Sports & Outdoors

Logger cross country team crosses the finish line

The Loggers’ cross country squad, both the men and women, continue their season with spots in the regional rankings.

According to the Sept. 23 week two U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association rankings, the University of Puget Sound’s women’s cross country team is ranked fourth in the Western Region, while the men are ranked sixth.

This came after a strong performance on Sept. 21 at the Sundodger Invitational held at Lincoln Park in Seattle, Wash. Many Loggers ran personal best times at this meet.

Senior Molly Bradbury (Boise, Idaho) and Sophomore Tori Klien (Yakima, Wash) finished 23 and 24 respectively. Bradbury ran a time of 22:50.19 and Klien ran a time of 22.50.73.

On the men’s side, senior Joshua Seekatz (Philomath, Ore.) finished 15th in the men’s eight-kilometer run with a time of 25:31. Senior Justin Higa (Pearl City, Hawaii) and Andrew Langtry (Hilo, Hawaii) finished the event with personal best marks.  Higa ran a 26:15 and Langtry ran a 27:10.

“Cross country isn’t about running your best time,” Coach Mike Orechia said. “What’s important is where you place and how well you compete.”

Orechia mentioned how Langtry has improved tremendously since last season.  He commented on Langtry dropping his overall time and being more mentally ready to compete in races.

The women’s cross country team is very young.  Five of the 13 women on the roster are first-year students. Orechia emphasizes the first cross country season as a transitional period.  It is his belief that first semester is a time where the student athletes learn how to balance school and sports.

The men’s cross country roster is small, including only nine athletes. Ten runners from a team may participate in the league meet. Orechia insists that he will not take runners if their times are not competitive.

“The team really only has one goal this year; win the NWC [Northwest Conference],” Seekatz said. “The success that will come prior and after that kind of accomplishment will just fall in place as long as we’re working hard and racing at a level where we can genuinely stake claim as the best team in the conference.”

There is a strong belief amongst the coach and male runners that they can win conference.  The biggest contenders for conference this year include the University of Puget Sound, Whitman College and Willamette University.  The Northwest Conference is very competitive this year.

Orechia’s biggest issue with the men’s team is its small number of athletes. He noted that the men do not have the luxury of being a large team. It is key for the team’s success that none of the runners get injured.

Orechia believes that the women’s team can finish in the top three.  His expectations have grown for them as the season has progressed.

“For the women, we were fifth last year,” coach Orechia said. “After the way the [women’s cross country team] performed last weekend, they should finish in the top three.”

The Sundodger Invitational was a success, according to the coach and runners who participated in the meet.

There is a belief that they can improve on this performance and peak during conference.  The men’s and women’s cross country teams’ next race will be Oct. 4.

It is the Chuck Bowles Invitational and it will be held at Bush Park in Salem, Ore.