Freshman Katie Mahoney and senior Bowe Ebding are Eastern's top placers
The Eastern Washington University men's and women's cross country teams both placed fourth in their respective races Saturday (Sept. 3) in the 2011 Clash of the Inland Northwest in Spokane, Wash., at Mead High School.
The other teams participating were Gonzaga, Washington State, Idaho and Whitworth. Washington State's teams won both races.
The men's race was 6,200 meters and the women ran 4,200 meters. Freshman Katie Mahoney led the Eagles by placing 20th. For the men, senior Bowe Ebding finished in 15th.
Head coach Chris Zeller was pleased with the way the women ran, especially since the majority of them were newcomers, and that four of the top seven runners sat out.
"The girls that went ran pretty well," he said. "All of the young women stepped up nicely. (Sophomore) Micaela Rasmussen (28th place) did really well. She's much stronger than last year. Sophomores Megan Auch and Kimberly Macias did really well also. They stepped up their game. I was pleased with all three of them."
Zeller mentioned that the men had a game plan going into the race. He wanted them to stick together and run as a pack. But as the race went on, the team slowly drifted apart from each other and the game plan fell through.
"The guys didn't execute the game plan we had very well," said Zeller. "We wanted to keep a pack of five for the first part of the race, and then work up the second half. They went out conservatively -- a little too much more than I would have liked. The guys have a lot of room for improvement, definitely."
With the first race of the season out of the way, the Eagles can now focus on training and getting their top runners healthy for upcoming events.
"We need more people healthy," said Zeller. "That's kind of our first goal. Beyond that, we have a tough couple of training weeks coming up. Then we will be racing again."
Eastern's next meet will be the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 17 in Seattle, Wash.