WSU Cross Country Season Begins at Gonzaga Preview

Aug. 28, 2007

THIS WEEK: The Washington State University men's and women's cross country teams begin the season Friday, August 31, at the Gonzaga Preview...teams will travel to Finch Arboretum in Spokane for the meet...women will race two and a half miles beginning at 5 p.m. followed by the men running a four-mile course starting at 5:40 p.m.

VETERAN RUNNERS LEAD THE WAY: Fourth-year head coach Jason Drake, in his sixth season as the mentor for Washington State cross country, has full rosters with 16 men and 15 women...Drake returns the most experienced teams to date...11 men and nine women on the 2007 Cougar squad have experience in a Pre-National, Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championship addition, six returning men ran at last year's NCAA Championships.

WSU WOMEN: The Cougar women have three seniors and one junior that return with significant race experience...Isley Gonzalez was a consistent top five finisher for WSU...Meghan Leonard had strong showings throughout the 2006 season...Haley Paul, an All-Pac-10 runner, will sit out the first part of the season due to injury, but will return in late October for the postseason stretch...junior runner and team captain Collier Lawrence was another consistent scorer for the team...sophomores Lisa Egami, Sara Trané, and Chelsea VanDeBrake, and redshirt sophomore Marisa Sandoval also return...redshirt freshmen Anna Layman, Stephanie Sipes, and Becky Williams could have an impact...Amanda Andrews, Jessica Crannell, Beth Mathison, and Ashlee Wall round out a talented Cougar squad.

WSU MEN: The WSU men return four seniors, two juniors, and one sophomore who were major contributors to 2006 team that received an at-large team bid for the NCAA Championships...seniors Chris Concha, Alex Grant, Andrew Jones, and Chris Williams are part of Drake's first recruiting class and bring three years of experience to the squad...Woody Favinger and Drew Polley were consistently top five finishers for WSU...Favinger dominated as highest placer for the Cougars in nearly every meet last season, including the NCAA Championships...sophomore Dan Geib emerged as a standout runner for WSU...also returning for the 2007 season are two juniors and a sophomore...Cougars add six freshmen, two who redshirted last season, that could have an immediate impact on the team.

WEARING CRIMSON AND GRAY FOR THE COUGS FRIDAY: Evan Blanshan, Woody Favinger, Dan Gieb, Alex Grant, Bob Hewitt-Gaffney, and Chris Williams...WSU women competing in uniform are Amanda Andrews, Jessica Crannell, Collier Lawrence, Sara Trané, Ashlee Wall, and Becky Williams.

RUNNING UNATTACHED FOR THE COUGS FRIDAY: Scheduled to run unattached are Sean Coyle, David Hickerson, Jeremy Swenson, and Peter Miller.

DRAKE'S TAKE ON THIS WEEKEND'S COMPETITION: 'We are concerned with getting some experience, with getting that first race under our belt,' said Drake.

Approaching from the East (City Center): Go west on Second Avenue to Sunset Highway past Government Way to Woodland Blvd. The sign and entrance to the Arboretum is located on the left-hand (south) side of the Sunset Highway.

Approaching from the West: Exit off I-90 at Garden Springs. Travel east down the Sunset Highway. Just past the intersection of 'F' Street and the Sunset Highway is the entrance to the Arboretum. The sign and entrance are on the right-hand (south) side of Sunset Highway.

NEXT UP: The Cougars will travel to Seattle to take part in the Sundodger Invitational, September 15 at Lincoln Park.

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