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Geoducks at the largest cross country meet of the year

September 30, 2006

SALEM, Oregon- The men's and women's cross country teams went south to the largest cross country invitational on the west coast, the Willamette University hosted Charles Bowles Invite.

The first race of the day featured teams from NCAA Division II and III and NAIA schools. A large number of nationally ranked schools from these divisions were present creating the most competitive race of the season.

The Evergreen men finished 29th of 35 teams represented. Although their placing was dissapointing, it was the best team effort of the year as far as pack time of the top five. With the loss of Miguel Pineda, the men's team is not as deep in the middle.

Brian Rakestraw and James Hudson ran neck and neck for the first three miles until Brian eventually pulled away to be the first Geoduck across the line. His time of 26:47 placed him 124th. Hudson followed in 26:58, a personal best time on this course. Other finishers were Graeme Paulsen (27:51), Jason McConnell (28:10), Darin Martin (29:09) and Bryan Torian (31:09).

Aron Rono of Azusa Pacific was the overall winner in 23:43. There were 305 finishers in the men's race.

The women's race was equally competitive with the men's race this year. It was a large field of 298 finishers.

Kelly Beckham cracked the top 100 places with her 77th place. It was the best finish for an Evergreen runner at this meet and only the third runner for the geoducks to be under 100th place. Her time was 19:30. Closely following Beckham was Emily Uhlig who finished 121st in 19:58.

Sophomore Kelsey Blair had a great race as the third Geoduck, finishing in a personal best time of 20:50. It was over a minute faster than her '05 time. Amanda Kirklin crossed the line in 23:23.

Sarah Zerzan of Willamette University won in 17:11.

The next race for Evergreen will be in Bellingham on Saturday, October 7th at the Western Washington Classic.