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Sports >  Gonzaga athletics

Gonzaga men, women post program-best finishes at NCAA Division I West Region Cross Country Championships

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 12, 2021

By Chuck Stewart For The Spokesman-Review

The Gonzaga men and women had program-best finishes in the NCAA Division I West Region Cross Country Championships on Friday at Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento, California, and each had an automatic individual qualifier to the NCAA Championships Nov. 20 in Tallahassee, Florida.

James Mwaura’s program-record 10,000-meter time of 29 minutes, 35.2 seconds earned him a fifth-place finish, leading the Zags to fifth place with 107 points. Gonzaga had two others in the top 20; freshman Wil Smith (Lewis and Clark) was 14th (30:04.5) and redshirt junior Cullen McEachern was 17th (30:10.6).

Washington senior Kieran Lumb won a competitive men’s race in 29:28.5, with the top three less than 2 seconds apart.

Gonzaga junior Kristen Garcia finished third in the women’s race, clocking a program-record 20:03.2 for 6,000 meters, to lead GU to a program-best sixth-place team finish. GU had four others in the top 44: grad transfer Elisabeth Danis (27th, 20:35.5), sophomore Alicia Anderson (35th, 20:45.6) and freshmen Sadie Tuckwood (39th, 20:47.9) and Rosina Machu (44th, 20:51.2).

Stanford fifth-year senior Julia Heymach won the tight women’s race in 20:01.1 with the top four separated by less than 3 seconds.

Stanford and Washington were first and second, respectively, in both the men’s and women’s races and automatic team qualifiers. The NCAA will select 13 at-large teams from all the regionals Saturday to complete the fields.

Washington State, led by junior Amir Ado of Ferris, who was in 13th (30:02.9), placed seventh overall; Idaho, led by freshman John Peckham, who finished 70th (31.27.6), was 13th; and Eastern Washington, with sophomore Justin Roosma placing 86th in the 197-man field, was 22nd.

In the women’s race, sophomore Neema Kimtai (18th, 20:25.5) led WSU to a 12th-place team finish; Idaho was 13th, led by junior Kelsey Swenson (30th, 20:37.6); and Eastern Washington placed 28th, led by freshman Nicole Deherrea (119th, 22:08.1) in the 235-woman race.

Three other former area prep runners competed. EWU junior Carter Ledwith (LC, 112th, 32:18.7) and redshirt freshman Jamie Christner (North Central, 179th, 34:06.3) in the men’s race, and EWU freshman Jenni Bisel (Central Valley, 162nd, 22:44.7), in the women’s race.

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