Huskies 'B' Squads Earn Top-10 Finishes at Willamette

Sept. 30, 2006

SALEM, Ore. - Washington's cross country squads concluded a busy weekend in the Willamette Valley Saturday morning, each earning top-10 finishes at the 32nd-annual Charles Bowles Invitational at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Ore. The meet was the second in as many days for the Huskies' cross country squads, which combined to defeat six ranked teams Friday -- including the No. 5 Duke women and No. 6 Texas men -- at the inaugural Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene.

With both the Huskies' men's and women's teams running the majority of their top returnees Friday, the UW's squads for Saturday's meet were largely developmental in nature, with most competitors in both teams' lineups earning their first opportunity to run in Washington's top-seven at a major regular-season competition.

Washington's men responded to the challenge with 97 points and a third-place finish, behind winner Cal (70) and runner-up Team XO (92) -- a professional team comprised largely of former Division-I competitors -- but ahead of equally-developmental squads from 17th-ranked Oregon (4th, 112), No. 8 Portland (5th, 138) and No. 6 Texas (9th, 205).

Senior Matt Owen made a bid for a spot on the Huskies' 'A' squad with a 10th-place individual finish, his time of 24 minutes, 44 seconds a minute behind that of winner Forest Braden of Boise State (23:53). Besides Owen, none of the Huskies other top-five finishers had ever run in that position before, with sophomores Austin Abbott (28th, 25:09), James Wilson (34th, 25:14), Tom Peterson (36th, 25:15) and red shirt freshman Joe Darda (38th, 25:18) each making their first ever top-five appearances for UW.

Experience won out for the Husky women as well, who were led by senior Sayaka Yoshinaga's 12th-place finish. The finish -- a career-best for Yoshinaga both in terms of time (17:59 for 5,000 meters) and place -- appeared to signal good things for Washington's B squad, but a gap of 45 seconds between Yoshinaga and the team's No. 2 finisher, freshman Lindsey Kirschman (46th, 18:44), pushed the Huskies down in the team standings. Senior Brianna McLeod followed one second behind Kirschman in 47th, with freshman Lauren Ho 70th (19:15), sophomore Olivia Garrow 75th (19:21) and red shirt freshman Emily Collins 76th (19:25).

The resulting team score of 192 points put the Huskies eighth, as newcomers Oregon State -- competing in just their second season of cross country since restoring the program in 2005 -- earned the win with 40 points, ahead of Boise State (120) and Idaho (121). Former Vandals All-American Dee Olson captured the race's individual crown, crossing the line in a remarkable 17:02 to win by more than 30 seconds.

Tenth-year head coach Greg Metcalf says that while finishing high in the team standings is always a goal, this meet was as much about development as anything else.

'We usually bring an `A' team down here each year, but with the Oregon meet being scheduled for last night, this gave us a chance to travel a `B' squad and give those folks who might only get 1-2 opportunities a year to run against top-level competition a chance to show us what they could do,' Metcalf said.

'I thought our men did a great job of staying close together and not letting those gaps get very large -- we had only 34 seconds between our No. 1 and No. 5 guys, and our sixth guy was right behind them, so that's what you like to see,' he continued . 'We got a little bit spread out on the women's side, but you expect that a little bit with a young group, and folks that aren't used to looking for each other on the course and knowing where they're going to be. On the whole, though, I think this weekend was a big success. On one hand, we were able to measure ourselves against the best teams in the country on Friday, then on Saturday were able to get a longer look at some of our younger folks. We definitely have a better knowledge now fo where we stand as a team, and what we need to do to be even better in two weeks.'

Washington will return to the course Oct. 14 for the final meet of the abbreviated cross country regular season, the Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. Nearly all of the nation's elite squads will be in attendance at the meet, held on the same LaVerne Gibson Course that hosts the NCAA Championships in November.

For complete results of the 2006 Charles Bowles Invitational, visit www.gohuskies.com.

2006 Charles Bowles Invitational
Sept. 30, 2006
Bush`s Pasture Park; Salem, Ore.

Men's Results (8,000m)
Top-10 Teams: 1. California 70; 2. Team XO 92; 3. Washington 97; 4. Oregon 112; 5. Portland 138; 6. Boise State 144; 7. San Francisco 165; 8. Idaho 167; 9. Texas 205; 10. Spokane CC 255.
Individual Winner: Forest Braden, Boise State, 23:53
Husky Finishers: 10. Matt Owen, 24:44; 28. Austin Abbott, 25:09; 34. James Wilson, 25:14; 36. Tom Peterson, 25:15; 38. Joe Darda, 25:18; 41. Brad Liber, 25:24; 47. Brian Govier*, 25:32; 49. Ryan Brown, 25:35; 66. Zack Gussin*, 25:51; 86. Jordan Swarthout, 26:10; 102. Chris Glaser*, 26:27.

Women's Results (5,000m)
Team Results:
1. Oregon State 40; 2. Boise State 120; 3. Idaho 121; 4. Portland State 136; 5. San Francisco 139; 6. UC Davis 156; 7. San Diego State 184; 8. Washington 192; 9. Eastside Track Club 197; 10. Portland 'B' 214.
Individual Winner: Dee Olson, Unattached, 17:02
Husky Finishers: 12. Sayaka Yoshinaga, 17:59; 46. Lindsey Kirschman, 18:44; 47. Brianna McLeod, 18:45; 70. Lauren Ho, 19:15; 75. Olivia Garrow, 19:21; 76. Emily Collins, 19:25.

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