Eastern Looking to Build Experience at Sundodger Invitational
With EWU’s top 10 runners resting, other young Eagles look to step up in Seattle
The Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s cross country teams will venture west to Seattle, Wash., to compete at the 21st Annual Sundodger Invitational Saturday (Sept. 14), hosted by the University of Washington at Lincoln Park.
“Going over to Sundodger is always exciting because a large number of our athletes are from the west side of the state, so it’s a great opportunity for family and friends to come watch them compete,” said head coach Chris Zeller. “We’ll also be racing against some high quality teams.”
Both Eastern teams will compete in the invite sections Saturday. The men will return to running their usual distance of 8,000 meters after running the 6,000-meter course at the Clash of the Inland Northwest. The women will run farther than their normal 5,000-meter distance, as the women’s course at Lincoln Park sits at 6,000 meters.
Last year at the same meet, the Eagle men placed sixth with 173 points while the women took seventh with 204.
“Sundodger is a really fast course that is hard-packed and lends itself to great times,” said Zeller. “For a lot of athletes this might be one of their fastest times all year.”
With the Montana State Invite approaching a week after Sundodger, Zeller will sit out EWU’s top five runners for both the men and women in Seattle in order to gear up for the Big Sky competition they will face off with Sept. 21 in Bozeman, Mont.
“We’re going to leave home a number of our athletes this weekend to let them rest up for Bozeman a week later,” said Zeller. “It will be a really neat opportunity for our other younger athletes to step up.”
Individually, Zeller expects Catie Arrigoni and Katie Lynch to each build off of promising season-opening races and take on leadership roles. On the men’s side, he also looks forward to seeing Steven Kutsch and Quin Olivas have solid races following a good week of practice.
Action in Seattle begins Saturday at 9 am with the open races. The women’s invite section will be at 11 am with the men following at 11:35 am.
“Certainly we have some underclassmen who will get another chance to race, get their feet wet and get that experience they need as they progress through not only this season but throughout their collegiate careers,” said Zeller.