BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University women’s cross country team placed 3rd while the WWU men’s cross country team finished 4th at the GNAC Championships on Saturday morning, hosted at East Lake Padden Park.
The WWU women placed four runners among the top 18 and had all five scoring finishers among the top 25 while the WWU men also had all five scorers within the top 25 and were led by a pair of top 10 performances from junior Jadon Olson (Mill Creek, WA/Jackson) in 6th and senior Andrew Wise (Denver, CO/East) in 10th.
The Viking women totaled 87 points in 3rd behind Alaska Anchorage (28 points) and Simon Fraser (65 points). WWU edged out Seattle Pacific (93 points) to finish 3rd while Central Washington was the next closest team in 5th with 163 points. The Seawolves won their third consecutive team title and Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat earned the individual title for a second straight year.
The WWU men finished with 76 points, just behind Simon Fraser (70 points) in 3rd place. Western Oregon (51 points), led by individual champion David Ribich, won the team title to end a seven-year championship streak for Alaska Anchorage as the Seawolves placed 2nd with 64 points. After the Vikings in 4th, the next closest team was Northwest Nazarene in 5th with 160 points.
“The women ran amazing, we saw that move up,” head coach Pee Wee Halsell said. “The men ran decent, I think we had a few misses in there but as a whole to be there with the top four teams separated by quite a few points, that was good. We’re still moving up – didn’t have the greatest race – and can move further up.”
The WWU women were led by redshirt sophomore Tracy Melville (Lamont, WA/Lind-Ritzville/Sprague) who finished 13th on the 6,000-meter course with a time of 22:23.83. A trio of Vikings claimed the places 16th through 18th with senior Alexandra Laiblin (Oak Harbor, WA) in 16th (22:31.21), senior Lillianna Stelling (Langley, WA/South Whidbey) in 17th (22:33.40) and senior Maddy Hutchison (Snoqualmie, WA/Mount Si) in 18th (22:38.66).
Freshman Jane Barr (Seattle, WA/Roosevelt) finished 23rd with a time of 22:58.47 to complete the WWU scoring while sophomore Peyton Shinnick (Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma) placed 25th in 23:01.39 and sophomore Sophia Galvez (Los Alamos, NM) was 28th in a time of 23:08.84.
Junior Aundrea Koger (Osage City, KS) placed 30th (23:18.10) while freshman Tovah Swartz-Ireland (Seattle, WA/Nathan Hale) finished 43rd (23:45.17) and freshman Brook Wedin (Mora, MN) was 49th (24:00.20).
For the men, Olson was 6th in a time of 25:29.10 and Wise was 10th in 25:41.50 on the 8,000-meter course with both earning All-GNAC accolades as top 10 placers. The two were followed by three Vikings in a row in places 19th through 21st with senior Sean Eustis (Washougal, WA) in 19th (26:08.69), redshirt freshman Eric Hamel (Enumclaw, WA) in 20th (26:09.59) and junior Dylan Hayes (Seattle, WA/Garfield) in 21st (26:11.20) to complete the scoring for WWU.
Redshirt sophomore James Jasperson (Lacey, WA/North Thurston/Everett CC) placed 26th in a time of 26:20.28, just ahead of redshirt sophomore Liam Cossette (Spokane, WA/Ferris) who was 27th in a time of 26:23.16.
Redshirt freshman Colton Hoggarth (Yakima, WA/West Valley) placed 33rd with a time of 26:42.09 while junior Nick Mounier (Kelso, WA) finished 35th in 26:43.95 and redshirt sophomore Peter Butler (Port Angeles, WA) was 57th in a time of 27:09.74.
The GNAC Championships at East Lake Padden Park on Saturday marked the conclusion of a three-year run for the Vikings hosting the championship meet in Bellingham. The WWU women were 2nd in 2015 and 4th last year before Saturday’s 3rd-place finish while the WWU men placed 3rd during each of the last two seasons prior to the 4th-place finish on Saturday. Next year, the conference championships move to Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore., where the Vikings are headed for the NCAA II West Regional in early November.
“We’re looking forward to regionals, going down to Monmouth and having some good things happen,” Halsell said. “It’s going to be a tough one – the region is tough and deep.”
The NCAA II West Regional will take place in two weeks on Nov. 4 at Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Ore.
GNAC Championships Team Scores:
- Alaska Anchorage (28)
- Simon Fraser (65)
- Western Washington (87)
- Seattle Pacific (93)
- Central Washington (163)
- Western Oregon (190)
- Alaska Fairbanks (219)
- Northwest Nazarene (236)
- Concordia (Ore.) (240)
- Saint Martin’s (255)
- MSU Billings (301)
- Western Oregon (51)
- Alaska Anchorage (64)
- Simon Fraser (70)
- Western Washington (76)
- Northwest Nazarene (160)
- Central Washington (161)
- MSU Billings (187)
- Seattle Pacific (224)
- Alaska Fairbanks (235)
- Concordia (Ore.) (242)
- Saint Martin’s (331)
- Tracy Melville (22:23.83) – 13th
- Alexandra Laiblin (22:31.21) – 16th
- Lillianna Stelling (22:33.40) – 17th
- Maddy Hutchison (22:38.66) – 18th
- Jane Barr (22:58.47) – 23rd
- Peyton Shinnick (23:01.39) – 25th
- Sophia Galvez (23:08.84) – 28th
- Aundrea Koger (23:18.10) – 30th
- Tovah Swartz-Ireland (23:45.17) – 43rd
- Brook Wedin (24:00.20) – 49th
- Jadon Olson (25:29.10) – 6th
- Andrew Wise (25:41.50) – 10th
- Sean Eustis (26:08.69) – 19th
- Eric Hamel (26:09.59) – 20th
- Dylan Hayes (26:11.20) –21st
- James Jasperson (26:20.28) – 26th
- Liam Cossette (26:23.16) – 27th
- Colton Hoggarth (26:42.09) – 33rd
- Nick Mounier (26:43.95) – 35th
- Peter Butler (27:09.74) – 57th
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