Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Pullman, Wash.)
|Vandal XC continues to improve|
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – University of Idaho men’s and women’s cross country pitted themselves against some of the nation’s top runners on Saturday at the Dellinger Invitational and several Vandals responded with strong performances.
“I thought it was a solid meet,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said. “With our approach to this season, we’re not going to be as race-ready as we were at this time last year, but I liked what I saw from a lot of people.”
Junior All-American Hannah Kiser was Idaho’s top finisher, as the third-year Vandal from Wenatchee, Wash., took eighth overall and seventh among collegians with a 5000-meter time of 17:05 in the field that included No. 3 Oregon. Her time over 5k is the fastest in the Western Athletic Conference this season by a 23-second margin.
Fellow Vandal juniors Alycia Butterworth (26th, 17:42) and Emily Paradis (29th, 17:44) were Idaho’s second and third finishers. Freshman Halie Raudenbush finished 44th overall at 18:23 and redshirt freshman Abby Larson was 48th overall at 18:29 to round out the team’s scoring and give the Vandal women a fifth-place team finish and a score of 125.
On the men’s side, senior Barry Britt led the way at 20th overall with an 8000-meter time of 24:18. He was followed by senior Jeff Osborn in 67th overall at 25:28, then freshman Santos Vargas at 25:36 for 79th overall in the race that included No. 3 BYU and No. 23 Oregon.
Redshirt freshman Colton Hastings was 79th overall (25:55) and freshman Will Austin-Cray ran a 25:56 for 81st in the field. As a team, the Vandal men finished 10th with a score of 240.
Paradis and Osborn were the two most improved runners for Idaho on the day. Paradis cut 20 seconds off her 2011 time on the course, while Osborn made a 16-second cut on his time from last year’s race.
Phipps said that the two young groups are developing well from meet to meet and that as the teams approach the heart of the schedule, now is the time to fine-tune strategies and prepare for the key meets ahead.
“It’s definitely a bit of a work in progress on both sides because of how young we are and how we’re relying on freshmen to contribute on both sides,” Phipps said. “We’re getting better from week to week, and it’s just a matter now, as the races become more important, of making sure that we’re race-ready and we’re as prepared as we can be.”
With two races at full strength and three total competitions under their belts, Idaho’s next competition in two weeks will be a team split. A portion of the Vandal squad will be at Louisville, Ky., for NCAA Pre-Nationals, while another group will travel to Lewiston, Idaho, for the Inland Northwest Cross Country Classic.