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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Drake Completes First Season at Helm of Cougar Cross Crountry
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 12/03/2002
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Dec. 3, 2002

THIS YEAR: This year the Cougar cross-country team looked a little different than it had at the end of last season... the Cougars sported a new head coach in Jason Drake, who was hired over the summer from Colorado...Drake would find many challenges in starting his new program... The first glaring problem was the lack of bodies on the women's team.

THE NEW CREW: New coach Jason Drake's first job was to fill the depleted women's team for the start of the season...Drake employed the services of The Daily Evergreen to help find women to fill out his roster...the other problem Drake had was a lack of time with his new team...the team took the first few weeks to learn names and get acclimated with Drake's new practice schedule.

WSU WOMEN: Anna Blue (Sr., Olympia, Wash.) Blue led the Cougar women all season...Blue started the season by finishing eighth at the Idaho Invitational...in her next race Blue would race well to finish 55th at the Roy Griak Invitational, one of the biggest meets of the season...Blue continued to improve over the next two races finishing third at the WSU Invitational and 81st at the Pre-NCAA Invitational...the end of the season would see Blue make some of her most significant improvements of the year when she finished 20th at the Pac-10 Championships and finished the season in 36th place at the West Regional Championships.

Molly Bull (So., Oak Harbor, Wash.) Bull would have a season of ups and downs...the young runner started the season strong by finishing 14th at the Idaho Invitational, 109th at the Roy Griak Invitational, and 10th at the WSU Invitational...however in her next two races Bull would have some rougher races when she finished 209th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational and 53rd at Pac-10 Championships...she finished the season 88th at the West Regional Championships.

Ana Cabrera (Jr., Vancouver, Wash.) Cabrera was the most consistent athlete on the women's team this season...Cabrera posted strong times that helped the team all year long...in the first race of the year, the Idaho Invitational, she placed 13th...over the middle part of the season she continued to help the team by placing 97th at the Roy Griak Invitational, fourth at the WSU Invitational, and 170th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational...at the end of the season Cabrera placed 37th at the Pac-10 Championships and 64th at the West Regional Championships.

Julia Corbett (So., Bremerton, Wash.) Corbett was another one of the young returnees who stepped up and performed well for the Cougs...at the Idaho Invitational she finished 16th...Corbett injured herself while racing and was not able to finish the Roy Griak Invitational...after that setback she ran well the rest of the season, finishing 18th at the WSU Invitational, 184th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational, 68th at the Pac-10 Championships, and 97th at the West Regional Championships.

Hillary Smith (Jr., Reno, Nev.) Smith put together a good season for the Cougars...she finished 22nd at the Idaho Invitational and 117th at the Roy Griak Invitational...after a break in the middle of the season, Smith returned to help the Cougar women finish strong by placing 194th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational, 52nd at the Pac-10 Championships, and 115th at the West Regional Championships.

Hailey Young (Fr., Kent, Wash.) As the rookie on the team, Young took on some tough races as she went through her first season as a Cougar...Young finished 47th at the Idaho Invitational and 137th at the Roy Griak Invitational to start the season...during the middle portion of the season, Young placed 40th at the WSU Invitational...she finished out by placing 77th at the Pac-10 Championships and 158th at the West Regional Championships.

DRAKE'S VIEW ON THE COUGAR WOMEN'S SEASON: "The women had a real good season this year. All of our women made significant improvements over the season and I'm really looking forward to what they can do next season when they get some more training under their belts. Anna really had a great season this year and came up just a little short for the NCAA Championships. Ana Cabrera was the rock for our women's team this year and had great consistency throughout the season."

WSU MEN: Kyle Barker (Sr., Oregon City, Ore.) Barker returned for his final season for the Cougs...he spent much of the early part of the year hampered by injury...his first few races of the season were spent getting back into shape...he finished 163rd at the Roy Griak Invitational, 24th at the WSU Invitational, and 175th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational...the end of the season did see Barker with better times to finish out the season 44th at the Pac-10 Championships and 71st at the West Regional Championships.

Reid Carrell (Fr., Spokane, Wash.) Carrell spent his first season as a Cougar learning what it takes to run in the Pac-10...he ran well and gained experience in running at some of the biggest meets in the country...Reid finished 13th at the Idaho Invitational, 178th at the Roy Griak Invitational, and 16th at the WSU Invitational...he finished 224th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational, 59th at the Pac-10 Championships, and 131st at the West Regional Championships.

Mike Heidt (So., Selah, Wash.) Heidt had another strong year for the Cougars...Heidt started with a fifth place finish at the Idaho Invitational and 134th at the Roy Griak Invitational...Heidt continued to run well and finished 18th at the WSU Invitational and 172nd at the Pre-NCAA Invitational...Heidt capped off the season by finishing 48th at the Pac-10 Championships and 54th at the West Regional Championships.

Justin Ireland (So., Issaquah, Wash.) Ireland had a good year racing for the Cougars beginning with a 20th place at the Idaho Invitational and 166th at the Roy Griak Invitational...Ireland finished 19th at the WSU Invitational and 222nd at the Pre-NCAA Invitational...he finished the year by placing 68th at the Pac-10 Championships and 79th at the West Regional Championships.

Ian Johnson (RS-Jr., Spokane, Wash.) Johnson made some of the biggest improvements over the season... Johnson placed seventh at the Idaho Invitational, 94th at the Roy Griak Invitational, and second at the WSU Invitational...the latter half of the season held three great races for Johnson when he placed 54th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational, 29th at the Pac-10 Championships, and 25th at the West Regional Championships.

Mark Wicklander (Sr., Tacoma, Wash.) Wicklander was the model of consistency and brought a good level of leadership to a young Cougar team...Wicklander placed forth at the Idaho Invitational, 115th at the Roy Griak Invitational, and fourth at the WSU Invitational...he continued his pace through the end of the year placing 105th at the Pre-NCAA invitational, 37th at the Pac-10 Championships, and 42nd at the West Regional Championships to cap off his final season for the Cougars.

Danny Wolf (So., Reno, Nev.) Wolf has the potential to be one of the great American runners at WSU...this season Wolf had a series of great races that would impress many in the Pac-10...Wolf took the individual title at the Idaho Invitational, placed 46th at the Roy Griak Invitational, and garnered another individual title at the WSU Invitational...at the end of the season, however, Wolf began to struggle at meets...he placed 77th at the Pre-NCAA Invitational then came back and finished 23rd at the Pac-10 Championships...he finish the season a disappointing 109th at the West Regional Championships.

DRAKE'S VIEW ON THE COUGAR MEN'S SEASON: "I was really pleased with the way the men raced at the Pac-10 Championships. It was our best finish there since about 1998. Mark Wicklander was a real leader for this team and was a consistent racer for us. Danny Wolf has shown a lot of potential that he can build for next year. Mike Heidt and Justin Ireland are both coming along and should be good next year. "

DRAKE'S THOUGHTS FOR NEXT SEASON: "Both the men and women's teams will still be fairly young next season. I'm hoping that we can get some good freshman recruits and see some of our other runners continue to improve. On the men's side, we're going to be losing Mark Wicklander and Kyle Barker and on the women's team I'm not sure of all the women who might return. We'll go out and hopefully have a good summer of training before we start the season. If we can do that, I'm sure we'll have a good team that will be able to compete with most teams and maybe send a few kids to the NCAA Championships."

PAC-10 ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS: Following are the WSU members of the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Men's and Women's Cross Country All-Academic teams...to be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant contributor.

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY

First Team
Ian Johnson, RS-Jr., 3.64, General Linguistics

Second Team Kyle Barker, SSr., 3.40, Business Administration Michael Heidt, So., 3.49, Undeclared

Honorable Mention Justin Ireland, So. Mark Wicklander, RS-Jr.

WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY First Team Ana Cabrera, RS-So., 3.95, Communications

Second Team Molly Bull, So., 3.53, Undeclared

Honorable Mention Julia Corbett, So.

COUGARS HOST 2003 PAC-10 CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Pacific-10 Cross Country Championships will be held on the WSU Golf Course, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003...some of the finest cross country runners in the nation, let alone the West Coast, and several future Olympians will be vying for the conference title in Pullman.

Washington State Cougars Cougar Athletic Fund
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