With five runners placing among the top 10, the nationally ranked Western Washington University men’s cross country team scored a 27-point victory among four teams to open the 2015 season at the Central Washington University Apple Ridge Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 12.
The Viking women finished second, trailing host Central by 12 points (34 to 22), as freshman Tracy Melville (Lamont/Sprague) placed third in her collegiate debut, completing the 4-kilometer course in a team-best 15:08.
Redshirt freshman Nick Mounier (Kelso) led the WWU men, which had a low score of 22 points to 49 for runner-up Central. He placed third with a 6-kilometer time of 20:24.
Another redshirt freshman, Dylan Hayes (Seattle/Garfield) was fourth (20:28) for the Vikings, ranked No.19 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Preseason Poll, with Cody McCranie (Jr., Auburn) sixth (20:48), Justin Irvine (So., Yakima/West Valley) seventh (20:53) and Sean Eustis (So., Washougal) 10th (21:10).
Finishing fifth (15:44) for the WWU women was Brittany Grant (Jr., Port Townsend), with Taylor Guenther (Sr., Vancouver/Prairie) sixth (15:45).
“They did a good job, especially considering they were coming into it tired after the first week of training,” said head coach Pee Wee Halsell (29th year). “We got a good effort even with the temperature being around 87 degrees for the men’s run.”
Taking the men’s individual title was Pacific Lutheran freshman Brad Hodkinson with a 25-second victory (19:41), while Central senior Dani Eggleston won the women’s crown by two seconds (15:00) over teammate Erin Chinchar.
WWU next competes in the University of Washington Sundodger Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 19 (9 a.m.), at Seattle’s Lincoln Park.