Cross-country strides to strong finish in Colfax

From staff reports

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Breezing past the competition, Washington State cross-country dominated on Tuesday night in Colfax in its first meet of the season, the Clash of the Inland Northwest.

“We’re a little more conservative this time [versus last year] and we executed pretty well,” said WSU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wayne Phipps in a press release.

The men came away with strong finishes and support from their new freshmen. Leading on the fast course, junior John Whelan showed Washington State’s speed by finishing third with a time of 17:47 on the 6,000m course.

Alternating between freshmen and sophomores, the rest of the scorers ran as a pack and finished close in the standings as a result. Freshman Nathan Wadhwani came in 30 seconds behind Whelan to place seventh. Following him, sophomore Michael Williams finished 11th with freshman Chandler Teigen right behind him in 12th with a time of 18:18. 10 seconds later, sophomore Sam Levora placed 15th and freshman Jake Finney further supported the team with a 17th place finish in 18:33.

Whelan said the underclassmen were finding their strides at the right part of the season, which was evidenced by the approaches they took at the Colfax Golf Course.

“We’ve got some things to work on, but of course, they are adapting to the distance and the training,” Whelan said in the same press release. “But overall, this is an immensely talented and motivated group and I’m really excited for them.”

Placing third in the women’s 4,000m race, senior CharLee Linton came in at a time of 13:48. Coming in eight seconds behind her to finish in fourth was Linton’s sophomore teammate Devon Bortfeld.

The next two Wazzu women to finish were senior Emily Dwyer, placing ninth, and junior Morgan Willson, coming in at 14:19 for 11th place. Rounding out the Cougars’ scorers was junior Steffie Pavey, finishing in 17th place with a time of 14:40.

All five women are returners to the team and all improved their times from this race last year.

“There will be a continued progression throughout the year,” Phipps said after the meet. “I think our freshmen have a lot to learn. And there’s going to be some ups and down throughout the year because we are so young.”

Phipps will have the opportunity to improve his team in training for a few weeks as the Cougars get ready for the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 19 at Lincoln Park in Seattle.

Reporting by Casie Moe