Oct. 29, 2011
LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. - The Washington State men's cross country team took sixth place and the Cougar women's team was 11th at the Pac-12 Conference Championships Saturday at the Wigwam Golf Course in Litchfield Park, Arizona.
The Colorado men, ranked sixth nationally, and the Colorado women, ranked 16th nationally, won the team titles in their first Pac-12 Conference Championships. On the men's side Colorado scored 46 points followed by No. 4 Stanford (53), No. 23 Oregon (93), No. 20 UCLA (122), California (140) and No. 22 WSU (148). Arizona's Lawi Lalang won the individual title covering the 8,000 meters in a time of 22 minutes, 37 seconds. Stanford's Chris Derrick was second in 22:45.
The CU women's team won with 50 points followed by No. 2 Washington (73), No. 8 Stanford (75), and No. 11 Oregon (89). The WSU women, running without sophomore standout Ruby Roberts, tallied 291 for 11th. UW's Katie Flood won the individual title completing the 6,000 meters course in a time of 19:32. Stanford's Kathy Kroeger was the runner-up with a time of 19:40.
The Cougar men were led by junior Andrew Kimpel (Spokane) who finished 14th with a time of 23:39, followed closely by senior Jono Lafler with a 17th place finish in a time of 23:44. The rest of the WSU men's scoring lineup was Justin Englund (24:16, 31st), Todd Wakefield (24:32, 42nd), and Drew Jordan (24:36, 44th). Non-scorers for WSU included Lee George (25:24, 57th) and Andrew Gonzales (25:34, 58th).
"I feel amazing, yet exhausted right now," Kimpel said. "It was a big improvement from last year when I was 32nd. I just did what my coach (Pete Julian) said and beat some people in my last 2K. It's a big confidence boost. I had a lot of downfalls my last two years with sickness, and I feel like I'm finally breaking out of that."
Junior Caroline Austin (Chehalis, Wash.) led the way for the Cougar women, finishing 39th in a time of 21:10. The rest of the scoring women for WSU were: Katie Fleischer (21:57, 61st), Emily Farrar (21:57, 62nd), Sarah Bobbe (21:59, 64th), and Allison Clark (21:59, 65th). Non-scoring women running for WSU Saturday included Ramona Morshead (22:24, 71st) and Courtney Zalud (23:10, 81st).
"I feel like it wasn't the best from what my coach and I planned, but there were a lot of good things that happened in the first half of the race," Austin said. "The second half of the race, I let the heat get to me, which we shouldn't because we were working specifically against that. Overall it wasn't terrible, but it was a little short of our expectations. We have our top runner out right now, so it was my job as a captain to step it up and fill her shoes and really lead the women who were close to me."
"I thought the women ran tough," WSU Head Coach Pete Julian said. "They were out there without their top woman (Ruby Roberts), and that's a pretty significant person to lose out there. They ran really engaged. I'm pleased with what they did and the direction we are going."
"I'm actually quite pleased with how the teams ran," Coach Julian continued. "There were a couple of spots that we know we can improve upon, and those were pretty obvious. Outside of that, we had a couple of guys that did a great job - obviously on the men's side (Andrew) Kimpel did a great job, and I think certainly Todd Wakefield and Drew (Jordan) and so forth. I'm really pleased with the way they are running, and they're running great. I think we are in a good spot going into the next two weeks."
The next race for the Cougar cross country teams will be the NCAA West Regionals, at Stanford Nov. 12. The Washington State men held the No. 3 spot in the West region before the Pac-12 Championships Saturday.