Coug cross country tees off season at home invitational

Men take individual wins as women take team wins in opener



WSU’s Brian Barsaiya (left), Kelvin Limo (middle), and Leif Swanson (right) race across Colfax Golf Club, Sep. 5.

Hayden Stinchfield, Evergreen sports co-editor

The WSU cross country Invitational at the Colfax Golf Club was held Thursday kicking off the season close to home against University of Idaho Vandals.

The men’s team did not win their half of the competition, but the day was not without success, as two Cougs took first and second: Kenyan sophomores Brian Barsaiya and Kelvin Limo. Barsaiya led all Idaho runners by 29 seconds with a time of 17:45, while Limo led the same pack of Vandals by 13 seconds for a time of 18:00.7. The third Cougar runner was Kyle Ortega-Gammill, who came sixth in a promising debut for the freshman runner out of Nevada.

The men’s team ended up scoring 30 points to Idaho’s 27, in a narrow loss, according to Athletic.Net.

The women’s team, on the other hand, managed to get the win by using tactics that were planned by new coach Laura Harmon.

Cross country races are scored by combining the top five runner’s places from each team. This means that a pack strategy in which runners run together to both score low and displace a large number of the other team’s runners is often the most effective strategy.

“The big thing that I told them coming into this was that I wanted them to work together and I think they executed that really well, I was like ‘I want you guys to work together, I want you guys to be together at 2k,'” Harmon said after the race.

The team gave coach Harmon what she wanted, as a pack of Cougs stayed together until the beginning of the end, splitting up a bit at 2000 meters to make for the finish.

Ultimately, the women’s team did not have a runner in the first place spot, but a standout performance and personal record by junior runner Alaina Stone Boggs at 13:30.2 got the Cougs the second place spot, followed by 3 more Cougs in Neema Kimtai, Caroline Jerotich and Mevin Jelagat.

This pack of Cougs led to an overall score of 21, easily besting Idaho who, despite having the leading runner, still ended up with a score of 34.

All in all, standout performances in both races show great potential for the young season. The next challenge for the Cougs comes at the Bill Dellinger Invitational which will begin at 11 a.m. on Sept. 23 at University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.