Vandals women roll to cross country crown
Idaho hosted a cross country championship race Saturday for the first time in 26 years.
The winning happens with a little more regularity.
For the third time since 2005, the Vandals are women’s champions of the Western Athletic Conference, placing four runners among the first 11 at Virgil Phillips Farm County Park north of Moscow to easily outdistance runner-up New Mexico State – despite a 1-2 finish, for the second year in a row, by Aggies twins Courtney and Camille Schultz.
The men’s title went to Boise State, abetted by a pair of Greater Spokane League alums, Allan Schroeder of Mead (ninth) and Jeff Howard of North Central (14th).
Idaho’s women haven’t bothered with leaders and followers – for the fifth time this season, the five scoring Vandals finished in different order. Lauren Schaffer – a half-miler during the track season – finished fourth, a 19-place improvement over a year ago. Freshman Hannah Kiser was sixth, while seniors Maggie Miller and Erica Digby were 10th and 11th.
“All of us are so close together that if one of us is having a bad day, there are others right behind to fill that gap,” Digby said. “Even the runners who don’t score … have a huge part in the team standings, because even if they don’t score they’re pushing the other teams back.”
Idaho’s men took fifth, with Markus Geiger cracking the top three and teammate Barry Britt in sixth behind individual champ Olivier Collin of Fresno State.
• Northwest: Whitworth’s men put four runners among the top seven, but needed fifth man Tyler Dudley’s points to beat Willamette 33-36 for the Northwest Conference championship at Fort Steilacoom Park in Tacoma.
Dudley finished 13th – two places ahead of Willamette’s last scorer – to unseat the defending champs, despite a 1-2 finish by Leo Castillo and Stefan Redfield. Pirates Aaron Jenkins and Kalen Darling followed, with all five Whitworth scorers finishing within 37 seconds.
Whitworth’s Joy Shufeldt and Tonya Turner posted a 2-3 finish, but Lewis & Clark dethroned the defending champions 43-76, while Willamette’s Amber Mattox claimed the individual title.
• Big Sky: A fourth-place finish by Kyle King and a sixth by Amy Kolin highlighted host Eastern Washington’s effort at the Big Sky Conference meet at Fairways Golf Course, where Northern Arizona’s men and Montana’s women claimed the team titles. It was a 14-place jump for King from a year ago, and the highest finish by an EWU man since 2004.
EWU men took fifth in the team race, while the women were seventh.
• Pac-10: Washington State was well off the pace at the Pacific-10 Conference championships in Seattle, where Stanford swept both team titles. The Cougars were sixth of eight teams in the men’s competition, while the women took ninth among 10. Jono Lafler and Ruby Roberts paced the two Cougars teams, finishing 20th and 37th, respectively.
• WCC: Junior Chris Boyle slashed 20 seconds off the Gonzaga course record at Crystal Springs Golf Course and finished fourth among men in the West Coast Conference championships in Belmont, Calif. Boyle’s time of 25:08 for 8,000 meters moved him up six places from a year ago, but the Bulldogs men again finished fifth – as did the women, who got a 20th-place finish from Laura Volcheff.
Portland’s men won a 32nd consecutive title, and San Francisco defended its women’s crown.