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Courtesy: Larry Johnson (GoVandals.net)
Hannah Kiser crosses the finish line at the Sundodger Invitational.
Cross country breaks out
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 09/17/2011
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SEATTLE – Sophomore Hannah Kiser broke a school record and the University of Idaho men’s and women’s cross country teams made strong statements on Saturday at the Sundodger Invitational at Seattle, Wash.

Kiser was the top collegiate finisher at the meet and second overall, behind only Idaho assistant coach Allix Lee-Painter, with a school-record 6000m time of 20:58.43. She led the Vandal women to a second-place finish behind Washington, the nation’s 11th-ranked team.

“It was the fastest time in Idaho history, and any time we can run under 21 minutes for a 6k on a course like this, it’s pretty impressive,” Idaho head coach Wayne Phipps said. “We were just kind of being conservative through the first part, then really racing the last 2k and they really separated themselves from the Washington girls through the end of the race.”

As a freshman last season, Kiser ran an Idaho freshman-record 21:30.79 on the course, but on Saturday, she trimmed 32 seconds from that time to break the former Idaho record of 21:02, set by Dee Olson in 2005.

Sophomores led the way for Idaho, as Alycia Butterworth was the team’s second finisher at eighth overall with a time of 21:28.69 and Emily Paradis took 10th in 21:40.55. Senior Julia Veseth ran a 21:47.51 and finished 14th, and sophomore Holly Stanton came in 19th overall at 21:59.52.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic about those four sophomores today,” Phipps said. “For Alycia to run as fast as she did, Emily to bump into the top 10 and Holly to run under 22 minutes – it far exceeded my expectations and it was great to see them compete so well today.”

Not to be outdone, Idaho’s men put four runners in the top nine overall and posted a team score of 37 to finish just seven spots behind team champion Washington, the West Region’s No. 6 team. Junior Barry Britt led the way with a third-place individual finish, while senior Stephane Colle took fourth, senior Markus Geiger took seventh and senior Jeremiah Dubie finished ninth.

“Dubie really stepped up, which is something we knew he was capable of doing, and then our number five and number six runners, James and Jeff, ran great races, too,” Phipps said. “It was probably the best we’ve competed as a team on the guys’ side in quite a while, and it was 22 seconds faster than last year’s average.”

Britt ran a 24:14.36, while Colle went 24:18.02, Geiger posted a 24:32.39 and Dubie ran a 24:33.80 on the 8000m course. Senior James Clark was the team’s fifth finisher with a time of 25:14.51 for 25th place overall and 18th among collegians.

Phipps said earlier in the week that the course’s consistency in layout and distance makes it a good source of year-to-year team comparisons, and he liked what he saw when he got the final results sheet.

Of the 13 current Vandals who ran this course last season, nine had individual time improvements, and five had one-year improvements of better than 30 seconds over last year’s race.

Paradis and Butterworth led the way with matching one-minute, 32-second time cuts, while Clark made a 56-second improvement and Dubie slashed 40 seconds off his previous time in the race. As groups, each team posted program-best average times on the course.

“We averaged 23 seconds faster per person this year than we did last year, and it ended up being the fastest team averaged we’ve ever had on this course, and that includes our 2004 team that finished 25th in the nation,” Phipps said of the women. “We also did it without our No. 1 runner from conference last year, Lauren Schaffer.”

Phipps said he was also happy with the way the teams competed on both ends with highly-ranked Pac-12 programs.

“It’s always fun going against a team like UW that is nationally-ranked, because we can use them as a litmus test of where we stand in the region,” Phipps said. “It was fun on the men’s side to be really competing stride-for-stride with them in the race, and it made it a really exciting day.”

Still in the early training part of the season, Phipps said the team will continue with a heavy workload for the new few weeks before settling into final race preparation for the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 26, at Honolulu, Hawai`i.

“You know you’ve put in the hard work and you know you’re in shape, but until you see the concrete, tangible results from a meet like this, you never know,” Phipps said. “After seeing this, you can tell that everyone is really confident, which carries over into training and future competitions, as well.”

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