Thor and Penaloza Cap off Season at NCAA West Regionals

Eastern’s top runners from 2012 conclude stellar freshman campaigns in Seattle

The Eastern Washington University cross country team ended its season on a good note Friday (Nov. 9) at the NCAA West Regional Championships in Seattle, Wash., as redshirt freshman Berenice Penaloza and freshman David Thor each had a strong showing for the Eagles.

Penaloza placed 145th out of the 207 female competitors, completing the 6,000-meter course in 22:16.  The redshirt freshman out of Yakima, Wash., averaged a pace of 5:59 per mile.

“I told Berenice to go out aggressively and stay in the thick of the action early, and she handled it great,” said head coach Chris Zeller. “She closed the last kilometer really well and I believe she gained some confidence from this race knowing she can go out fast and still have something in the tank at the end. This meet gave her some great experience in race tactics.”

Thor, a true freshman, placed 83rd out of 185 male competitors, running a time of 31:13. He handled the first 10,000-meter run of his career well, averaging a pace of 5:02 per mile. According to Zeller, Thor came through the first 5,000 of the race in 15:40 and closed the last half in 15:33.

“As a freshman, to have the maturity to run negative splits in his first 10,000 is really amazing,” said Zeller. “Overall, I thought he had a great race and I’m very excited about his future. He got everything out of this race he wanted to.”

The meet marked an end to the 2012 cross country season for Eastern. The track and field season will kick off at the 5th Annual Candy Cane Invite, hosted by EWU on Dec. 7 and 8.

“I’m really glad we came to this meet and got the experience we wanted out of it,” said Zeller. “As freshmen, Berenice and David are only going to get better.”

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