Eagles Compete at the Big Sky Cross Country Championships

Eastern's men's and women's teams head to Greeley, Colo., for Saturday's meet

The Eastern Washington University men's and women's cross country teams will compete Saturday (Oct. 31) at the Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championships in Greeley, Colo., at the Boomerang Golf Course.

The Eagle men will compete at 10 a.m. on the 8,000-meter course with the women following at 11 a.m. in the 5,000-meter run.

Last year at the conference championships, the men's team finished a best-ever third place with Northern Arizona and Weber State finishing one-two, respectively. The women were seventh after having a best-ever finish of fourth in 2007.

"We are really looking forward to the conference championships," said head cross country coach Chris Zeller. "Our Conference is tough though. It is going to come down to who can run the most consistent. We can't worry about how other teams race. We can only go out and run the race we know how to do."

Eagles top runners include junior Alex Smyth and sophomore Kyle King. Smyth finished sixth last season at the conference championships with a time of 23:47.6 and in 2007 he was 13th. Smyth skipped Eastern's final two regular season meets to nurse a strained muscle. In 2008, King was 15th with a time of 24:34.1.

The Eagles wrapped up its regular season Saturday (Oct. 18) in Moscow, Idaho, at the Inland Northwest Challenge where King and Graham Vaux finished in the top seven.

The Eagle men were 3-0 in the four-team dual scoring meet, defeating Gonzaga (25-31), Idaho (22-33) and Washington State (24-32). In women's team scoring, EWU lost to Gonzaga (15-50) and Idaho (15-43).

King finished second with a time of 24:21.33 and teammate Vaux finished seventh with a time of 25:06.39. Other Eagle competitors included Simon Sorensen (15th, 25:23.70), Cody Barton (24th, 25:46.49), Jordan Curnutt (29th, 25:54.23) and Cody Bradwell (43rd, 26:21.51).

"As a group, the men ran as well at Idaho as they have all season," said Zeller. "They all feel strong right now and will hopefully put it all together at conference. They're really firing on all cylinders right now."

On the women's side, Brittney Williams finished 24th with a time of 19:14.04. Other women finishers included Stephanie Dye (33rd, 19:42.73), Ari Rios (pictured) (42nd, 19:58.40), Kelly Downey (61st, 20:53.12), Jessi Johnson (76th, 21:56.52) and Sarah Alvick (79th, 21:56.52).

"Our women's team is young, but beginning to figure things out," said Zeller. "The spread of our finishers at Idaho was as small as it's been all year. We have a few who are battling some nagging injuries, but should be good to go in Greeley."

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