Whitworth women run to seventh place at Inland Empire Championships

The Whitworth women’s cross country team took seventh place out of ten teams at the Inland Empire Championships last Saturday. The event was hosted by Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho at the Orchards cross country course and featured teams from near and far. Sophomore Christina Anderson finished first for the Pirates in the women’s 5k race that had 107 runners. Anderson came in 40th overall with a time of 19:34, followed closely by junior Elisabeth Spencer who had a time of 19:35 at 41st overall.

Finishing up front is nothing new for these two runners. Last Saturday’s race marked the third time this year, out of four races in which they have both competed, that Anderson and Spencer have finished first and second for Whitworth.

“They have been working hard and leading practices all year,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “And they are starting to learn to push each other as well.”

Freshman Kellyn Roiko also came in under the 20-minute mark for the Bucs,  finishing with a time of 19:43. Finishing inside the top five Pirates is not out of the ordinary for Roiko, either. Discounting the Runner’s Soul Invitational earlier this year that Schwarz used as a tune-up meet, Roiko has finished fourth or better for Whitworth runners in every race this year.

“We knew she would come in and be a top runner,” Schwarz said. “And as time goes on she will just get better and better.”

The Bucs’ next race will be the Northwest Conference Championships hosted by Pacific University on Oct. 27. Schwarz thinks his team has made improvements since last year, and is expecting to finish higher in the NWC standings than in the previous season.

“It’s the biggest meet of the season,” Schwarz said. “It’s what we train for. We just need to get healthy and be competitive.” The Championships begin at 10 a.m. at the Sunset Grove Golf Course in Forest Grove, Ore.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.