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WOU Men's XC Earns Team Of The Week After GNAC Triumph
Despite Ribich's first-place finish, it was the Wolves' No. 5 runner sophomore Justin Crosswhite who secured the title with a 15th-place finish in 25:59.11.
Despite Ribich's first-place finish, it was the Wolves' No. 5 runner sophomore Justin Crosswhite who secured the title with a 15th-place finish in 25:59.11.

Monday, October 23, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Placing all five scoring runners in the top-15 en route to its first GNAC cross country title in school history, Western Oregon men’s cross country has been selected as the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week.

Behind a win for senior David Ribich and a tight group of No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 runners, the Wolves won the meet with a score of 51 points at Lake Padden Park near Bellingham. Alaska Anchorage placed second with 64 points.

Ribich won his first individual cross country title with a time of 24:54.82 over 8,000 meters. He outdistanced defending champion Edwin Kangogo, who placed second in a time of 25:03.63. Both teams placed two runners in the top-10, with Alaska Anchorage freshman Felix Kemboi taking third in a time of 25:18.59 and Western Oregon’s Dustin Nading taking eighth in 25:32.76.

The race was won for the Wolves, however, by the No. 3, 4 and 5 runners, who all finished in sequence. Junior Tyler Jones was 13th, junior Marson Parker was 14th and sophomore Justin Crosswhite was 15th to claim the crown.

Finishing in fourth at the GNAC Championships the past two years, WOU cross country coach Mike Johnson attributed the Wolves’ success at the meet on their ability to stay healthy this season. “They’re all healthy. David and Dustin were slightly hurt last year. The guys stayed around and trained, it was pretty much the same guys that we had a couple years ago and over time they’ve matured in racing,” says Johnson.

Prior to the GNAC Championships, five of the Wolves’ top-six finishers only participated in one meet leading up to the event. By design, Johnson managed to keep his top runners healthy leading up to one of the biggest races of the year. “[In the past] we just haven’t had good fortune on meet day. This time we had good fortune and took advantage of it,” Johnson said.

Ribich provided Western Oregon with its first individual cross country title and became the first non-UAA runner to win the meet since 2007. It was a group race for much of the first half of the race before Ribich started to pull away. “At four kilometers I made a move,” he said. “I hadn’t planned on making that move pre-race, but I found myself in the lead and felt good and just decided to go with it. From there, things felt really good.”

Western Oregon hosts the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships on Nov. 4. “We are very pleased to host, but Ash Creek has never proven to be a tremendous advantage for us. It’s important that we do the things now that help brings the team together for competition at the regional meet,” says Johnson.

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