Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Pullman, Wash.)
|XC shows promise|
SPOKANE, Wash. – University of Idaho men’s and women’s cross country sent a group of primarily freshmen and newcomers to Spokane, Wash., on Saturday for the Clash of the Inland Northwest and the Vandals showed their youth and potential at the meet.
The women’s team of five freshmen scored 69 points and finished third out of five teams, while the Vandal men scored 87 points and took third with a partial group of mostly freshmen.
“That first meet is always going to be difficult from a number of aspects, but I think they responded well and handled themselves well,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said after the race. “There was definitely some excitement and a lot of nerves leading up to the race, which can lead to some inconsistencies. A couple of them went out too quick and a couple went out a little too easy, but that’s why we run this first race.”
Freshman Halie Raudenbush led the Idaho women on the day with a ninth-place overall finish in 15:08.1, followed by redshirt frosh Abby Larson (15th, 15:22.1) and true freshman Stephanie Rexus (16th, 15:26.1).
Raudenbush, a walk-on from Boise, Idaho (Timberline HS), said she and the team had some butterflies to start, but that it was a relief to finally get into a real competition and see how they stack up.
“It was really good to finally race and see where we’re at and get a race under our belts,” Raudenbush said. “Overall, I think we did a very good job of competing against people who have been doing this for a few years.”
True freshmen Alex Sciocchetti (15:34.6) and Marquita Palmer (15:35.8) rounded out Idaho’s team scores at 20th and 21st overall, respectively, on the 4000m course.
“It was great for our freshmen to see that kind of competition early on this season without any real pressure,” Phipps said. “No matter what we do in practice, it can never replace the experience of learning how to race.”
For the Vandal men, it was senior Jeff Osborn who paced Idaho at 26th overall in 19:29.9 and he was followed closely by true freshman Santos Vargas in 27th with a time of 19:39.9 over 6000 meters.
Redshirt freshman Colton Hastings was 36th overall in 20:06.3, while sophomore Cayle Turpen finished 39th (20:17.2) and redshirt freshman Kasey Hattrup was 40th (20:20.2).
“With guys like Santos coming in and Cayle and Colton coming on this year, we know we need those guys to be right with me as we look forward to WAC,” Osborn said of his teammates. “I think we had a good effort today.”
Also running for Idaho on Saturday were freshman Tyler Jaszkowiak (44th, 20:29.2), redshirt freshman Adam Storey (45th, 20:34.5) and senior Luke Tonnemaker (52nd, 21:25.8).
“I think they probably were less consistent throughout the race than the women were,” Phipps said of the Vandal men. “I think it took them a little while to figure things out and they were probably a little too conservative early on, but that’s not really a bad thing in your first race of the year. I think this was a good learning experience for them.”
Among Idaho’s returners, Osborn registered a 25-second improvement over his 2011 time at this meet, while Turpen was 15 seconds faster and Hastings, who competed unattached at last year’s meet, made a 27-second improvement.
The team has a two-week break from competition before its next action, when the Vandals head to Seattle, Wash., for the Sundodger Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15.