In order to advance to the NCAA Championships, the Cougars needed to run their best race of the season last Friday in Seattle at the NCAA West Regionals.
At the race, WSU sophomore runner Todd Wakefield was the only runner on the entire WSU Cross Country team to advance to the NCAA Championships. Wakefield finished in 14th place at last Friday’s meet in Seattle, running a time of 30 minutes and one second. He was one of four individuals selected from the West Regional to receive an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships.
“It was nice to have a good race today,” Wakefield said in a press conference. “We executed our race plan very well, the West Region just happens to be the deepest in the NCAA.”
The second WSU men’s runner to cross the finish line was junior Drew Jordan, who ran a time of 30:27 and finished in 36th place.
Senior Captain Andrew Kimpel, who came back from a hamstring injury, finished in 98th place individually with a time of 31:25.
University of Arizona’s Lawi Lalang won the individual title of the race and ran a time of 29:2.
“To get out of this region and make it to nationals we knew everyone had to have their best race of the season,” said WSU cross-country coach Tim Riley in a press conference. “On the men’s side, we had four guys that did that today but we came up just short of our team goal.”
As a team the WSU men finished in 7th place with a score of 223 points and Stanford University ended up taking home the team title with 45 points.
The WSU women had their ups and downs in this race as well, as sophomore Ruby Roberts finished the race first with a time of 20:57 seconds which resulted in a 50th place finish.
In her final race of her career at WSU, senior runner Caroline Austin finished behind Roberts in 53rd place, running a time of 21:3.
The rest of the WSU women finished around 150th place, but due to the lack of experience many people expected.
“On the women’s side, the experience of Ruby, Caroline and Courtney really showed today,” Riley said. “It will be nice to have more of that experience next year.”
As a team the WSU women finished in 19th place out of 28 teams competing in the NCAA West Regional and the University of Oregon would go on and take home the women’s team title of the race.
Oregon’s Jordan Hasay would win the women’s individual title of the race with a time of 19:16.
Besides Wakefield, the WSU Cross Country team’s 2012 season is officially over after the team failed to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships.
Wakefield will look to carry this momentum he has built and use it to his advantage this Saturday in Louisville, Ky., at the NCAA Championships.