This weekend the men’s and women’s cross country teams took home a pair of sixth-place finishes after competing in the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle at Lincoln Park. The Pirate women opened the invitational with a 6k race and finished sixth out of 17 teams with a total team time of 1:54.48.07 and 168 points. Conference rivals Pacific Lutheran University, Lewis & Clark College and University of Puget Sound also competed against the Whitworth women but were not fast enough to beat the Pirates. Most notable was Whitworth’s defeat of Lewis & Clark, the defending NWC champions.
“We came into the race with the mindset that we would win even if it wasn’t true,” junior captain Christina Williams said. Williams finished in 45th place with a time of 22:49.74. “This past week we looked at the rosters to pick out our competition and see what their uniforms looked like so we could stick with them and try to pass them.”
Sophomore Amanda Blankenship crossed the finish line first for the Pirates and landed in 40th place with a time of 22:45.33. Williams followed shortly behind, with sophomore Kellyn Roiko finishing in 50th place with a time of 22:52.85.
“We have a big group of really fast girls we’ve never had before so it went really well overall,” Williams said.”
The men’s team also finished in sixth place out of 18 teams with a team time of 2:11:54.81 and 188 points in the 8k race. The Whitworth men came up short against the Pioneers and the Loggers, but defeat the Lutes.
“We faced some good competition today but our athletes responded very well,” assistant coach Jordan Jennings said. “Facing tough competition like this will help us down the road when we compete at championship races beginning in November. We will continue to train hard, keep everyone healthy and continuing to improve.”
The first Pirate to cross the finish line was sophomore Christopher MacMurray, who placed 39th in the race with a time of 25:50.05. Junior Taylor Steele finished second for the Pirates and 45th overall with a time of 25:57.95. Junior Trent Dudley followed closely behind to finish in 51st place with a time of 26:06.15.
“I think this meet was decent for the guys. We didn’t perform as well as we wanted to since we have guys who are injured and/or sick but our top three ran really well,” senior captain Matt Edwards said.
The roster size on this year’s men’s team is smaller than it has been in the past with only eight runners instead of fourteen or fifteen as their was last year. However, the team has grown very close as a result, Edwards said.
“We need to use that to our advantage. We run as a team together everyday and if we can get in a pack and use our close knit group as a force we’d be even better,” Edwards said.
The invitational was a success for both the men and women, Jennings said.
“Overall I was very happy with the meet today,” Jennings said. “However, we have to continue to improve to ultimately achieve our goals, which is to win conference, place well at the regional meet and represent Whitworth at the national meet.”
The Pirates will be competing in the Runner’s Soul/Erik Anderson Invite at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane, next Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10:45 a.m.
Jordanne Perry Staff Writer
Contact Jordanne Perry at email@example.com