Cougars Host Cross Country Invitational

Oct. 7, 2003

Saturday, October 11, 2003Cougar Cross Country InvitationalWSU Golf Course, Pullman, Wash.10 a.m. PT Women's 6,000m race11 a.m. PT, Men's 8,000m race

THIS WEEK: Washington State hosts Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, and Athletics Calgary for the Cougar Cross Country Invite Saturday...the Cougar Invite will give the WSU a chance to compete on the same course that will be used for the Pac-10 Championships in November.

WSU WOMEN: The women harriers are led by senior Anna Blue, juniors Ana Cabrera, Molly Bull and Julia Corbett...the upperclassmen will be joined by freshmen Grace Coulter, Karen DeMartini, Kayle Peterson, Kelly Ramirez, Natalie Smith, and Katie Troy...Blue looks to improve on her 2002 finish of third place last year.

WSU MEN: The Washington State men were ranked 24th, in the Mondo Men's NCAA Division I poll, conducted by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association, last week after a strong performance at the Roy Griak Invitational...WSU fell to 28th in the poll this week after a week off...the Cougars will be led by junior Danny Wolf and senior Ian Johnson...juniors Mike Heidt and Justin Ireland, sophomore Reid Carrell, and freshmen Ryan Freimuth, Alex Grant, Andrew Jones, Matt Knoff, and Chris Williams round out the squad...Wolf, who already defended Idaho Invitational earlier in the season, looks to defend his Cougar Invite victory.

LAST YEAR AT THE COUGAR INVITE: The men swept the competition led by first and second place finishes by Wolf and Johnson in the women's race, Blue and Cabrera hustled to third and fourth place finishes in the 5,000m race.

COACH Jason Drake ON THE COUGAR INVITE: 'Our top guys will be running together at the front and I expect them to do well. Anna Blue should be near the front on the women's side of the meet. Calgary had a couple good guys and a good woman come down last year so I'm not really sure what they have but there'll be some people up there running with them.'

'I just want the Cougar runners to get a good hard effort in. We don't want to kill ourselves too bad because we have to turn around a few days later and go out to Iowa for the pre-nationals. We definitely want to win on our home course. We want to beat those other teams, but we should be able to do that pretty handily.'

DRAKE ON THE MEN'S NO. 28 RANKING: 'Since the last meet, we've been training pretty hard. The guys got ranked for the first time since 1997 or something like that so we're excited about that. We're so close to some other good teams that we're starting to believe that we're pretty good runners, but we still have a long way to go. Nothing really counts until the meet next weekend when the championship season really starts.'

DRAKE ON THE WOMEN'S TEAM: 'The women are about a year away from where the men are at now. At the Minnesota meet our team average was about a minute faster per person than a year ago. Our 10th runner was as good as our fourth runner a year ago, so the women are really, really improved over last year. There were so many good teams on the women's side that we placed the same as a year ago even though we ran so much faster. That experience in those big meets is really crucial. I still expect as freshmen to improve every time out. I really think we can get in the top four or five at the conference meet. It is still reasonable for us to be shooting for. That would be good because our conference is so tough this year.'

NEXT COMPETITION: WSU compete next week at the Pre NCAA Meet, October 18, at Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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