The Daily Evergreen

Cross-country splits up for races across the country

CASIE MOE | Evergreen cross-country reporter

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Whether they are traveling across the country or staying local, members of the Washington State cross-country team will race this Saturday with the hopes of seeing improvement across the board.

The top-seven runners from the men’s and women’s teams will be flying down to Louisville, Kentucky, to race at the course that will host the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21.

This meet, aptly named the Pre-Nationals Invitational, will take place at “Tom” Sawyer Park, and, like its namesake, the Cougar teams are excited for the adventure of the course.

“Most of the meets have been training through to this point,” freshman Jake Finney said.

In the Cougars’ last meet, the Washington Invitational, Finney finished fifth on the team to round out the scorers, and he has an opportunity to do that again in Louisville.

Physically, the men have been going through their “tapering week” and are just trying to be fresh for the meet. Mentally, though, they are focused on progressing.

“They’ve started off so well,” redshirt junior Morgan Willson said about the men’s team. “I think it should be a really good experience for them and as a team especially keeping that pack mentality of the guys moving on up gradually.”

Similarly, the women’s team needs to maintain its focus on packing. Adjusting to the travel time and different location will present a challenge. However, the extra day to view the course will come in handy since none of the Cougars attending have raced on this course before.

The athletes on the men’s team expected to compete at the Pre-Nationals include Finney, sophomore Sam Levora, freshman Nathan Wadhwani, junior John Whelan, freshman Nathan Tadesse, sophomore Michael Williams and freshman Chandler Teigen.

On the women’s team, those going to Kentucky are freshman Anisa Allaet, senior CharLee Linton, sophomore Devon Bortfeld, junior Steffie Pavey, freshman Katherine Dittmann, senior Emily Dwyer and Willson.

Those not flying cross-country are taking a quick bus ride to Community Park in Lewiston to race in the Inland Empire Challenge.

“This is a very important meet for our team as well,” Head Coach Wayne Phipps said. “I think it’s really important for those people that are right now our eight, nine and 10 but that are very close to being in our top seven, to continue to show what they can do and getting that race experience and keep that routine that we’ve now established of having a race every two weeks.”

The Inland Empire Challenge races start with the women’s 5k at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and the men will race their 8k at 11:45 a.m. The Pre-National Invitational starts earlier that same day in Kentucky at 6:30 a.m. PST for the men’s race, followed by the women’s 6k at 7:15 a.m. PST. Live results for Pre-Nationals will be posted at www.pttiming.com, and team and individual results will be posted for the Inland Empire Challenge at wsucougars.com.

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Cross-country splits up for races across the country