Pre-Nationals Provide Opportunity, Challenge for Cross Country

Oct. 10, 2007

THIS WEEK: The Washington State University cross country teams travel to Terre Haute, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 13, for competition at the Brooks Pre-Nationals Invitational...another group of Cougar runners will compete at the EWU Invitational at Cheney, Wash.

THE PRE-NATIONALS: The meet takes place at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind...LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course is mainly's and women's races are divided into two seeded sections, Blue and White, that have the teams divided equally to ensure top competition in each race...Cougar men will face off against 79 other teams, including eight of the top 10 teams in the nation and 26 teams of the top 30 teams will compete...Oregon (No. 1), Stanford (No. 5), UCLA (No. 19), Arizona State (No. 20), and Washington (No. 27) will all compete from the Pac-10...women's team is one of 76 teams expected to take part in the event with 23 of the top 30 teams in the country represented, including Pac-10 rivals Stanford (No. 1), Oregon (No. 3), Arizona State (No. 6), and Washington (No. 12)...8,000m men's races will begin at 11 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. ET...women's 6,000m races will follow at 12:20 p.m. and 12:55 p.m. ET...for more information and results, visit

DRAKE'S TAKE ON PRE-NATIONALS: 'We really want to beat a few teams here and help our cause,' WSU Head Coach Jason Drake said. 'I think that's very reasonable for us to do. We have run at this course a lot. They know this course very well, a lot of these kids are in their third or fourth time there. That experience will help them quite a bit and I'm really excited to see what will happen this weekend.'

THE EWU INVITATIONAL: The Eastern Washington University Invitational is a small format meet that includes mainly regional entries takes place on the grass athletic fields at the university with the women's 5,000m race beginning at 10 a.m. and the men's 8,000m race scheduled for 10:30 a.m....additional information can be found at the EWU website,

WSU WOMEN: Washington State will be represented by seven runners at the Pre-Nationals meet...sophomore Sara Trané, junior Meghan Leonard, and seniors Collier Lawrence and Isley Gonzalez lead the Cougars...also competing in Indiana are sophomores Chelsea VanDeBrake and Lisa Egami, and freshman Ashlee Wall...sophomore Marisa Sandoval, redshirt freshman Becky Williams, and freshmen Amanda Andrews and Jessica Crannell will head to Cheney, Wash., for the EWU Invitational.

WSU MEN: Seniors Alex Grant and Andrew Jones plan to build off an excellent showing at the Griak Invite in their fourth trip to Pre-Nationals...other top competitors for the Cougars include seniors Drew Polley and Chris Williams, and junior Woody Favinger...sophomores Dan Geib and Dominic Smargiassi, and redshirt freshman Luke Lemenager will also run this weekend...freshmen Sean Coyle and David Hickerson round out the Cougar Pre-National competitors...senior Chris Concha and redshirt sophomore Sam Ahlbeck will also travel to Cheney, Wash., for the EWU Invitational.

LAST YEAR AT THE PRE-NATIONALS: At the 2006 meet, Haley Paul led the women's team to 17th place as the 23rd woman to cross the finish line...Chelsea VanDeBrake (99th), Collier Lawrence (103rd), Isley Gonzalez (105th), Meghan Leonard (133rd), and Sara Trané (155th) all hope to improve on last year's results...WSU men placed 20th for the second year in a row...Woody Favinger, Andrew Jones, and Alex Grant ran to 44th, 58th, and 86th places respectively.

REGIONAL RANKINGS: In the Oct. 8, 2007, USTFCCCA Division I West Region polls the men's and women's teams are both ranked ninth.

NEXT COMPETITION: WSU takes a week off before heading to Corvallis, Ore., to compete in the Pac-10 Championships Oct. 27.

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