Multiple Cougs Finish Inside the Top-20 at the Pac-12 Championships
SALT LAKE CITY- The Washington State men's and women's cross-country teams turned in multiple top-20 performances at the Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City on Friday, October 29, as the Cougar men finished fifth as a team, while the WSU women placed seventh overall.
Leading the way for Washington State men's team on the 8,000m course was junior Amir Ado. The Spokane, Washington native recorded a time of 24:30.6, earning him 18th overall. It is Ado's second top-20 finish of the season, as the junior also placed 12th at the Bill Dellinger back in September. By coming in 18th, Ado posted his best finish at a Pac-12 Cross Country Championship race, he finishes 10 places higher than his previous-best finish of 28th set at the 2018 Pac-12 Championships as a freshman.
WSU placed fifth overall as a team, scoring 146 points and finishing behind the four ranked-schools. The fifth place finish is the highest team finish since placing fifth in 2018. No. 3 Colorado won the Pac-12 Men's Cross Country Championship with a score of 39. Stanford's Charles Hicks won the individual title with a time of 23:34.9.
The next Coug to finish was senior Felix Wammetsberger. In his first Pac-12 Championship race, Wammetsberger crossed the line at 25:01.0 mark. The senior placed 28th out of the 80 collegiate runners. Right behind Wammetsberger was senior Zach Stallings, who gave the Cougs their third top-35 finish by coming 32nd overall with a time of 25:08.6.
Senior Matthew Watkins was next to cross the finish line at 38th, as the senior clocked in at 25:24.3 in his third appearance at the Pac-12 Championships. Sophomore Sam Griffith followed behind Watkins, completing the race in 25:45.8 for 45th place.
Sophomore Neema Kimtai posted a top-20 finish to lead the way for Washington State at the Pac-12 Women's Cross Country Championships. The sophomore completed the 6,000m course in 21:23.1 to finish 19th overall. Kimtai had her highest finish at the Pac-12 Championship in her WSU career, as she improved one-spot ahead of her finish at the 2020 Pac-12 Women's Cross Country Championships. Kimtai's performance at the Pac-12 Championships marks her second top-20 finish of the season.
The WSU women's cross country team scored 179 points to place seventh out of 12 teams, which included four ranked teams. The seventh place finish is the second highest team finish in the past 10 seasons. No. 4 Colorado won the 2021 Pac-12 Women's Cross Country Championship with 24 points. The Buffaloes own Abby Nichols won the individual title with a time of 20:25.4.
The next Cougar to place was sophomore Caroline Jerotich, who recorded a time of 21:41.5 to finish 29th out of 107 runners. It is also Jerotich's best finish at the event, placing 39 spots higher than her previous-best performance at the 2020 Pac-12 Championship. Following Jerotich was sophomore Alaina Stone Boggs, who came in 34th place with a time of 21:48.2. It marks the third time this season that the sophomore has posted a top-35 performance.
Crossing the line back-to-back was junior Zorana Grujic and senior Pia Richards. Grujic earned 59th after recording a time of 22:50.3, while Richards finished the course in 22:51.9 to place 60th.
Coach Wayne Phipps on the teams performance at the Pac-12 Championships : "It was a great step forward for both teams. They competed very well, especially in the latter part of the race. We had a number of outstanding individuals performances led by two incredible finishes by Amir and Neema. We are very excited and ready for regionals in two weeks."
Mark Your Calender
The WSU men's and women's cross country teams will be heading down to California for the NCAA West Regional. The West Regional will be held in Sacramento, Calif. at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex on Friday, November 12.
For more information on the Washington State cross country teams, follow @WSUCougarXCTF on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.