Cross-country enters Husky territory for Washington Invitational

From staff reports

The Cougars are heading back to the dawg house, and have their eyes set on a run-away victory.

The Washington State men’s and women’s cross-country teams will compete against the University of Washington – among other schools – today at Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle for the Washington Invitational.

The men’s team beat the Huskies in their last meet at the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 19th with controlled speed and great effort. Wayne Phipps, the director of WSU cross country and track and field, plans for this meet to run about the same.

“It will be a little more aggressive than what we were at Sundodger but still very controlled in the first part and progressing through the race,” Phipps said.

This course is flatter than most they have raced on, but the Cougs have been preparing. Each athlete has a workout designed specifically for them with the goal of having the athlete peak at just the right time.

“It’s a very focused training plan,” freshman Paul Ryan said. “And everything is meant to benefit you so it’s very individualized.”

It is necessary to maintain this type of training program when looking at the class differences, especially on the men’s team. The freshmen are moving from running 5 kilometers to double that in the span of a summer.

The freshmen on the women’s team have been adjusting slower than the men. Even still, Phipps has nothing but support and constructive ways for improving the scores for the team.

“It’s been a tough transition,” Phipps said. “I think for some just adapting to the increased volume and increased intensity, but we’ve had a couple of freshmen that have really been a nice surprise for us and have been in our top 7.”

The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 3:15 p.m. on the flat fairways. The men’s 8,000 meters will begin at 4 p.m. where they will loop around and over cart paths.

Reporting by Casie Moe