Led by a top-5 finish from senior Tanner Anderson, the Washington men’s cross country team finished as runner-ups at the NCAA West Regional and automatically qualified for the NCAA National Championships, while the women’s team put themselves in a good spot to qualify as well with a fourth-place finish.
For the fourth consecutive race, the men’s group found itself in second as a team. Anderson was the first Washington runner across, coming in fourth place overall with a time of 29:44.6. Sitting in 16th at the 5.2 mile split, he passed 12 runners in the final mile to lift himself into the top-5 and put the Huskies on the path to qualification.
Five seconds behind Anderson, sophomore Talon Hull crossed the finish line in 12th. Senior Fred Huxham was the third Washington finisher, coming in at 29:52.4, good enough to earn 17th. Sophomore Tibebu Proctor in 24th and junior Andy Snyder in 30th rounded out the scoring for the Huskies, giving the team 82 points.
With that score, Washington narrowly lost to No. 4 Portland, which picked up 77 points, due in large part to redshirt senior Nick Hauger winning the individual title. However, the Dawgs did grab wins against No. 9 Boise State, which beat them at the beginning of the year, No. 5 Stanford, which beat them at the Pac-12 Championships, No. 11 Oregon, and No. 24 UCLA, who finished in that order behind them.
On the women’s side, Washington finished in fourth. Junior Katie Rainsberger was the top runner again for the Dawgs, coming in ninth in 19:40.6, her fifth consecutive race as the first finisher. Sophomore Allie Schadler was the second scorer for the Huskies, coming in 21st at 20:13.3.
Freshman Shona McCulloch ran her best race of the year, finishing in 28th with a time of 20:29.7 for the first scoring run of her young career. The top-5 was capped off by junior Lilli Burdon and senior Emily Hamlin in 33rd and 34th respectively.
The Washington women finished where they were projected to, behind No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Boise State, and No. 6 Stanford. The Broncos were led by individual title winner Allie Ostrander, who won the race by a whopping 13 seconds. However, the Ducks placed runners in second, third, seventh, and 13th to collect the team title with 44 points, just squeaking by the Broncos’ 49. Stanford placed third with 95 points while Washington finished with 118. Behind the Huskies, No. 19 Portland grabbed 5th on 144 points.
With the men having automatically qualified for the second year in a row, the women are still in a good spot to qualify to the National Championships, which will be held in Madison, Wis. on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8:45 a.m.
Reach reporter Andy Yamashita at email@example.com. Twitter: @ANYamashita