) rounding out the Cougar team in the 252-man field.
"The guys ran their absolute hearts out. I am so proud of them," WSU Cross Country Head Coach Pete Julian said. "Every one of these teams are superstar teams: only 31 advance to the championships unlike other sports that take 64 teams. These are the very best teams and the very best runners in the country and really the world. We could have a great day and yet finish where we were ranked (27th nationally) coming in. I told the team my expectation was for them to battle while in 150th place - somewhere they are not used to being. I told them to fight, don't panic and not lose sight of the team race. But this team has never been here and every guy came off the course saying this was the hardest they have ever run."
"All season these guys have kept on plugging. They were consistent and raced as hard as they could every time they raced," Julian said. "If you told me a year ago that this team would be 21st in the country, I would have laughed and said no way. What a wonderful year for them. And a jumping off point for our team next year: this is a team that is moving up and we will be better next year."
Wisconsin won the men's team title with 97 points, followed by Oklahoma State (139), Colorado (144), BYU (203), and Stanford (207) in the top five. Other West Region men's team finishes included Portland eighth (259), and WSU 21st (512), and Cal Poly 28th (680). Arizona's Lawi Lalang, the 2011 Pac-12 champion and West Regional champion, was the men's individual winner in a time of 28:44.1.
Georgetown won the women's team title (162 points) with Washington second (170). Villanova's Sheila Reid was the individual winner covering the 6000m course in a time of 19:41.2 with Oregon's Jordan Hasay runner-up at 19:41.8.