Eastern Gains Experience and Skill at Erik Anderson Invite

Freshman Acacia Smith is Eastern’s top finisher while men’s team doesn’t compete

The Eastern Washington University women’s cross country team rested their top runners on Saturday (Sept. 24) in favor of their younger, more inexperienced athletes at the Erik Anderson Invitational at Plante’s Ferry in Spokane, Wash.

With the top women’s runners and men’s team sitting out of the race, the women placed 20th overall. Eastern’s top five placers were freshman Acacia Smith (98th), freshman Katherine Bravo (107th), sophomore Meghan Auch (118th), freshman Dani Moon (144th) and freshman Lauren Brewington (146th).

“Acacia had a great run today,” said assistant coach Chris Hammer. “She fell at one point, but she got right back up and finished strong.”

Hammer also mentioned Bravo ran very well. It was her first race.

“She ran a good race,” he said. “She’s definitely going to be a bright spot for us in the future.”

Eastern viewed the Invite, which is considered a national preview for NCAA Division II Cross Country Champions, as a solid opportunity to gain experience for the younger runners. Having experienced runners sit out hurt the team, but Hammer believed that it was a great chance to gain more confidence and skill.

“I think it was definitely different to have some of our leaders out,” said Hammer. “But the freshmen handled themselves like collegiate athletes. They got to work and took care of business. It’s helping them prepare for the future.”

Next week the EWU men’s and women’s cross country team will be back in full force at the Montana Invitational in Missoula, Mont., on Friday (Sept. 30). It will be the first time that Eastern will get a glimpse at a Big Sky Conference opponent this season.

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