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Sports >  Gonzaga athletics

Gonzaga men’s cross country finish program-best 13th place a NCAA Championships

Nov. 19, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 19, 2022 at 6:55 p.m.

Gonzaga runners Yacine Guermali, left, and Wil Smith compete during the NCAA Division I Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)
Gonzaga runners Yacine Guermali, left, and Wil Smith compete during the NCAA Division I Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)
From staff reports

From staff reports

STILLWATER, Okla. – A change of strategy produced improved results for the Gonzaga University men’s cross country team Saturday at the NCAA Division I Championships.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs, who placed their first two finishers in the top 100 and the third at 101 in the 255-runner field, scored 400 points for a program-best 13th-place national finish.

“We ran a conservative race, unlike a year ago and last March, where we ran an aggressive race and paid the price,” GU head coach Pat Tyson said in a school release. “You look at the results and you see who we beat and who is ranked way better than us. So I’m really, really proud. I think we maximized our team performance today.”

The Bulldogs, who were 27th in March 2021 and 26th last November, were ahead of 13th-ranked Notre Dame (15), No. 11 Villanova (19) and No. 14 Tennessee (20). They finished one spot better than 17th-ranked Northwest rival Washington.

Yacine Guermali, one of three seniors, led the Bulldogs across the line in 41st, clocking 29 minutes, 36.3 seconds for 10,000 meters on the cold (26 degrees; 17-degree wind chill factor) but dry day.

Sophomore Wil Smith of Lewis and Clark was 59th (29:50.4) and senior James Mwaura 101st (30:12.4).

The Zags’ other runners were senior Cullen McEachern (128th, 30:26.7), sophomore Kyle Radosevich (133rd, 30:27.8), junior Riley Moore (203rd, 31:05.5) and freshman Bryce Cerkowniak (220th, 31:26.3).

“I’m really proud of these guys for enduring, particularly these three seniors that are going to graduate,” Tyson said. “They fought, and collectively, these Washington high school grads came together and pulled off the greatest cross country race team-wise in Gonzaga history.”

Stanford sophomore Charles Hicks outkicked two Northern Arizona runners to win the individual championship in 28:43.6. NAU won a third straight team title in a tiebreaker with Oklahoma State after both finished with 83 points.

North Carolina State repeated as women’ team champion, led by sophomore Katelyn Tuohy’s victory in 19:27.7 for 6K. Washington finished 17th.

• Whitworth junior Madelyn Buckley finished 174th out of 293 runners at her first NCAA Division III championship meet on a cold, snow-covered course in Lansing, Michigan. The Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) graduate timed 23:57.4 for 6,000 meters.

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