The championship cycle has finally arrived for cross country. This Friday, both the men’s and women’s teams will head to Springfield, Oregon, to compete in the Pac-12 Cross Country Championship. They have already ran this course after competing in the Dellinger Invitational last month.
The last race both teams ran was the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, where the women placed seventh and the men finished 14th in a tough field. Senior Amy-Eloise
Neale led the Washington women with a 14th place finish while Senior Andrew Gardner had the highest place for the men by finishing in 37th.
For the championships, the No. 13 Washington women will compete with No. 1 Oregon, No. 3 Colorado, and No. 14 Stanford. The women’s race will have 134 runners and also sees Neale return as the defending Pac-12 women’s champion.
The men, who made their first appearance in the rankings this week at No. 21 will face a field including No. 5 Colorado, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Oregon, No. 14 UCLA, and No. 20 Washington State. The men’s race will have 114 runners participate.
Head coach Greg Metcalf is expecting a good showing from his team.
“Our goal is to go to the Pac-12 Championships, beat the form chart, and build momentum before we host the NCAA Western Regionals two weeks later,” he said. “In Eugene we want to go and finish as high as we can. We have two groups who should finish in the top four, maybe top three if we have a good day, maybe even higher. We want to walk away and be better in two weeks.”
He was also excited about the growth of the sport and the live broadcast on the Pac-12 network.
“We’ve been talking about the Pac-12 televising us for years,” Metcalf said. “For them to decide that this sport is something they really want to put on live TV is awesome. It is exciting for the sport, exciting for the conference, and I am sure it will be a great broadcast.”
Besides winning regional pride, this is the last race the Huskies will take part in before the NCAA Western Regionals, which will be hosted by Washington in Seattle on Friday, Nov. 10.
Both races will be broadcast live by Pac-12 Networks.
Reach contributing writer Andy Yamashita at email@example.com. Twitter: @ANYamashita