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Sports >  Gonzaga athletics

Gonzaga cross country qualifies for third consecutive NCAA championship meet

Nov. 11, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:15 p.m.

By Chuck Stewart For The Spokesman-Review

Gonzaga is headed to a third straight NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country Championship.

Led by former Lewis and Clark High School standout Wil Smith, the Zags placed their five scoring runners in the top 33, three of them earning all-region honors, for a program-best second-place finish in the NCAA West Regional Friday at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington.

That earned GU one of the region’s two automatic bids to nationals Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, along with region champion Stanford. The nationally No. 1-ranked Cardinal, who had four of the top eight finishers, scored 45 points. Twenty-sixth-ranked GU scored 92. Washington was third at 105.

Gonzaga also led area schools in the women’s regional, placing seventh behind champion Stanford and No. 2 Oregon, which captured the West’s automatic national spots. Washington was third.

The Zags and the area’s three other Division I schools – Idaho, Washington State and Eastern Washington – will have to wait for the NCAA Selection Show Saturday at 2 p.m. to find out if they or any of their runners earned at-large bids.

Men: Smith covered the 10,000-meter course in 28 minutes, 25.4 seconds, the second-fastest 10k in program history, as the top-four finishers were barely 8 seconds apart.

Washington senior Brian Fay won in 28:17.2, leading the Huskies to a third-place finish.

GU senior Yacine Guermali placed seventh (28:28.7) and sophomore Kyle Radosevich was 22nd (28:56.3) to also earn all-region honors. Senior James Mwaura, fifth in the regional a year ago, placed 26th (29:04.5) and senior Cullen McEachern was 33rd (29:12.3) for the Zags’ 92 points.

Washington State, led by sophomore Brian Barsaiya’s 39th-place finish (29:20.1), was 12th out of 31 schools. Idaho was 16th and Eastern Washington 23rd. The Vandals were led by sophomore Lorenz Herrmann (29:56.2) in 66th and the Eagles by sophomore Noah Hasselblad (30:10.5) in 84th.

WSU and Eastern each had two former Greater Spokane League runners. Turlan Moran (Gonzaga Prep, 30:22.2) and Jacob Easton (University, 30:46.3) were the Cougars’ fourth and fifth runners in 94th and 110th. Marcus Lemon (Shadle Park, 31:18.2) was Eastern’s third finisher in 143rd. Jamie Christner (North Central, 32:31.5) was a nonscoring sixth in 199th among 217 finishers.

Women: Idaho junior Kelsey Swenson was 11th (19:37.1) and WSU sophomore Alaina Stone Boggs from Colville (19:38.7) 14th less than 2 seconds apart to join GU senior Kristen Garcia (17th, 19:44.1) and sophomore Rosina Machu (19:49.7) in earning all-region honors.

GU, which had senior Caramia Mestler in 44th (20:06.9), placed three in the top 50, and Idaho had two with sophomore Maya Kobylanski 50th (20:16.9). WSU just missed three with sophomore Neema Kimtai 51st (20:18.2) and junior Caroline Jerotich 53rd (20:21.2).

Eastern’s top finishers were freshmen Faith Martinez (123rd, 21:15.9) and Lilly Fetzer (126th, 21:18.2).

Behind Gonzaga (230) in the team standings were Idaho, 10th, (319); WSU, 12th, (353); and EWU, 24th, (705).

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