|XC rolls at Charles Bowles Invitational|
SALEM, Ore. - University of Idaho's women took the team title to cap off an impressive morning for Vandal cross country at the Charles Bowles Invitational on Saturday at Salem, Ore.
The Vandal women placed six runners in the top 23 overall and cruised to a team title by a 38-point margin with a team score of 55. Idaho's men scored 142 and finished fourth in the 23-team field with the fastest team average in school history on that course.
"We didn't have a real team goal in terms of placing, we had more overall time goals as the group," Idaho cross country coach Wayne Phipps said of the women's race. "We wanted to get as many girls under 18 (minutes) as possible and they just raced really well and accomplished that."
Junior Julia Veseth and freshman Hannah Kiser ran side-by-side for the length of the course and finished fourth and sixth, respectively, to lead Idaho on the women's side. Veseth ran a 17:37.18 on the 5000m course, while Kiser was close behind in 17:42.20.
On the men's side, sophomore Barry Britt set an Idaho record for the second meet in a row with a time of 24:00.48 in a seventh-place finish on the 8000m course. As a team, Idaho's average time of 24:48.19 is the fastest the team has ever recorded on the course.
"I've been very impressed with Barry, not just because of the performances, but because of all the stuff he does to prepare on race day," Phipps said. "He does all the little things, he'll do anything you ask and he's just having a breakthrough year and I can't be more happy or impressed with him at this point,"
The Vandal women put their depth on display in finishing higher than three regionally-ranked teams at the meet. Junior Lauren Schaffer was Idaho's third finisher (11th, 17:51.51), followed by junior Anna Kalbrener (13th, 17:55.37) and senior Erica Digby (21st, 18:04.67), to round out the top five scoring. Freshman Maggie Miller was Idaho's sixth finisher at 18:06.13 in a 23rd-place finish.
On the men's side, junior Markus Geiger finished 13th overall with a time of 24:15.69, while sophomore Jeff Osborn (49th, 25:11.28), junior Alex Brekke (51st, 25:14.36) and junior Michael Armon (53rd, 25:19.13) rounded out Idaho's scoring. The men's team finished higher than two regionally-ranked teams, Lipscomb and UC Riverside.
"Our average time on the women's side is probably the fourth-fastest time ever, behind teams that were conference champions and nationally-ranked teams," Phipps said of the team average times. "On the guys' side, it was the best average time we've ever had, so that's really positive.
"We feel good about everything that we've done so far and it really puts a stamp on all the hard work that these guys have put in so far this year."
The next action for Idaho will be in two weeks at the Dellinger Invitational, hosted by University of Oregon, on Oct. 16.