Cross-country travels to Seattle

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Cross-country travels to Seattle

Sophomore Devon Bortfeld runs at a meet during the 2014 season, Oct. 21, 2014.

Sophomore Devon Bortfeld runs at a meet during the 2014 season, Oct. 21, 2014.

Sophomore Devon Bortfeld runs at a meet during the 2014 season, Oct. 21, 2014.

Sophomore Devon Bortfeld runs at a meet during the 2014 season, Oct. 21, 2014.

CASIE MOE | Evergreen cross-country reporter

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Transitioning from the shorter distances in the first meet of the season at Colfax, the Washington State University cross-country team will have more time to find their legs in the upcoming invitational at Lincoln Park in Seattle on Saturday.

The course at Lincoln Park is a favorite to jumpstart the cross-country season for the surrounding local high schools.

As a senior and a native to the Seattle area, Emily Dwyer has run on this course since her high school days. Dwyer explained that unlike the courseshe ran for Eastlake, which includes an 800 meter hill going up, the college course stays on the upper parts of Lincoln Park, which is flatter. Now, she views the course more with speed in mind than saving her strength for the hill at the end. She also takes into account the large freshman class and how this course affects them.

Although it is longer than the previous 4k for the women and 6k for the men at last week’s meet, called the Clash of the Inland Northwest, Dwyer said, “It’s nice to kind of have a warmup race into the more intense races of the season, so (it’s) a little less stressful for the freshmen than starting out at Pac-12s or something.”

Despite the youth of the team, Dwyer’s teammate, sophomore Devon Bortfeld, has high hopes for the newcomers especially at Sundodger Invitational.

“This race will be a huge icebreaker for the freshmen, who I think are super capable of doing awesome things, specifically at this race,” Bortfeld said.

Both Bortfeld and Dwyer raced at Sundodger Invitational last year and came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Other returners on the women’s team are junior Morgan Willson, who took the second place position with teammate senior CharLee Linton right behind her. Another returning scorer is Ashlie Standow, who came in 25th with an impressive time of 22:27 in last season’s meet.

Although glad about the success of the team last year at Sundodger, Head Coach Wayne Phipps said in a press release that the plan going into this year’s race is to be more controlled and methodical. He wants to see continued improvement while making sure to not let the team get too excited about simply passing their “rivals in purple.”

The men’s team dominated last year against University of Washington by winning the Sundodger Invitational’s team title. They have an opportunity to take it again with a couple of returning top scorers leading the way including juniors John Whelan and Sam Levora.

When asked about his opinion of the course, Whelan agreed with Dwyer.

“It’s a cool course, has some different stuff in it, but it’s also easy to run fast,” Dwyer said.

Whelan also said that although he has run on this course before, he is glad for it at the beginning of the season because it is a good confidence booster, especially for the freshman.

At this meet, they will be taking on the full distances of 6 kilometers for the women and 8 kilometers for the men. For some, this will be their first time racing these lengths. Freshman Paul Ryan from Moscow is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s definitely the first 8k of my life,” Ryan said. “I’m ready to roll.”

His excitement can be appeased come 11:35 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, following the women’s race at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Park.