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Vikings Sweep XC Titles For Team Of The Week Honors
Led by junior Jane Barr, the WWU women edged out defending champion Alaska Anchorage by seven points.
Led by junior Jane Barr, the WWU women edged out defending champion Alaska Anchorage by seven points.
Senior James Jasperson paced the WWU men to the program's fifth team title.
Senior James Jasperson paced the WWU men to the program's fifth team title.

Monday, October 28, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Washington cross country weathered the storm on its way to being selected as the GNAC Team of the Week.

The Vikings plowed through a snow-covered Amend Park to capture both the men’s and women’s team titles at the GNAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Billings, Montana.

The Western Washington women had three runners finish in the top-10 to earn All-GNAC honors, with the No. 4 and No. 5 runners landing in the top-15. The Vikings won the title with a total of 53 points, seven points ahead of second-place and defending champion Alaska Anchorage. It was Western Washington’s first GNAC women’s cross country team title.

“The team ran as a unit, just like it has done all year, but today was even more impressive. They overcame some tough elements to start fast and finish strong,” head coach Pee Wee Halsell said.

The Vikings were paced by junior Jane Barr, who finished in eighth place in 22:26.1. Sophomore Rebecca Lehman followed closely behind with a ninth-place finish in a time of 22:29.6 and senior Tracy Melville finished in 10th in 22:40.

The No. 1 and No. 5 Viking runners were separated by just 26 seconds. Senior Sophia Galvez finished in 11th in 22:43.9 and sophomore Tovah-Swartz-Ireland finished in 15th in 22:52.3 to secure the victory.

The Western Washington men had a similar pack mentality as four runners finished within four seconds of each other to place in the top-10 and earn All-GNAC honors. The Vikings dominated the field, easily winning the meet with 38 points, 38 points ahead of second-place Simon Fraser.

The Vikings were led by senior James Jasperson’s fourth-place finish in a time of 25:24.5. Junior Edward Kilobasa finished one second later in fifth place in 25:25.6. Freshman Deyago Peraza placed sixth in 25:27.4 and senior Liam Cossette placed seventh in 25:28.1 to round out the pack. Peraza was also named the Freshman of the Year.

The fifth scoring runner for Western Washington was junior Eric Hamel, who finished in 16th in a time of 25:44.2 to seal the deal for the Vikings. It was the program’s fifth GNAC men’s cross country team championship and its first in 10 years.

“Just an amazing day to be a Viking,” Halsell said. “To claim both team titles is something really special and we are going to celebrate this, but I believe there is a lot left in this team heading into regionals and hopefully nationals. They are a driven, determined team that can call themselves GNAC Champions.”

Up next, the Vikings will join the other GNAC teams at the NCAA Division II West Region Championships, hosted by Western Oregon on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Ash Creek Preserve in Monmouth, Oregon.

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