|XC faces tough challenge|
Idaho men's and women's cross country will be in action this weekend at the Sundodger Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington, on Saturday in Seattle.
Both teams will run in the Invitational section, with the women's 6000m race starting at 10:25 a.m. (PT) and the men's 8,000m race following at 11 a.m.
Last year at this race, the Vandal women took fourth in the team standings after placing five runners in the top 25. Idaho's top returning finisher from that race is junior Lauren Schaffer, who took 20th last year. Junior Julia Veseth was 22nd in the race last season. For Schaffer and Veseth, the 2009 race was a big step up, as Schaffer trimmed 32 seconds and Veseth cut 49 from their respective 2008 times on the course.
Junior Markus Geiger, Idaho's top finisher at 11th a year ago, leads the Vandal men into Seattle. The men's team took fifth last year as a group and three of the team's top five runners will again compete, as well as talented sophomore Barry Britt, who took second at the All-Idaho Cup to open 2010.
With the course being generally the same from year to year, Idaho cross country coach Wayne Phipps said the team will be able to compare times with previous years and track individual progress, as well as face off against some of the top cross country teams in the nation.