Western Washington University posted perfect scores in winning both the men’s and women’s divisions at the Saint Martin’s University Cross Country Invitational held on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the SMU campus course.
Both Viking squads finished with winning point totals of 15. The WWU women entered the meet ranked No.19 and the men No.20 in their respective United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Top 25 Polls.
Host Saint Martin’s was a distant second in both races with Trinity Lutheran third. Five teams competed in the men’s run and four in the women’s.
WWU’s Katelyn Steen was the women’s individual champion, finishing the 5-kilometer distance in 18:07. That was nearly a minute faster than teammate Taylor Guenther, who was second in 18:58.
In all, 13 WWU runners crossed the finish line before a competitor from another team did.
The Vikings’ Nathan Richards took the men’s 8-kilometer run in 26:22, followed closely by Andrew Wise in 26:29 and Isaac Griffith in 26:30.
“We went in knowing that we should perfect score, and we nearly had three full teams for the women and two for the men,” said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell. “This meet should help our confidence. It was the first meet for a lot of our runners and it will get us ready for upcoming competition.”
“We went out easy, but not that easy. It was a totally new course and our kids liked it a lot better than the previous one.”
WWU next hosts its 41st Annual Viking Classic on Oct. 11 at Lake Padden Park.