XC’s ‘best team’ in four years has strong start

by Gayle Chung

“This is the best team we’ve had in the last four years…and possibly beyond that,” said Adam Kopet, one of the two captains for the men’s cross country team.

The team returned on Sept. 30 from the Charles Bowles Invitational, bringing back promising results for both the men’s and women’s teams.

First-year runner Yasmeen Colis placed 44 in the women’s 5,000 meters out of  298 women who ran. Colis finished 18:58.75, while Sara McCune, also a first-year, was close behind, placing 47 in 19:01.65.

“We have a lot of people who graduated last year. But despite the inexperience of our collegiate running, the women are doing phenomenally well,” said Kopet.

In a written response, senior Sam Clark, the other captain for the men’s team, agreed. “The new women runners are the best collection of talent we’ve had,” Clark said.

The women’s team as a whole has been running well. Of the 11 women who ran in the Charles Bowles Invitational, nine ran personal best times.

The men have also been doing well in the invitational. “Our incoming freshmen males are putting together the fastest races we’ve seen from first-years in all my time at Whitman,” said Clark.

In the men’s 8,000 meters, Clark placed 69th with a time of 26:04.35. Junior teammate Brian Woods came close behind, finishing 71 with a time of 26:04.85 among the 305 runners who ran at the invitational.

So far this season, the  team has run four meets, including the home invitational on Sept. 2. The team has two more weeks until the Bigfoot Open on Oct. 14 at Spokane Falls Community College. Two weeks after that, the team will be going to the NCAA D-III West Regionals in Prado, California.

“For the conference, it’s hard to predict out completely what’s going to happen,” said Kopet, when asked his thoughts on how cross country might finish the season. “We’ve been holding people out. Though our women are in fourth or fifth place, and our men are in fifth or sixth place in the conference.”

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