Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Locally: Gonzaga’s Rosina Machu named WCC Women’s Runner of the Year

Rosina Machu’s fourth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional on Friday earned the Gonzaga sophomore cross country runner an automatic bid to next week’s nationals.  (Courtesy of Paul Merca/Gonzaga athletics)
From staff and news services

Gonzaga’s Rosina Machu was named the 2023 West Coast Conference Women’s Runner of the Year, announced by the league on Nov. 29. She is the first GU runner to earn the honor.

In a historic season for the sophomore, Machu broke the women’s program 6K record three times over the course of the season, with the latest coming on Nov. 10 at the NCAA West Regional (19:15.7). She also notched three individual race wins.

In her fastest 6K race of her career, Machu placed fourth at Regionals in Sacramento to earn All-Region for the second-straight season. Eight days later at the NCAA Championships in Charlottesville, Virginia, Machu became the second women’s cross country All-American in GU program history and the first since Cheska Fairbanks in 1996. Her 16th place (19:37.7) finish is the highest since Fairbanks placed 14th in that ’96 season.

• Gonzaga’s Pat Tyson was named the West Coast Conference Men’s Coach of the Year in cross country for the second-straight year. It is the third nod for Tyson since the Spring 2020 season, with the latest honor coming after the Zag men won the WCC title for the first time.

After the WCC Championships, the men stunned three ranked teams at the NCAA West Regional in Sacramento on Nov. 10, placing second as a team to earn their fourth-straight NCAA Championships appearance and second-consecutive automatic qualifying bid. They went on to finish 20th at the national meet.

Noah Laughlin-Hall of Bend, Oregon, has signed a National Letter of Intent with Gonzaga.

He joins Gonzaga after a third-place finish at the OSAA 5A State Cross Country Championships in Eugene on Nov. 4. His 15:33.1 finish was just six seconds behind the winning time as he improved from a 13th place finish in 2022 by over 30 seconds. On the track, Laughlin-Hall has posted personal-best marks of 3:54.11 (1500m) and 8:33.45 (3000m).

Soccer

The Gonzaga’s women’s soccer coaches have been named the West Region Staff of the Year. The honor is a result of a vote by other coaches in the region who are also members of the United Soccer Coaches College Services program.

The GU staff of head coach Chris Watkins and assistant coaches Katie Benz, Whitney Pitalo, and Maddie Cooley, will now be placed onto the National Staff of the Year ballot.

Watkins was named the 2023 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. It was his second WCC Coach of the Year honor, after earning the accolade in 2020-21, when the GU staff was also recognized as the West Region Staff of the Year.

Gonzaga celebrated unprecedented success in the 2023 season. The program advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time, and first since 20005, winning a tournament match for the first time. The Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference title for the first time, beating Portland, Pepperdine and Santa Clara all in the same season. GU’s six conference wins were the most in program history.

The Zags’ 14 overall victories were the second-most in program history. Gonzaga set new single season scoring (56), assist (44) and point total (156) program records. The Bulldogs had the No. 5 scoring offense in the nation.