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Gonzaga’s Wil Smith finishes third at West Coast Conference cross country championships; Zags place second as team

Oct. 28, 2022 Updated Fri., Oct. 28, 2022 at 4:58 p.m.

By Chuck Stewart For The Spokesman-Review

Wil Smith and the Gonzaga men led the showing by Division I area schools in the 2022 West Coast, Pac-12 and Big Sky conference cross country championships Friday.

Smith, a GU sophomore from Lewis and Clark High School, broke up Brigham Young’s pack at the front of the 8,000-meter race in the rain and mud at Fernhill Park in Portland, finishing third and leading the Zags to a second-place team finish. Smith, seventh as a freshman, earned a second All-WCC award.

The only non-BYU runner in the top seven, he timed 22 minutes, 11.5 seconds. BYU junior Casey Clinger won in 21:59.5, leading the Cougars to 18 points and the team title.

GU, which had seniors Yacine Guermali (15), James Mwaura (17), Cullen McEachern (18) and sophomore Kyle Radosevich (20) in the top 20, scored 69 points. Mwaura was second in 2021.

In the women’s 6,000-meter race, Gonzaga had senior Kristen Garcia (20.08.6) and sophomore Rosina Machu (20.13.1), finish sixth and seventh, respectively, and placed fourth behind champion BYU. It was Garcia’s highest WCC finish as she earned a third All-WCC honor. BYU senior Aubrey Frentheway won in 19:47.2.

Big Sky: Idaho got a 3-5 finish from junior Maya Kobylanski (16:37.4) and senior Kelsey Swenson (16:41.1) to lead the Vandals to a second-place team finish in the 5,000 women’s race at Fairways Golf Course in Cheney. Northern Arizona completed a Lumberjacks team sweep with 22 points.

Host Eastern Washington, led by redshirt freshman Lilly Fetzer (17:47.6) in 28th, was sixth with 189.

Idaho sophomore Lorenz Herrmann (24:15.5) was 15th, just the seventh non-Northern Arizona runner in the top 17 as the Lumberjacks scored 19 points in rolling to their 19th team title since 2000. Idaho placed fifth with 123. Eastern, whose sophomore Noah Hasselblad (24:32.8) was 21st, lost a tiebreaker with Idaho State to place seventh after they tied for sixth with 214 points.

Pac-12: Junior Neema Kimtai (19:38.5) was 10th with an all-conference finish in the 6,000 women’s race in Riverside, California, and junior Alaina Stone Boggs (19:47.8) of Colville was 18th to lead the Washington State women to a seventh-place team finish.

Colorado edged Utah for a repeat team title on a tiebreaker after both scored 66 points. WSU scored 160. Washington was fifth with 94. Colorado grad student Bailey Hertenstein (19:11.3) was the individual winner.

WSU, led by sophomores Brian Barsaiya (23:54.7, 33rd) and Leif Swanson from North Central (23:55.1, 34th), placed sixth with 177 points behind champion Stanford’s 22 in the men’s 8,000 race. Senior Charles Hicks of Stanford repeated as men’s winner with a course-record 22:30.9.

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