Cross Country Teams to Compete at Pre-Nationals at Iowa

Oct. 14, 2003

Saturday, October 18, 2003Pre-National Meet, Irv Warren Golf Course, Waterloo, Iowa9 and 9:40 a.m. PT Men's 8,000m races10:20 and 10:55 a.m. PT, Women's 6,000m races11:35 a.m. PT Men's 8,000m Open Race12:15 p.m. PT Women's 6,000m Open Race

THIS WEEK: Washington State travels to Waterloo, Iowa, for the Pre-Nationals Meet Saturday... hosted by the University of Northern Iowa...74 men's teams will compete...72 women's teams will's field includes 35 of the top 40 teams in the country...women will run against 28 of the top 40 teams in the country.

PRE-NATIONALS FORMAT: With so many teams competing, the meet will be split into six races, three each for the men and women...the races will be separated to create similar match-ups...only seven runners from each team are allowed to compete in a given race...the remaining runners will compete in an open race later in the day.

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 Karen DeMartini, Kayle Peterson, Kelly Ramirez, Natalie Smith, and Katie Troy...for the second year in a row Blue finished third in the Cougar Invite.

WSU MEN: The Cougars will be led by junior Danny Wolf...seniors Ian Johnson and Steve Barrus, juniors Mike Heidt and Justin Ireland, sophomore Reid Carrell, and freshmen Alex Grant, Andrew Jones, and Matt Knoff round out the squad...Wolf, who defended Idaho Invitational title earlier in the season, successfully defended his Cougar Invite title last Saturday.

MEN'S TEAM STILL RANKED: The men's team fell to No. 29 in this week's Mondo Men's NCAA Division I poll, conducted by the United States Cross Country Coaches Association...WSU dropped a spot for the second straight week despite a strong performance at the Cougar Cross Country Invitational.

LAST YEAR AT PRE-NATIONALS: The men ran to 22nd place finish out of 36 teams at Terre Haute, Ind...Johnson was the first Cougar to cross the finish line winding up 54th, while Wolf was the women's run the Cougars finished 36th out of 38 teams...Blue paced the team finishing 81st.

COACH Jason Drake ON PRE-NATIONALS: 'On the men's side, I think a top 10 finish is reasonable and that would be a good showing for us. When you're talking about approximately 17 ranked teams (in each race) and we were in the top 10 finish would be pretty good. On the women's side our goal is to beat all of the unranked teams. At the Griak we had a couple unranked teams beat us. I think (the women) are all a little bit stronger than they were at that point. The freshmen are getting a lot of experience and each race they look better and better.'

'This is an important race. I consider this race, and obviously the next two, the beginning of our championship season. For us to get to the NCAA (Championships) we have to do well this weekend. To get to the NCAA we pretty much have to step it up each week on the men's side. On the women's side I think we can compete with Oregon at the conference level. I'm not really sure at the regional how we stack up against some of those teams. We'd like to be in the top five of the conference on the women's side. We'll get a chance to run against Oregon this weekend, so we'll get to see how we compare with them.'

'We'll run Steve Barrus for the first time outside of the Palouse. Hopefully he can step up into that fifth spot and close the gap on Andrew Jones a little bit. That's the difference between if we're a really good team or just where we've been, if he can step up a little bit. He's been to these races for his first three years of college (at BYU). He has more experience than any guy on the team. His fitness every week is still coming along alright. He was nursing a little foot problem for a little while, but that seems to be alright. He's a race behind everyone else because he didn't go to the Griak (Roy Griak Invitational). I expect him to be substantially close to Andrew Jones by regionals.'

NEXT COMPETITION: The next competition for WSU will be November 1, when they host the Pac-10 Championships at the WSU Golf Course.

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