Cross country meets fire up both teams
Published 9/3/2011Comments (0)
It was a tale of two teams Friday in Indiana for WSU cross country. Friday’s meet proved to be a pivotal test for both the men and women’s teams at the Notre Dame Invitational as it was by far the most challenging and talent-laden meet of the season. While the men’s team passed this test with flying colors, finishing fifth overall, the women’s team failed to live up to expectations with a 17th place finish at Notre Dame. The WSU men’s team continued their quest for national vindication as they outran 21 of the 26 teams, including four nationally-ranked teams: No. 20 New Mexico, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 26 Ohio State and No. 27 Eastern Kentucky. Leading the charge for the Cougar men was senior Jono Lafler, finishing the five-mile course in 24 minutes, 20 seconds and finishing 11th overall out of the 205 runners. “Today was a great accomplishment for us and this is a huge stepping stone for the Cougar men’s cross country program,” Lafler said of the race. The fifth place finish leaves the Cougar men in prime position for a national ranking. However, Head Coach Pete Julian indicated after the race that the men still have room for growth. “We left the meet on the men’s side thinking we could have run better and maybe that’s getting greedy,” Julian said. “But fifth place in a stacked race like this and beating a lot of nationally-ranked teams is good for the guys and I’m really pleased for them.” Coach Julian also expects improvement out of the Cougar women, who finished 17th overall out of 28 teams. “It was a real disappointing day for the Cougar women,” Julian said. “As fired up as we were about the men’s performance we are as disappointed in the women, and they are disappointed in themselves.” For the third time this year, sophomore Ruby Roberts led the way for the Cougar women as she finished the 5,000m race in 38th place with a time of 17:42. Julian knows this young women’s team is talented with young runners like Roberts, and expects them to take Friday’s meet as a learning experience before conference play begins. “They are a great team and have been running fantastic,” Julian said. “We are going to learn from this; they are really upset and ticked off and that is a great place to be with a month to go before Pac-12s.” The next race for both the men and women will be the Inland Northwest Challenge held in Spokane on Oct. 14.