Eagles Ready to be Competitive at Big Sky Cross Country Championships
Curnutt added to men’s roster for final conference meet of the season
The Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s cross country teams will be making their way to Pocatello, Idaho, on Oct. 29 for the Big Sky Cross Country Championships.
Pocatello has an elevation of 4,462 feet, which is something neither team has experienced much this season.
“Their course has a lot of hills, which is something we haven’t had a chance to see yet,” said head coach Chris Zeller about Pocatello’s elevation. “But our teams are competitive and mentally tough. They’ll be just fine.”
The men’s and women’s team are bringing seven and eight runners, respectively, to the championships. The Eastern men will be suiting up senior Bowe Ebding, senior Graham Vaux, junior Simon Sorenson, junior Drake DaPonte, freshman Quin Olivas, freshman Nathan Fall and a last-minute addition of junior Jordan Curnutt.
On the women’s side, senior Tonya Turner, senior Stephanie Dye, freshman Katie Mahoney, sophomore Angelica Rodriguez, sophomore Micaela Rasmussen, freshman Acacia Smith, sophomore Kimberly Macias and freshman Dani Moon will be running.
An injury over the summer kept Curnutt from competing for Eastern until now.
“It will be nice to have Jordan with us,” said Zeller. “We wanted him all season, but he was injured so we chose to have him rest up for track season. He’s a great runner and will definitely mix it up with Drake, Quin and Nathan.”
DaPonte dropped out of the Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic (INCCC) on Oct. 14 due to a nagging calf injury he’s had all season. It was the second race that he was unable to finish this year.
“Drake is cross training right now, and he will all the way up to the race,” said Zeller. “He’s just going to give it a go at conference and hope for the best.”
Turner, a transfer from Whitworth, has finished in the top ten of every race this season. She finished fourth at the INCCC, just two seconds behind the winner.
“She left that last race wanting more,” said Zeller. “For her, it’s about finding that extra gear, and if she finds it, she’s going to do big things at the championships.”
Mahoney, the women’s No. 2 runner, has earned praise from Zeller at practice all week. She has improved on all of her times.
“I honestly see Katie allowing herself to take some risks,” said Zeller. “Since the Montana Invitational, she’s been gaining confidence and learning what she’s capable of doing. She’s realizing that she can be really, really good.”
Last year, the men and women finished fifth and seventh, respectively, at the conference championships. Both teams have a new-look roster, as the two front runners in Kyle King (redshirt) and Amy Kolin (graduation) are not on the team.
Simply put, Zeller is hoping for his team to be competitive.
“I hope they use their competitiveness as a launching pad,” said Zeller. They’ve had great workouts all week. Hopefully they feel rested and ready to go at conference. They should certainly have a great race.”