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Cross Country Team Takes Part in the Largest Meet of the Season

October 4, 2003

by Craig Dickson

SALEM, OR -- Willamette University traditionally hosts the proclaimed "largest meet west of the Mississippi!" each year. This edition was no exception with 874 competitors participating in the four races with over 45 colleges and clubs represented. The Evergreen Cross Country Team had the opportunity to compete with many of the colleges within both the Cascade Conference and Region I schools. This year, to cut down on overcrowding, the meet separated NCAA Division I colleges, Junior Colleges and Clubs into their own race. While NAIA and NCAA Division II & III schools went head to head to give it more of a championship feel.

The Evergreen men competed in the second race of the morning. Sophomore Josh Klimek again led the Geoducks with his 110th place finish in the 250 man field. His time of 26:49 over the 8 kilometer course is a seasons best. While not as close to Klimek as last week, Nathan Chambers gamely battled with an ailing ankle to 159th place. The squad looked tighter as a team this week bringing in the top five nearly two minutes closer together from last Saturday's performance. "We are looking better each week," Noted Co-Coach Angela Yoder. "A small team like us can't afford to have injuries and sickness like we did this week. But to the guys credit, those that were ailing ran with big hearts and many of them equaled or bettered their performances at this meet last year." The team placed 24th of 26 colleges in their race. Defending champions Chico State University narrowly held their crown by 13 points over NAIA number one ranked Eastern Oregon. The first individual over the line was Tyler Graff of Chico in 24:15.

In the final race of the day, The Evergreen women had another break-through performance as a team thanks to some very solid efforts. Senior Candy Owens set the pace harder than she had all year setting a seasonal best time of 20:18 (148th place) in the 5k race. Meagan Mower again set the standard for future Evergreen freshman with her 20:40 (164th) performance. Head coach Craig Dickson adds, "Special mention should be made of Drew Gaede and Renee Queneville (4th and 5th on the team). Both of them have taken over the final two scoring spots better than I had imagined and continue to hack away big chunks in their best times. I love seeing this improvement in both teams. We are temporarily at the bottom of meet results, but it's halfway through the season and we are starting to roll." The women's team finished 26th of 27 schools. The team title was also won by Chico State University with Katie Lee of Chico taking the individual victory in 17:48.

Additional Results

Men

John Each 208th 28:59.34 (Seasons Best)
Kyle Skaggs 214th 29:23.65
Robert Martindale 239th 31:41.08 (Seasons Best)
Justin Porter 249th 37:54.80 (Debut)

Women

Liesl Plomski 212th 21:50.04
Drew Gaede 236th 22:50.25 (Personal Best)
Renee Queneville 249th 24:28.27 (Personal Best)
Lacy Kilty 257th 26:25.39 (Seasons Best)