Growing Pains Pleasant for Cross Country Program
Dec. 16, 2003
THE SEASON: The goal at the outset of the season was to move up in the Pac-10 and to gain experience for the future...while the end result wasn't what Coach Jason Drake had envisioned the team is clearly getting better...women had a bad day at the Pac-10 Championships, finishing eighth, but still scored much better than in 2002...men also had a better score than 2002 and still dropped a spot to sixth.
17 NEWCOMERS: This season's version of the cross country program had very few things in common with last year's team and one of those is change...season began with 17 newcomers to the program including seven freshmen on both the men's and women's sides...the added depth to the team allowed Coach Drake to field a full team unlike during the 2002 campaign...that trend should slow next season as only Anna Blue has run out of eligibility for the women and Ian Johnson and Steve Barrus are the lone seniors on the men's squad.
WSU WOMEN:Anna Blue (RS-Sr., Olympia, Wash.) Blue earned a spot as an at-large qualifier for the NCAA National Championships, finishing 78th...Blue was the top Cougar finisher in all six races of the season...she got the season off to a fast start with a second place finish at the Idaho Jamboree Cross Country Meet...Blue had one of her best performances of the year at Pre-Nationals finishing 14th...she finished 12th at West Regionals to earn a spot at Nationals.Molly Bull (Jr., Oak Harbor, Wash.) Bull had a roller coaster season...she finished 12th at the Idaho Jamboree and sixth at the Cougar Invite...Bull scored in five out six meets this season.Ana Cabrera (RS-Jr., Vancouver, Wash.) Cabrera was consistently a benefit to the team in 2003...she finished second among Cougars in five of six races...the exception was a 10th place finish at Idaho, good for third among WSU scorers...Cabrera posted a fourth place finish at the Cougar Invite...Cabrera had a good race at Pac-10 Championships with a 25th place finish.Julia Corbett (Jr., Bremerton, Wash.) Corbett fought through leg injuries early in the season to score in three of six races...ran to 11th place finish at Idaho Jamboree.Grace Coulter (Fr., Bellingham, Wash.) Coulter competed in three meets, but did not score for the Cougars in 2003.Karen DeMartini (Fr., Reno, Nev.) Ran unattached at Idaho Jamboree finishing seventh as the third Cougar to cross the finish...finished eighth at Cougar Invite, in only race she scored...missed final two races due to illness.Danielle Mingione (Fr., Sammamish, Wash.) Walked on to team after the season began...did not compete for WSU in 2003.Kayle Peterson (Fr., Port Orchard, Wash.) Had best finish in her first collegiate meet at Idaho Jamboree with sixth place finish overall and was second Cougar to finish...was third Cougar finisher in four races in 2003...did not compete at Cougar Invite.Kelly Ramirez (Fr., Duvall, Wash.) Scored for WSU at Roy Griak Invitational as fourth Cougar to finish...only ran in three races all season due to leg injuries.Natalie Smith (Fr., Bellingham, Wash.) Smith scored in two races for WSU...finished 11th at Cougar Invite and 52nd at Pac-10 Championships...competed in four races for Cougs.Katie Troy (Fr., Bellevue, Wash.) Troy scored in two meets for WSU this season...competed in four meets as a freshman...Troy finished 12th at the Cougar Invite...finished 53rd at Pac-10 Championships as the fifth Cougar to finish.Megan Walker-Richards (So., Bremerton, Wash.) Did not compete for Cougars in 2003.Hailey Young (So., Kent, Wash.) Young scored for Cougars as their fifth finisher at Cougar Invite with 21st place finish overall...competed in three meets in 2003.
DRAKE'S THOUGHTS ON COUGAR WOMEN: 'Having all of these people back another year and these freshmen knowing what they know now should help us a lot for next year. Experience is crucial and if you haven't been in races like Pre-Nationals or Regionals before, having another shot to go back there definitely helps a lot. We would love for Ana (Cabrera) to come back, but she has the opportunity to graduate this summer. She's my number one recruit right now. I would like her leadership. We're going to be very young again next year, with all of these freshmen being sophomores and with the new women coming in. Any leadership we can get from her would be excellent. (Cabrera), Molly (Bull), and Julia Corbett are great leaders for our team to follow.'
WSU MEN:Steve Barrus (TR-Sr., Clovis, Calif.) Barrus competed in four meets for the Cougs in 2003...scored for WSU once at Cougar Invite with 10th place finish.Reid Carrell (So., Spokane, Wash.) Carrell competed for WSU twice in 2003 without scoring for the team...spent season recovering from bicycle wreck injuries just before the season started.Geoff Casazza (Fr.-RS, Reno, Nev.) Red-shirted in 2003.Chris Concha (Fr.-RS, Reno, Nev.) Red-shirted in 2003.Daniel Frederick (Fr., Bremerton, Wash.) Did not compete for Cougars in 2003.Ryan Freimuth (RS-Fr., Wenatchee, Wash.) Competed in three meets for the Cougs in 2003...scored at Idaho Jamboree with seventh place finish overall...battled injuries during the second half of the season.Alex Grant (Fr., Bellingham, Wash.) Competed in five meets for WSU scoring in two...Grant scored at Cougar Invite with 13th place finish...scored again on home course at Pac-10 Championships finishing 51st.Mike Heidt (Jr., Selah, Wash.) Heidt was among the top three Cougars to finish in all six races in 2003...finished second overall at Idaho Jamboree...was top Cougar to finish at West Regionals finishing 29th after finishing 32nd at the Pac-10 Championships.Justin Ireland (Jr., Issaquah, Wash.) Competed in four races for WSU, scoring in one...best race of the season was at West Regionals helping the team to 9th with 80th place finish.Ian Johnson (Sr., Spokane, Wash.) Johnson finished among top three Cougars in all six meets in 2003...was the first WSU runner to finish at Pre-Nationals and Pac-10 Championships finishing 64th and 14th respectively...finished his career with 40th place finish at West Regionals.Andrew Jones (Fr., Gillette, Wyo.) Jones was the fourth scorer for WSU in all six races of the season...finished fifth overall at Idaho Jamboree and sixth overall at Cougar Invite...had impressive 33rd place finish at Pac-10 Championships.Matt Knoff (Fr., Pocatello, Idaho) Competed in five races for WSU scoring three times...Knoff finished sixth at Cougar Invite as WSU's fifth scorer...finished eighth at Idaho Jamboree running unattached.Jonathan Manthey (Jr., Federal Way, Wash.) Manthey competed in one meet for the Cougars finishing 42nd at the Cougar Invite.Chris Williams (Fr., Federal Way, Wash.) Williams ran in two meets for the Cougs in 2003, but did not score in either event...finished 13th overall at Idaho Jamboree while running unattached.Danny Wolf (Jr., Reno, Nev.) Wolf was the top finisher for the Cougars three times in 2003 and in the top three all six races...Wolf successfully defended his titles at both the Idaho Jamboree and the Cougar Invite...his best race of the season was a 20th place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational.
DRAKE'S THOUGHTS ON COUGAR MEN: 'Danny Wolf and Mike Heidt will be back again up front. Any of these freshmen, Jones, Knoff, Grant are going to be good. It's just taking some time to get experience under their belt. A couple guys that red-shirted, Concha and Casazza, had some good runs and Chris Williams, a walk-on, has looked awesome in training lately. It's exciting to think about them in the future. Hopefully some of the lessons they've learned this year in some of those races this year will pay off next year. We lacked a consistent fifth runner all year, but next year I think we'll have five runners and be lacking a six or seventh. But we've got Ryan Freimuth who could help if we can keep him healthy, and Geoff Casazza had some good open races this year. Reid Carrell could also help fill the void back there around the fifth position. We're going to have some more depth than we did a year ago. It's amazing what a couple years of running does a lot of wonders for some of these guys. It takes a couple years of training to get strong to get healthy and be ready to roll.'
PAC-10 HONORS: The Cougars placed eight student-athletes on Pac-10 Conference Cross Country honors teams in 2003, including:
All-Pac-10 Conference Second Team Ian Johnson, RS-Sr.
Women's All-Academic First Team Ana Cabrera, RS-Jr., 3.95, Communication
Second Team Julia Corbett, Jr., 3.69, Business Administration
Second Team Mike Heidt, Jr., 3.50, Biology