Viking men place third at regionals, Riek finishes fifth individually
Nov. 3, 2012
KAHUKU, Hawaii - Western Washington University's Dak Riek (Jr., Everett/Mariner) placed fifth individually, helping the Vikings finish third among 18 teams at the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships on Saturday at the Kahuku Golf Course in Kahuku, Hawaii.
WWU earned a sixth straight trip to the national meet, which is Nov. 17 at Joplin, Missouri, by placing among the top five in the team standings in hot and humid conditions.
The Viking women had their string of national appearances snapped at four as they finished seventh in a 25-team field.
Chico State and Alaska Anchorage placed one-two in both divisions, the Wildcats winning the men's run by eight points (38 to 46) and the women's race by five points (51 to 56). Alaska Anchorage was the two-time defending champion in both divisions and Chico State was the 2011 runner-up in both.
The WWU men were third with 82 points, followed by San Francisco State (130) and Humboldt State (140).
Humboldt State was third (120) in the women's division with Cal State Stanislaus fourth (154), Seattle Pacific fifth (157) and Simon Fraser sixth (179). WWU was seventh with 274 points.
Riek placed fifth in the men's 10-kilometer race with a 32:10 clocking, earning regional all-star honors for the second straight year. He placed 22nd last year.
The Vikings had three other runners receive all-region recognition by finishing among the top 25. They were Tyler Cannon (Sr., Kennewick/Kamiakin), 15th in 32:55; Chip Jackson (Jr., Shoreline/Shorewood), 16th in 32:56; and Dylan Peterson (Sr., Seattle/Garfield), 24th in 33:14.
Falling just one place short of having all five WWU counting runners take all-region honors was Kyle Johnson (Sr., Nine Mile Falls/Lakeside), who was 26th in 33:21.
"They ran a great race and Dak (Riek) was amazing," said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell (26th year) of his men's squad. "It was a different counting five today from two weeks ago (at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship) with Dylan (Peterson) getting into the mix, but both times it was a solid five."
Leading the Viking women was Kaitlyn Steen (So., Sammamish/Eastlake), who placed 28th in 22:45 over six kilometers. She took all-region honors last year, finishing 22nd.
"The heat really hit them hard," Halsell said. "We had to almost carry every one of them off the line and get them cooled off. They made their ranking, which was good. They were disappointed, but this is a young team that is going to be very good in the near future."
UAA also had both individual champions, Micah Chelimo taking the men's title in 31:58 and Susan Tanui capturing the women's crown in 21:19. The WWU men placed second at regionals in 2007, third in 2008, second in 2009, third in 2010 and fourth in 2011.
In the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association/NCAA II Top 25, the Vikings men were ranked No.10. In the regional polls, the men are third and the women seventh.
Two weeks ago at the GNAC meet, the men placed second and the women fourth.
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