Back of the Pac: Cross-country overshadowed at Pac-12 Championships

From staff reports

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The Cougars’ cross-country teams were spooked by their competition at the Pac-12 Championships Friday morning.

The WSU harriers raced on their home course at the Colfax Golf Club as WSU was hosting the championship meet.

Topping the charts for WSU were junior John Whelan and sophomore Michael Williams in the men’s 8000m race. Whelan finished ninth with a time of 23 minutes and 26.5 seconds, which he said met his goal.

“Coach (Wayne) Phipps and I were talking last night and we felt top 10 was a realistic finish and that’s what I was shooting for contribute to the team today,” Whelan said in a press release. “My overall fitness and training has been so much better this year, as it should be as you progress through a career.”

Williams completed the course in 23:29 to finish in 12th place. The next WSU finisher was sophomore Sam Levora in 32nd. After him came the first freshman, Chandler Tiegen, in 24:24. The final scorer for the men’s team was freshman Jake Finney, who finished in 46th.

The WSU men finished with 96 points and came in sixth for the Pac-12 Championship. The women’s team recorded a 10th place finish as a team and did not execute with the same success as the men.

“The women were a little behind where we wanted to be today,” Director of Cross-Country and Track & Field Wayne Phipps said in a press release. “CharLee (Linton, senior) was pretty sick going into this race and being the trooper that she is, she gutted it out and ran really well. Her being shifted back (in the field) set the tone for our women’s team and given that, resulted in us being a couple of spots lower than we had hoped.”

Finishing in 38th in 20:51, Linton was the first Cougar to cross the finish line for the women’s team. Sophomore Devon Bortfeld took 49th place and junior Morgan Willson came in 54th. The scoring was rounded out for the Cougars by junior Steffie Pavey with a time of 21:51, and senior Emily Dwyer took the 85th spot.

The teams will head back to Seattle for the NCAA West Regional race on Nov. 13 at Jefferson Park Golf Course.

Reporting by Casie Moe