The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Cougar cross country gets off to running start at home

Coug sets meet record as both teams win
Three Cougs lead the pack during the Cougar Classic on Sept. 15, 2023 Credit: Washington State University/Bob Hubner

WSU Cross Country came close to having two perfect races on Saturday at the Cougar Classic Invitational at the Colfax Golf Club. The Cougs swept against a field that was expanded from last year, with their opponents now being the University of Idaho, Gonzaga, Eastern Oregon, Lewis-Clark State and Northwest University. 

Cougs took first, second, third, fourth and eighth in the men’s race. In a repeat of last year, juniors Brian Barsaiya and Kelvin Limo led the pack. Barsaiya set a course record with a time of 23:41.3 in the eight-kilometer race, with Limo coming in almost exactly nine seconds behind him at 23:50.5. The next Cougar runners were a promising freshman out of Gig Harbor Micah Galeana and returning sophomore Kyle Ortega-Gammill, who came third and fourth among eligible runners. 

The final scoring runner for the Cougs was junior Leif Swanson. Swanson had a tough race last year and ended up having to drop out before the finish line. This year he managed eighth place, tying together a Cougar unit that dominated the competition.

“This is definitely exciting for me, I definitely am going to use this as motivation and as something positive to take away from this,” Swanson said after the race. 

The Cougs returned a large amount of the team from last year, Swanson being one of them, and they have come back with renewed ambition.

“My personal goal would be to not only get myself to nationals but also to contribute to getting the team to nationals,” Swanson said. “That’s something I want to see in my time here, and the sooner it happens the better.”

The men’s team ended up scoring a dominant 18 points, beating the next closest team by 40 points.

Cross-country races are scored by combining the top five runner’s places from each team. A lower score is better, and an 18 is three points off of the best you can possibly have.

The women’s team did not dominate to quite the same extent, but it still was not all that close.

The Cougs took the top three spots in the women’s race, with returning seniors Neema Kimtai and Caroline Jerotich leading as they so often do, coming in at 20:33.8 and 20:52.1 respectively. Third place went to Cristina Molteni, a senior out of Italy who joined and competed with Cougar Track and Field last spring. She finished at 21:08.8. 

The last two scoring Cougs were freshman Nicole Bissell and junior Maya Nichols, coming in fifth and nineteenth respectively.

The Cougs won with 30 points, 15 ahead of Gonzaga and 25 ahead of Idaho.

The season is young, but the Cougs already look improved from last year. The returning cast has developed greatly, and with a few new faces in the mix, the Cougs have a shot at being a force in the West Region. The next action for the Cougs is at Notre Dame’s Piane Invitational on Sept. 29 in South Bend, Indiana.

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About the Contributor
HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor
Hayden Stinchfield is a senior in Criminology from Washougal, WA. He is considered by some experts to be the greatest to ever spot birds. Hayden began working at the Evergreen in fall 2022, and became Sports Co-Editor in summer 2023.