October 13, 2009

Eagles Compete in Last Meet Before Conference Championships

Eastern women compete at 4 p.m. and the men at 4:30 at the Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic in Moscow

The Eastern Washington University cross country teams will compete at the Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic on Saturday (Oct. 17) at the University of Idaho Golf Course in Moscow, Idaho, before heading to the Big Sky Conference Championships on Oct. 31.

The men's race will begin at 4:30 p.m. following the women at 4:00 p.m. Eastern hadn't had a meet since Oct. 3 when they competed at the Montana Invitational.

"Our athletes are chomping at the bit to race again," said head cross country coach Chris Zeller.  "We will again be without Alex Smyth, who is nursing a strained muscle.  He's backing off this week so that it can heal and then he can prepare for the conference Championships." 

At the Montana Invitational, Eastern's men finished fourth out of five teams. Montana State won with 27 points, followed by Montana (40), College of Idaho (85), EWU (90) and Gonzaga (129). The EWU women were fifth with Montana winning.

Individually on the men's side, Kyle King finished the 8,000-meter course with a time of 24:56. He was followed by teammates Graham Vaux and Cody Barton. Vaux finished 17th with a time of 26:00 and Barton finished 18th with a time of 26:01.

"King should put up another good battle with Lynn Reynolds of UM and Marcus Geiger of UI," said Zeller.  "Everyone has been looking really solid in practice.  We will need for that to translate into a solid race for freshman Simon Sorensen.  I'm also excited to see how Jordan Curnutt will do after a couple of solid workouts." 

On the women's side, Brittney Williams finished 25th with a time of 19:39. She was followed by teammate Ari Rios, who finished 34th with a time of 20:03.

"Williams seems to keep getting more fit every day now that her lower back has been feeling better," said Zeller. "She will be leading the charge up front for us.  Lauren Matthews (pictured) has been steadily improving and should have a good race along with Stephanie Dye." 

This will be the last regular season meet before heading to the Big Sky Conference Championships on Oct. 31 in Greeley, Colo., at the Boomerang Golf Course.

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

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