Andrew Kimpel led the No. 20 Washington State men’s cross-country team as the Cougars coasted to victory Friday in their final meet before Pac-12 Conference Championships later this month.
Overall, the Cougar men took four out of the top five spots Friday evening, beating out eight other teams from around the Northwest in the Inland Northwest Classic at Spokane Falls CC.
Kimpel, a junior racing in his hometown of Spokane, set the course record, covering the 8,000 meter course with a time of 24 minutes, 0.2 seconds. Fellow teammate and senior, Jono Lafler, finished close behind Kimpel, taking second place with a time of 24:01.4. Andrew Gonzales (24:27.9) and Justin Englund (24.29.0) rounded out the top five, finishing fourth and fifth.
The WSU men beat out local teams and won with a score of 17 points, beating second place Gonzaga (73) by 56 points.
WSU Head Coach Pete Julian was extremely pleased with the men’s final tune-up performance before conference play begins. Julian called it a good day for the men, highlighting Kimpel’s performace among others as signs of the team’s progress.
“Andrew Kimpel won and he has run incredibly well and made amazing progress over the past year and is emerging to become a top collegiate athlete. I am happy for Andrew’s success over the past year and (he) is emerging to become a top collegiate athlete,” Julian said after the race.
Julian also said he believes he’s found the team’s fifth spot and sixth man in Lee George and Drew Jordan who the coach said have made big jumps in performance level in recent weeks.
The Cougar women’s team ran at less than full strength Friday, but still managed a third-place finish on the 5,000 meter course. Without top performers sophomore Ruby Roberts, who has led the team in every race thus far, and sophomore Allison Clark, the Cougar women could not keep up with Gonzaga and Montana, which finished first and second, respectively.
Friday’s race presented both the Cougar men’s and women’s teams with a final tune-up before the much-anticipated Pac-12 Conference Championships to be held Oct. 29 at Litchfield Park, Ariz.