Cross Country Heads Across State To Sundodger Invitational

Sept. 19, 2001

Sundodger Invitational, Lincoln Park, Seattle
Saturday, September 22, 2001
10:15 a.m. Women's 5,000 meter race
10:45 a.m. Men's 8,000 meter race

THIS WEEK: The Washington State University men's and women's cross country teams head across the state to Seattle for the Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park. Competition begins at 10:15 a.m. with the women running a 5,000 meter course, followed by the men's 8,000 meter race at 10:45 a.m. The Cougars will race against men's and women's teams from Washington, UCLA, Auburn, Idaho, Portland State, Boise State and Eastern Washington. Women's teams from Oregon and Portland will also compete.

'Having Pac-10 competition like Washington, UCLA, and Oregon's women is really what we need right now to help us get ready for the rest of the season,' WSU coach James Li said. 'Facing significant competition is good experience for our athletes and helps them improve their competitiveness.'

WSU WOMEN: Everlyne Lagat got off to a fast start in her first meet as a Cougar two weeks ago. The junior transfer from Malone College in Ohio, who is the younger sister of former All-American, NCAA Champion, and Olympic bronze medallist Bernard Lagat, now an assistant coach for WSU, won the Idaho Invitational by nearly 15 seconds. Senior Ryan Gilmore and junior Anna Blue, who finished ninth and third, respectively, will also be vying for the top spots at this weekend's meet. Senior Jenny Filipy ran well at Idaho as well, placing seventh. Three WSU freshmen also looked impressive in their first collegiate meet. Brittney Boysen led the freshman Cougars placing 16th, Molly Bull followed in 21st and Julia Corbett finished 22nd.

'Lagat, coming in right away last week, running the race she did, says a lot about her talent,' Li said. 'I fully expect her to improve as the season progresses. With Ana Cabrera out at least four weeks with a stress fracture, some of our freshmen will need to step up.'

WSU MEN: The WSU men looked nothing less than dominant in their first meet of the season, notching the top four spots at the Idaho Invitational two weeks ago. Sophomore Ian Johnson won the meet and senior Oscar Franco-Parra placed second, both having identical times of 20 minutes, 15 seconds. Senior Jon Welsh placed third, and freshman Mike Heidt grabbed fourth place in his first collegiate meet. Like the women's team, the Cougar men also had some impressive performances from their freshmen. In addition to Heidt's fourth place, WSU freshman Mike Barbero finished ninth, and freshman Justin Ireland 23rd.

'Sophomore Will Thrift is having some problems with an injured foot, some we will also need some help from our freshmen on the men's side,' Li said. 'These freshmen runners help us add some high quality depth, which will be our team's key this year.'

NEXT WEEK: The Cougars men and women head to Minneapolis for the Roy Griak Invitational.

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