Washington State University sophomore Bernard Lagat finished second in the men’s NCAA West Regional Cross Country meet Saturday.
Lagat automatically qualified for a trip to the NCAA Championships to be held Nov. 24 at Greenville, S.C.
WSU’s 10th-ranked men took third behind champion Stanford and Oregon.
The Cougars will have to wait until Monday afternoon to find out if they will advance to the NCAA meet with one of the four available at-large berths. The Cougars have not sent a complete men’s squad to the NCAA Championships since 1984.
Lagat toured the 10,000-meter course at the Dell Urich Golf Course in 30 minutes, 33 seconds. He finished runner-up to UCLA’s Mebrahtom Keflezghi, who was second to Lagat at the Pacific-10 Conference championships. The Bruin turned the tables with a time of 30:16.
Stanford’s men posted 50 points, followed by Oregon (84) and WSU (103).
“I’m so impressed with our runners,” WSU assistant coach Dr. Li Li said of his men. “It’s unprecedented for us in recent years to have four runners finish in the top 20.”
Cougar sophomore Brad Treat finished 14th overall in 31:24, junior Jon Murray was 17th in 31:36 and junior Eric Kamau was 19th in 31:49. WSU’s fifth runner, senior Rasto Kiplangat (32:57), started as WSU’s second runner early in the race, but faded to 51st as he was hit with back spasms. Other Cougar finishers were: Chris Charles, 66th (33:13) and Justin Murray, 96th (34:21).
In the women’s race, WSU sophomore Tammi Green clocked 18:42 for 5,000 meters to finish 31st as WSU’s top finisher.
Arizona junior Amy Skieresz won her 13th straight meet and captured the West Region title for the third year in a row. Skieresz posted a 13-second victory over Stanford freshman Julia Stamps with a time of 17:00.
Stanford’s women made it a sweep in team titles as the Cardinal finished with 37 points. Oregon St. was next with 78 and Washington third at 96. WSU was seventh (201).
WSU’s Megan Maynard was 32nd and just a second behind Green. The Cougars’ other finishers were: Kristin Ritzenthaler, 35th (18:48); Joanne Hunsinger, 49th (19:02); Crystal Malgesini, 54th (19:05); Kimberly Schmolka, 62nd (19:15); and Allshla Booterbaugh, 83rd (19:31).
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