BSC coaches predict Eagle men fifth and women eighth at this season's cross country championships
The Eastern Washington University men's and women's cross country teams open their season as they head to Moscow, Idaho to compete at the Clash of the Inland Northwest Saturday (Sept. 4).
The meet will be held at Virgil Phillips Farm County Park. The women’s 5,000-meter race will begin at 10 a.m., and the men’s 8,000-meter race will start at 10:45 a.m.
The Eagle men return five athletes including junior standout Kyle King (Coupeville, Wash.) who placed 18th at the 2009 Big Sky Conference Championship in Greely, Colo. Other returners are senior and team captain Bowe Ebding (Walla Walla, Wash.), junior Cody Barton (Ridgefield, Wash.), sophomore Jordan Curnutt (Spokane, Wash.) and sophomore Simon Sorenson (Issaquah, Wash.).
“I’m really excited to see what our men can do this season,” said cross country coach Chris Zeller. “Kyle will once again be our top guy, Bowe is back from a foot injury, and I really think Cody and Simon will fill a void that Alex Smyth left.”
The veterans are joined by three incoming freshmen: Alex Avila (Salem, Ore.), Quin Olivas (Kennewick, Wash.) and Connor Williams (Deming, Wash.).
Avila placed fourth in the 5,000 meters at the State 3A Championships, where he helped North Central High School clinch its fourth-straight team title.
From Southridge High School, Olivas ran his best time on a 5,000-meter course his senior year, running 16:21.48.
Williams attended the cross country state championships for three-straight years while running for Mount Baker High School. His best finish came his junior year as he placed 23rd and ran a time of 16:33.0 on a 5,000 meter course.
The men’s team lost Alex Smyth, who finished 23rd at the BSC Championships last season.
The women return seven athletes, including junior Stephanie Dye, who was Eastern’s top finisher at the 2009 BSC Championships, running 21:49.9 and finishing 44th to better her 2008 finish of 45th.
Other returners are Sarah Alvick (Vancouver, Wash.), Hannah Chertock (Kirkland, Wash.), Kelly Downey, (Omak, Wash.), Jessi Johnson (Clarkston, Wash.), Ari Rios (Spokane, Wash.) and Brittney Williams (Colville, Wash.).
The women’s team nearly tripled its size, adding 17 incoming athletes to its 2010 roster. Incoming standouts include junior transfer Britt Henderson (Vancouver, Wash.), freshman Monica Jaenicke (Auburn, Wash.) and freshman Angelica Rodriguez (Hermiston, Ore.).
“We have a plethora of new faces this season and I know some of them will rise to the top in coming years,” said Zeller.
A transfer from Clark College, Henderson placed fourth at the NWAACC Cross Country Championships during her sophomore year, where she ran 18:58 on a 5,000-meter course.
Jaenicke qualified for the State 4A Cross Country Championships three times while in high school. Her best state performance came during her senior year, when she placed 24th.
“I’m excited to see what Monica can do as a freshman,” said Zeller.
During Rodriguez’s single year of participating in cross country, she placed second at the Oregon State 5A Cross Country Championships, running 19:09.0 on a 5,000-meter course.
“Angelica has a ton of range,” said Zeller. “She is so versatile and will be a huge contribution on the cross country course.”
Other newcomers are Courtney Anthony (Spokane, Wash.), Tessa Cosand (Auburn, Wash.), Danielle Grams (Cashmere, Wash.), Christie Gradados (West Covina, Calif.), Megan Inman (Spokane, Wash.), Amy Kolin (Ypsilanti, Mich.), Carina Leon (Pasco, Wash.), Kimberly Macias (Hermiston, Ore.), Mallory McDonald (Shoreline, Wash.), Senaida Monroy (Spokane, Wash.), Danielle Raschko (Bickleton, Wash.), Micaela Rasmussen (Lakewood, Wash.) and Kari Wirtz (Spokane, Wash.).
“As host of the championships, I think we have put together solid teams that will do a great job representing Eastern Washington University,” said Zeller.
The men’s team was picked fifth and the women eighth in the 2010 BSC cross country preseason polls. Both the men and women from Northern Arizona have been selected to win the crown at this year’s championships, which will be hosted by EWU on Oct. 30 at the Fairways Golf Course, in Spokane, Wash.