WSU Cross Country Kicks Off Season At Idaho Invitational

Sept. 6, 2001

Idaho Invitational, Moscow, Idaho
Friday, September 7, 2001
5:15 p.m. Women's 4,000 meter race
6 p.m. Men's four mile race

THIS WEEK: The Washington State University men's and women's cross country teams open their season with a run for the border at the Idaho Invitational hosted by the University of Idaho in Moscow. The meet takes place at the Idaho Golf Course, and in addition to WSU and the host school, features teams from Gonzaga, Lewis-Clark State, Whitman and Whitworth. The women will compete on a 4,000 meter course beginning at 5:15 p.m. and the men will run four miles starting at 6 p.m.

WSU WOMEN: Senior Ryan (ry-anne) Gilmore is Washington State's strongest runner coming into the 2001 season. Last year, Gilmore finished fourth at the Idaho Invitational, behind WSU's Megan Maynard, who won the race. Juniors Anna Blue and Greta Johnson, as well as sophomores Ana Cabrera and Hilary Smith must also perform for the Cougars to be successful. Newcomers with a chance to contribute are junior Everlyne Lagat, and freshmen Brittney Boysen, Molly Bull, and Julia Corbett. Lagat, who is past WSU standout Bernard Lagat's younger sister, is a transfer from Malone College in Ohio, and was the NAIA Cross Country champion last year.

'Ryan is definitely our strongest returnee,' Li said. 'We have to pick it up from there. We have to decide about Greta's redshirt later in the season, before the important meets. We need to see what is best for her physically and mentally. Brittney and Molly were middle distance runners in high school but both can be a contributing factor, while Julia has excelled in cross country.'

WSU MEN: Seniors Oscar-Franco Parra and Jon Welsh lead the Cougar men into the 2001 cross country season. Last year, Franco Parra won the Idaho Invitational on the men's side. The Cougars also look for help from redshirt sophomores Will Thrift, Ian Johnson and Kyle Barker, as well as consistent running from senior Scott Johnson and junior Mark Wicklander. Freshman Dan Wolf, Mike Heidt, Justin Ireland and Jon Matheny also add depth and hope to contribute for the team this year.

'Both Oscar and Jon have improved significantly,' Li said. 'They will be our leaders, especially when we move up to 10k. This is a good and deep team. No one is as good as Bernard Lagat in 1998, but we have quite a few who are as good as our second man that year. For the last couple years, we've been saying this is a young team but now they have to come through. I hope they've paid their dues and this year is going to be the time for them to come out and actually get something done.'

NEXT WEEK: The Cougars host the WSU Invitational in Pullman at the WSU Golf Course. Competition begins at 1 p.m. with the women running a 4,000 meter course and the men running 6,000 meters. At the meet, WSU faces regional opponents Idaho, Eastern Washington and Gonzaga.

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