Oct. 9, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
Well rested following two weeks of no competition, the Western Washington University men's and women's cross country teams make their only home appearance of the season on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the 40th annual Viking Classic being held at Lake Padden Park.
The women's six-kilometer race begins at 10 a.m., followed by the men's 10-kilometer run at 11a.m.
The 15-team field is composed of Alaska Fairbanks, British Columbia, Central Washington, Club Northwest, Eastside Runners, Fairhaven Runners, Greater Bellingham Running Club, UBC Okanagan, Point Grey Running Club, Skagit Valley CC, Simon Fraser, Trinity Western, Victoria (women), Valley Royals (women) and WWU.
Simon Fraser women rank No.7 in this week's United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll.
"We'll be coming in relaxed, which is what we want," said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell (27th year). "We're looking to show the home fans a real true test of what we're all about.
"This will be an up-beat week for us as we are transitioning into the championship part of our season.
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships are next up for the Vikings on Oct. 26, followed by the West Regional on Nov. 9.
WWU ranks seventh in both the USTFCCCA men's and women's regional polls. Simon Fraser is third in the women's rating and ninth in the men's ranking.
Heading the Viking men are Tanner Boyd (Sr., Camas), Isaac Griffith (So., Spokane/Lewis & Clark), Chip Jackson (Sr., Shoreline/Shorewood), Matthew Lutz (R-Fr., Bremerton/Olympic), Dylan Peterson (Sr., Seattle/Garfield) and Nathan Richards (Jr., Longview/R.A. Long).
Pacing the WWU women will be Taylor Guenther (So., Vancouver/Prairie), Austen Reiter (So., Camas), Katelyn Steen (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake) and Lillianna Stelling (Fr., Langley/South Whidbey).
Both of last year's WWU Classic team champions, the Victoria men and the Alaska Anchorage women, are not competing Saturday. The Viking men placed third in the 2012 meet and the WWU women fifth.
WWU has won 12 men's titles, the last completing a four-year string from 2006 to 2009, and two women's crowns, those coming in 2002 and 2008.