Cougars XC crosses another race off the list, women win

Head coach happy with results, looks forward to season



Melissa Hruska, Kiyena Betty, and Marie Gaudin run together during the women’s race on Friday at the Colfax Golf Club in Colfax, WA.

DAMIEN ALVARADO, Evergreen reporter

The WSU women’s cross country team finished first, while the men’s team came in second in the Cougar Classic Friday in Colfax, Washington.

This event featured WSU, Gonzaga, Idaho, Loyola Marymount and Portland State.

The women’s team finished with a total of 43 points, while Gonzaga came in second at 48. WSU had eight runners place in the top 25, and five of them were in the top 15. Sophomore Zorana Grujic finished first for the team and third in the race, with a time of 21:32.2.

“It was so hard mentally for me, because it was my second season in cross country, Grujic said. “[But] my teammates pushed me, so it was good.”

Redshirt senior Josie Brown finished second for the Cougars and fourth in the race, with a final time of 21:36.7. 

Head coach Wayne Phipps said he was happy with his team’s performance. He said the women’s squad pushed through after facing some adversity last season. The Cougars held out runners on both teams in today’s race, but Phipps has high hopes for the upcoming season.

“[We want to] manage our efforts carefully throughout the season so when we come to the big race, we are healthy and ready to roll,” Phipps said. “I feel like this is a group that has the capability to manage that throughout the season.”

The WSU men’s team finished second with junior Matthew Watkins finishing first for the team and eighth overall, with a time of 24:42.9.

Gonzaga University finished first in the men’s race with a final score of 22 and five runners in the top 10. 

 Senior Colton Johnsen finished second for the Cougars and ninth in the race, with a final time 24:43.7. WSU had a total of four runners in the top 14. Senior Justin Janke finished 12th in the race, with a time of 24:50.9, and freshman Sam Griffith followed, placing 14th in the race, with a final time of 24:56.7. 

“Over the last few years the men’s team finished as high as 14th in the nation and top 25 team annually. We did lose a handful of guys last season, but the group we have returning have all the capability of being a top 25 team,” Phipps said.

The Cougars will be competing on Sept. 28 in Springfield, Oregon for the Bill Dellinger Invitational.