Four seniors will be running in what could be their last race in the red and white
For Bowe Ebding, Tonya Turner, Graham Vaux and Stephanie Dye, making a lasting impression can mean quite a bit – especially when the four seniors suit up for possibly the final cross country meet in their Eastern careers.
Those seniors, along with junior Simon Sorensen and freshmen Katie Mahoney, Nathan Fall and Quin Olivas, will be traveling to Stanford, Calif., for the NCAA West Regional Cross Country Meet this Saturday (Nov. 12).
“We trained to peak at the conference championships,” said head coach Chris Zeller. “So the goal is to stay at that plateau for two extra weeks. For as much running as they do early season, it shouldn’t be too tough for them.”
In its latest action, the EWU men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished seventh at the Big Sky Conference Championships in Pocatello, Idaho. Turner was the women’s top finisher, coming in at 22nd overall. Sorensen led the men with his 19th place finish.
There are nine regional meets where the top two teams automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 21. After those 18 teams, 13 at-large teams are selected based on how well they’ve competed against the automatic qualifiers. For an individual to make it, they must be one of the first four individual runners to place, and finish in the top 25 overall in their region. The last Eagle to qualify for nationals as an individual was Paul Limpf in 2008 – he finished 11th overall, and was the top individual in the region.
The course at Stanford is flat, which is a nice change of pace coming from the hilly course provided by Idaho State for the Big Sky Championships. The women will be running a 6,000-meter course, but the men will run 10,000 meters – a length longer than any race the Eagles have experienced this season.
“Hopefully they’re not thinking about the distance,” said Zeller. “It is definitely longer than 8,000 meters, but I don’t want them thinking that the extra length is going to be tough. The one change they would need to make is that they need to stay more patient. However, coming from high altitude and a really hilly course at conference to a flat, quick course in Stanford, I would say they should be a tad more aggressive in this type of race, especially with the competition level they’re about to face.”
Turner, the women’s top runner, was disappointed in her race at the conference championships. Her finish at 22nd marked the first time she wasn’t a top-ten finisher all season.
“The course at Stanford is right up her alley,” said Zeller. “Especially with her background as a runner, her strengths and weaknesses will really help her. I think she’ll be pretty stoked at the end.”
According to Zeller, this race means a lot to each runner. However, each athlete is looking to get something different out of going to California.
“For a few of them, it will be a chance to redeem themselves after conference,” said Zeller. “For Katie it’s about experience. For others, like Simon, it will be a chance to build off what they did at conference.”