|Women’s XC Tries For School History|
MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho women’s cross country team has the potential and skill to make Idaho school history Saturday at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
Idaho has won the last three WAC women’s team crowns and five total in the school’s eight previous seasons in the conference. Since Idaho joined the WAC in 2005, the conference meet has included either a Vandal team title or a Vandal individual champion every year except one.
Historically speaking, there is no women’s program in Idaho school history that has won four consecutive conference titles in any sport.
The Vandal women were picked first earlier this week in the WAC Pre-Champions Coaches Poll, with seven first-place votes and 63 overall votes.
The group of four freshmen who started the championship quest in 2010 at Moscow, Idaho are now in their senior year as Vandals.
Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said it was kind of a joke after seniors Hannah Kiser, Emily Paradis, Alycia Butterworth and Holly Stanton Browning won their first WAC championship as freshmen. They joked that it meant they were going to have to win four in a row. After the team won the championships in 2011 it really became a tangible goal for the team to win four consecutively.
“They have been working super hard for the last three and a half years for this,” Phipps said of Kiser, Paradis, Butterworth and Stanton. “They are all excited to compete this weekend and I think they are ready to defend their championship title.”
The four seniors have also shown significant growth since their freshman year winning the WAC championships.
“That first year they were kind of bits and pieces of the overall team,” Phipps said. “By their sophomore year they were the core of the team and this year they are everything you could ask for in a group of athletes.”
Idaho will also rely on its strong core group of sophomore runners who aided in winning the championship last year.
“They have made huge improvements over last season,” Phipps said of sophomores, Halie Raudenbush, Abby Larson, Marquita Palmer, Alex Sciocchetti and Stephanie Rexus. “All five had done phenomenally well and we will rely on them not only this year but in the future years.”
The women’s 5K race will begin at 10:00 a.m. PT in Jefferson Park Golf Club at Seattle, Wash., hosted by Seattle U.