On one of Seattle’s windiest mornings, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) cross country teams, along with crowds of fans, gathered at Jefferson Park in Seattle for the WAC cross country championship.
Lila Rice nears the finish line during the WAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 2. The women’s cross country team took second place during the race and the men took fourth.
The Seattle University women’s team took second place overall in the WAC championship with the help of top runners Lauren Hammerle and Hannah Mittelstaedt. Hammerle took fourth-place overall with a time of 18.10.00 for the women’s five-kilometer race, and Mittelstaedt came in eighth place with 18.25.60. First place for overall teams was awarded to the Idaho Vandals as the team’s fourth consecutive WAC title.
The Seattle U men’s team took fourth place overall, with top runners Nathan McLaughlin finishing 16th with a time of 26.20.20 on the men’s eight-kilometer race. Graham Kinzel-Grubbs followed in 17th place with a time of 26.23.40.
The top seven runners for men’s and women’s teams competed in the WAC championship race, based on the athletes’ times at the recent Beaver Classic.
“The women ran exactly according to plan and showed their experience. They were confident, aggressive, and tough out there today. They did a great job focusing on their goals and were rewarded for their efforts. I’m very pleased, but know we can still build off of today’s performance,” Seattle U head coach Trisha Steidl said, as quoted in the Seattle U press release.
“The men overall ran solid,” Steidl said. “But the lack of experience at this level showed. This is a good experience for them to grow from. I know they can put it all together in two weeks at the regional meet.”
Other highlights of the race include the announcement of the WAC Freshman of the Year title, which was awarded to Seattle U Freshman Lila Rice. This award is given to the first freshman to cross the line at the WAC championship meet. Rice, in the final one hundred meters of the race, outkicked a freshman out of Idaho, making the title all the more sweet.
This event held particular meaning to Seattle U, as it is the first occasion in which the university has hosted a WAC championship event. Students and volunteers helped make the meet a success and even windy conditions didn’t prevent the event from being enjoyable for spectators
“It’s huge for us to be able to host this event on this awesome course, which has previously hosted Pac-10 Championships, Club Nationals, and last year’s West Regionals,” Steidl said. “To be able to bring everyone over here to host this event, and to be the first team to host a WAC championship contest, is important to us.”
Members of the Seattle U team who raced in the WAC Championship on Saturday will compete to complete their season in the NCAA West Regional Competition on Friday, Nov. 15 in Sacramento.
Alaina may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alaina Bever is a sophomore mechanical engineering major interested in bioengineering. This is her second quarter as a staff writer for The Spectator. In her free time, Alaina enjoys running, baking and writing.