Sports & Outdoors

Women’s Cross-Country competes in West region meet

The Puget Sound Women’s Cross-Country team traveled to Claremont, Calif. to compete at the NCAA West Region meet on Saturday, Nov. 12. After last week’s stellar performance at the NWC Championships, where eight out of 10 runners put personal bests on the board, the team came ready to compete. They were ranked number nine  in the West Region from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Sophomore Kathryn Flyte (West Linn, Ore.) ran a personal best 22:42.7, which earned her honors at the meet. Not only did Flyte place 25th at the meet, but her time also ranks 11th all-time on the Loggers top 25 list. Last year, Flyte also competed at the regional meet, but this year was different.

“This year I had higher goals, I wanted to make it into the top 35.The course didn’t seem ideal but it was great for spectators to easily get to one place after the other to constantly be cheering. Unlike some cross-country races, there weren’t many dead spots with no one to cheer. It was fun to be out there with my teammates and actually running with the competition. It’s exciting to know how good a team is ranked and to be running with their runners in the race,” Flyte said.

Junior Carrie Keith (Erie, Colo.) finished 72nd at 23:19.2 and sophomore Alicia Burns (Spokane, Wash.) came in 142nd with a 23:56.0. Freshman Laura Leach (Alamo, Calif.) finished 223rd at 24:15.3.  Freshman Molly Bradbury (Boise, Idaho) also scored for the Loggers coming in 310th with a 24:28.4.

Senior Andrea Leiken (Portland, Ore.) ran a personal-best with a time of 24:40.5 and saw great improvement in her times over the season. “I think what made the difference this year for me was my mentality.  I felt a lot more confident in my abilities and was way more focused than I had been in the past,” Leiken said.

Head Coach Mike Orechia was very pleased with the women’s performance. “The women did a great job at regionals. With the top five returning next year, things are looking great. The tremendous amount of experience gained should pay off in the future,” Orechia said.

Senior Brooke Peaden (Aurora, Colo.) has been a contributing member since her freshman year. She also ran a personal best at the regional meet, finishing with a time of 24:57.6.  “It was a big race with a lot of different teams which tends to lead to good competition.  The team was really excited to race, to be in California, and at least three of us ran personal-bests on a pretty slow course,” Peaden said.

Like Flyte, Peaden enjoyed having support from the spectators. “There were a lot of friends and family of the team there supporting that helped,” Peaden said. As a senior, not only will Peaden miss the competition and excitement of running in a meet, but she will also miss the team.

“I never would have been friends with most of the people on the team had the sport not brought us together since our interests outside of running are completely different,” Peaden said. The Puget Sound women’s cross-country season ended at the regional meet, but many talented runners will return next fall.