Courtesy: Dean Hare
|Kiser, Britt lead Idaho|
SEATTLE, Wash. – If there was any rust from Hannah Kiser’s redshirt 2012 track season, it didn’t show for the University of Idaho junior cross country runner on Saturday at the Sundodger Invitational.
In the meet hosted by No. 1 Washington, Idaho’s standout third-year distance runner was the top collegiate finisher in the women’s race and set a Vandal course record with a time of 20:45.21 over 6000 meters.
Kiser, who led Idaho’s women to a third-place team showing on the day, redshirted the 2012 outdoor track and field season with illness and made her season debut at the meet with a 13-second career best as the second overall finisher on the course.
“At this point last year, we were a little more race-ready, but we've been doing more volume in training compared to last year,” said Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps. “I was impressed with her running as fast as she did, considering how tired she was coming in. It was a very controlled, solid run for her.”
On the men’s side, it was senior Barry Britt who made his season debut with an Idaho course record of his own. He was the second collegian and fourth overall finisher with an 8000-meter time of 24:05.77 to lead the Vandal men to a third-place finish.
“It's been a while since Barry raced for Idaho, since he redshirted outdoors,” Phipps said. “To get the first one under his belt is great, and to do it at that level just shows how hard Barry has been working this summer.”
Kiser was followed by fellow third-year Vandal Alycia Butterworth, who took eighth overall and was the fifth collegian in the race with a time of 21:14.35, which is a 14-second improvement over her 2011 time on the course.
With juniors Holly Stanton and Emily Paradis feeling under the weather during the week, Phipps said there was a little more pressure on some of the team’s younger runners to perform, and he was happy with they way his freshmen responded.
True frosh Halie Raudenbush, the team’s top finisher at the Clash of the Inland Northwest two weeks ago, ran a 22:31.40 to finish 24th overall, while redshirt freshman Abby Larson took 27th in 22:36.59 and true freshman Marquita Palmer was Idaho’s fifth finisher at 22:43.63.
“They did a lot more things correctly in this meet than they did in the one before it,” Phipps said about his young runners. “We're progressing well from week to week, and I can't ask for much more than that.”
Another young runner who made an impression is freshman Santos Vargas, who was Idaho’s second finisher at 17th overall and 11th among collegiate runners. His time of 24:53.39 is an Idaho freshman record for the course, which isn’t bad, considering that it was his first career 8k race.
“It's not surprising - every week he's been with us, he's gotten better,” Phipps said of Vargas. “The way he's running right now and the way he's adapted to the training, I think he's going to have a pretty special freshman year.”
Another freshman, Will Austin-Cray of Sydney, Australia, made his debut in an Idaho uniform and took 29th overall in 25:28.83. He was followed by senior Jeff Osborn in 25:41.83 at 34th overall, while redshirt freshman Colton Hastings held the team’s fifth spot at 38th overall in 25:51.62.
Phipps said he saw some positive steps from the young Vandal men in terms of race strategy and execution, but that the team still has to keep improving as it draws near the more important meets later in the season.
“There were a couple young guys who were a little too conservative early on, and then a couple who were too aggressive, but that's why we run these early races,” Phipps said. “Overall, it's a great start to our season.”
Britt’s time marked an eight-second improvement over his 2011 time, while sophomore Cayle Turpen made the biggest improvement with his 43rd-place overall finish in 26:06.42, a 33-second improvement from last year’s race.
The Vandals will be off competition next week before their next tough challenge awaits in the form of the Dellinger Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29. That meet will be hosted by the University of Oregon and will feature many of the top teams in the region and the nation.