Led once again by seniors Maddie Meyers and Izaic Yorks, who each finished in third place in their respective races, both the Washington men and women’s cross country teams placed fourth at the Pac-12 championships in Colfax on Friday.
The results for both races were almost identical, with Colorado winning both. Oregon and Stanford rounded out the top three in both as well, with the Ducks taking second in the women’s race and the Cardinal taking second in the men’s race.
“Those teams came and proved their standing today,” head coach Greg Metcalf said. “But we also came in and proved again that not only can we compete with these teams, but also separate ourselves from the rest of the field.”
Both teams were running with their full line-ups for perhaps the first time all season. Sophomore Anna Maxwell and freshman Charlotte Prouse placed back-to-back at 16th and 17th, respectively. Sophomore Katie Knight finished at 22nd and senior Eleanor Fulton finished at 34th to round out the top five for the women.
“We just have to continue to prepare ourselves like every other week,” Maxwell said. “In practices we are going to keep pushing each other so that the girls who are going to be running at regionals and nationals are ready to go.”
For the men, last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Colby Gilbert, made his season debut after sitting out due to nagging injuries. He finished in 18th, and second for the UW only to Yorks, whose third-place finish is the highest ever by a Husky in team history. The Huskies also got solid performances from junior Fred Huxham, senior Tyler King, and sophomore Andrew Gardner, who all finished in the top 30.
“I think that Colby just makes us better at the starting line because the guys get a boost of confidence seeing him there,” Metcalf said. “We all know he is capable of some great things. This is what our team was supposed to look like when the season began and it is awesome to see it all come together. Hopefully, with more practice he will be even better and more comfortable two weeks from now.”
The Huskies will be returning home for the West Regional on Nov. 13 at Jefferson Park Golf Course with the races scheduled to begin at noon. Against a similar but slightly expanded field, they will be seeking to qualify for NCAA championships a week later in Louisville, Ky.
“I think we are very capable of getting that top-four finish at regionals and getting into nationals with both teams,” Metcalf said. “Nothing is guaranteed, so we still have to go to regionals and do what we have done all year.”
Reach reporter Aaron Huang at email@example.com. Twitter: @Aaron_C_Huang