Men’s team not participating; top seven women sitting out
The Eastern Washington University women’s cross country team will be running in the Erik Anderson Invitational Saturday (Sept. 24) for the first time in the meet’s four-year existence. The race will be held in Spokane, Wash., at Plante’s Ferry Park.
Head coach Chris Zeller is holding out EWU’s top seven runners and using this meet to build experience for the newcomers. The race will be 6,000 meters, which is the longest race to date for many of the freshmen. The men will not be running.
“We’re sending a really young group,” he said. “I was looking at the list and the vast majority of the runners are all freshmen. It’s just an opportunity to get some more running experience. It will help them race their way into shape.”
According to Zeller, the meet is considered the national preview for Division II schools. It will be hosted by the Spokane Regional Sports Commissions, which is also host to the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships on Nov. 19 at Plante’s Ferry.
“There will definitely be a high level of competition, even higher than last weekend at Sundodger,” said Zeller. “Our team is going to be in a great race to learn and develop their skill.”
Typically, Zeller likes having a race every other weekend for the team, but the chance to run in the Erik Anderson was something he didn’t want to miss. By resting his top runners, and the entire men’s team, Zeller will be able to see other runners as they make their case to run at the Big Sky Conference Championships.
“Some of them may go on to race at the conference championships, so they may be a little more tested and have this experience when we get there,” said Zeller. “One freshman I’m excited to see is Katherine Bravo. She is more of a sprinter, but she is planning to do the steeplechase for us during the Track and Field season. But with her hip flexibility and mobility, she has the potential and talent to surprise a lot of people.”
Zeller is looking forward to the Missoula Invitational in two weeks on Sept. 30, where he will have his top runners participate.
“I’m looking forward to visiting Montana,” he said. “It will be the first time we get to see some of our conference opponents before the Big Sky Championships.”
The Big Sky Conference Championships will be hosted by Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho on Oct. 29.