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Conference Meet Preview Up For Bellingham This Weekend
This weekend's Western Washington Classic takes place at East Lake Padden Park, which will host the GNAC Championships in two weeks. Photo by Nick Danielson.
This weekend's Western Washington Classic takes place at East Lake Padden Park, which will host the GNAC Championships in two weeks. Photo by Nick Danielson.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

CONFERENCE MEET PREVIEW ON TAP IN BELLINGHAM: The GNAC does not have an official conference preview meet, but this weekend’s Western Washington Classic at Lake Padden certainly fills that bill.

Seven of the GNAC’s 11 schools will take part in the meet, which will provide a preview of the course that will be used for the GNAC Championships on Sat., Oct. 11. The meet will serve as the final tuneup prior to conference for six of the seven conference programs. Among the competing teams will be Simon Fraser, which has been a dominant force in both men’s and women’s competition all season.

In addition to being a preview of the conference course, the Western Washington  Classic will also give the men a rare chance to compete at the regional and national championship distance of 10,000 meters. It is the only meet involving GNAC teams this season that has sent men’s runners covering six-plus miles.

FALCONS CREST: Seattle Pacific put together a pair of solid performances to lead the GNAC at the Willamette Charles Invitational, giving the Falcons a rare sweep of the GNAC Cross Country Athlete of the Week awards.

The Falcons’ women placed second with a team score of 94 points. All five SPU scoring runners placed in the top-30 and finished with 20 seconds of each other. Freshman Dania Holmberg earned the women’s weekly honor from the conference office after she placed 12th with a time of 18:12 over the 5,000 meters.

Senior Ben Halladay became the first Seattle Pacific men’s cross country runner since 2013 to be named Athlete of the Week. Halladay was the top Division II placer in the 8,000-meter race, finishing ninth in 25:19.2.

ENDGAME: This weekend will be the last regular season competition for eight of the GNAC’s 11 teams. Central Washington, Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon are the three scheduled to compete again on Sat., Oct. 14.

IN THE RANKINGS: Simon Fraser’s women moved up one more spot to No. 4 in this week’s USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Poll, compiling 173 points. The Clan led three GNAC teams in West Region Rankings at No. 1. Alaska Anchorage is ranked sixth and Seattle Pacific is ranked ninth.

Alaska Anchorage continues to lead the GNAC in the USTFCCCA Men’s Division II Coaches Poll, dropping one spot to No. 13. Western Oregon also dropped one spot this week to No. 17. The Seawolves are No. 4 in the West Region Rankings, followed by Western Oregon at No. 5, Western Washington at No. 7 and Simon Fraser at No. 9.

BREAKING THE TAPE: Eight GNAC athletes, including five women, picked up victories in races over the first month of the season. Here is the complete list...

MEN
• Felix Kemboi (UAA): Ash Creek Invitational, Sept. 8 (18:42.8, 6,200 meters)
• Judd Lewis (CU): Linfield Harrier Classic, Sept. 1 (19:58.36, 6,000 meters)
• David Ribich (WOU): SF State Invitational, Sept. 22 (24:47.0, 8,000 meters)

WOMEN
• Alyssa Foote (SPU): Dual vs. Northwest (Wash.), Sept. 1 (17:20.95, 4,800 meters)
• Julia Howley (SFU): Ash Creek Invitational, Sept. 8 (16:24.6, 4,600 meters)
• Larissa Kolasinski (SMU): Puget Sound Invitational, Sept. 2 (23:51.00, 6,000 meters)
• Kennedy Rufener (WOU): Linfield Harrier Classic, Sept. 1 (15:21.41, 4,000 meters)
• Alexa Shindruk (CWU): SMU Tri-Meet, Sept. 9 (14:40, 4,000 meters)

THIS WEEK'S GNAC ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
MEN
Ben Halladay, Seattle Pacific
Senior • Mukileo, Wash.

Halladay was the top Division II finisher at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational, placing ninth in the 8,000-meter race in a time of 25:19.2. He was bettered by seven Division I competitors and finished 31 seconds behind winner Brad Hodkinson of Pacific Lutheran.

Also Nominated: Judd Lewis (Concordia), Josh Hunt (Saint Martin’s), Sawyer Heckard (Western Oregon).

WOMEN
Dania Holmberg, Seattle Pacific
Freshman • Eagle, Idaho

Holmberg led a second place team finish for the Falcons at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational, placing 12th in the 5,000-meter race in a time of 18:12. With a pace of 5:51 per mile, she finished 35 seconds behind winner Kayla Leland of Whitworth.

Also Nominated: Nicole Pederson (Concordia), Yadira Lopez (Saint Martin’s), Shayla Solomon (Western Oregon).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• Alaska did not compete last weekend. The Nanooks will have its final tuneup before the GNAC Championships on Saturday at the Western Washington Invitational.

• Alaska last competed at the Saint Martin’s Invitational on Sept. 23. Senior Seiji Takagi led a fourth place finish for the Nanooks’ men, placing 11th with a time of 27:24.6 over 8,000 meters. He was one of three UAF runners in the top-20. Senior Kim Fitzgerald led Alaska’s sixth place women’s finish, placing 22nd with a time of 20:04.9 over 5,000 meters.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Division II Conference Crossover, Romeoville, Ill.

• Alaska Anchorage has not competed since Sept. 8. The Seawolves will head east for their final meet before the GNAC Championships, competing at the Division II Conference Crossover in Romeoville, Ill.

• The Seawolves last competed at the Ash Creek Invitational at Western Oregon with both teams finishing in second place to Simon Fraser.

• The Seawolves’ men dropped one spot this week to No. 13 in the USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Poll. The Seawolves opened the season at No. 5 and is fourth in the association’s West Region Rankings.

• Alaska Anchorage still ranks at the top of the list of teams receiving votes in the USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Poll with 13 points. The Seawolves are sixth in the West Region Rankings.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Sept. 30 at Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic
Men: 7th of 8, 146 pts. Women: 3rd of 12, 101 pts.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• The women led the way for Central Washington on its trip to Kentucky, finshing second among Division II teams at the Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic.

• Junior Alexa Shindruk posted the Wildcats’ lone top-five finish, placing fifth in the women’s 5,000 meter race in a time of 18:21.43. Freshman Jackie Knight made the top-20, placing 18th in 19:11.68.

• Junior Corbin Carlton was the top Central Washington men’s finisher, placing 22nd in a time of 26:15.94 over 8,000 meters. Junior Hanson Lee placed 30th in 26:29.02.

• Central Washington is one of three GNAC teams scheduled to compete in each of the two weekends leading up to the GNAC Championships. The Wildcats will be in Bellingham on Saturday for the Western Washington Classic. They are scheduled to compete on Sat., Oct. 14, at the Lewis-Clark State Invitational in Lewiston, Idaho.

CONCORDIA
LAST WEEK: Sept. 30 at Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational
Men: 8th of 17, 192 pts. Women: 13th of 18, 327 pts.
THIS WEEK: No Meet

• Concordia’s men were the top placing GNAC team at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational, held Saturday in Salem. The Cavaliers scored 192 points, one point behind Lewis & Clark and 12 points behind host Willamette.

• Senior Judd Lewis was the Cavaliers’ top finisher, placing 17th with a time of 25:39.6 over the 8,000-meter course. Junior Jose Macias placed 22nd in 25:55.3 and junior Josh Moats placed 25th in 25:57.4.

• Junior Nicole Pederson was Concordia’s top women’s finisher, placing 52nd with a time of 19:09.9 over 5,000 meters. Senior Sara Harrington followed in 64th in a time of 19:20.9.

• The Charles Bowles Invitational was the last meet of the regular season for Concordia. The Cavaliers will not compete again until the GNAC Championships on Sat., Oct. 21.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
LAST WEEK: Sept. 30 at Rocky Mountain Shootout
Men: 3rd of 7th, 80 pts. Women: 4th of 6, 95 pts.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Yellowjacket Invitational, Billings, Mont.

• Montana State Billings posted a pair of good team performances at the Rocky Mountain Shootout. The Yellowjackets’ men were third place out of seven non-Division I teams in the meet while the women were fourth. The non-Division I teams were scored separately from the Division I teams.

• Senior Jorey Egeland was the top MSUB men’s runner, placing 24th as he covered the 8,000-meter course in a time of 26:54. Junior Tyus Mendoza was 43rd in 27:28.

• Sophomore Nikki Aiken was the top MSUB women’s finisher, taking 27th with a time of 23:15 over 5,800 meters.

• Montana State Billings will be home to conclude the regular season, hosting the Yellowjacket Invitational on Saturday at Billings’ Dover Memorial Park.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• Northwest Nazarene did not compete last weekend. The Crusaders will run this weekend at the Western Washington Classic before closing the regular season on Sat., Oct. 14, at the Idaho State Invitational.

• The Crusaders last competed on Sat., Sept. 23, competing against a large Division II field at the Roy Griak Invitational. The Crusaders’ men placed 24th in the 43-team field with a total of 584 points. Sophomore Godfrey Kemboi led the team with a time of 27:11.6 over the 8,000-meter course. Junior Sierra Manzer led the five NNU women’s runner in the meet, placing 74th in a time of 24:13.8 for 6,000 meters.

SAINT MARTIN’S
LAST WEEK: Sept. 30: at Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational
Men: 14th of 17, 375 pts. Women: 11th of 18, 298 pts.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• The Saints’ 11th place team finish in the women’s race led Saint Martin’s performances at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational.

• Senior Yadira Lopez led the SMU women with her 27th place finish, covering the 5,000-meter course in a time of 18:34.3. Junior Larissa Kolasinski was not far behind, placing 33rd in 18:40.6.

• Senior Josh Hunt was the top men’s finisher for the Saints, placing 40th with a time of 26:14.6 over 8,000 meters. Junior Levi Schilter was the No. 2 runner for SMU, placing 68th in 26:45.7.

• The Saints finish their run-up to the GNAC Championships this weekend, competing in the Western Washington Classic.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Sept. 30 at Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational
Men : 9th of 17, 216 pts. Women: 2nd of 18, 94 pts.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• Paced by a second place finish by its women’s squad, Seattle Pacific put together a pair of solid team performances at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational.

• Freshman Dania Holmberg was named the GNAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week for leading the Falcons’ women to that second place showing. Holmberg placed 12th, covering the 5,000-meter course in in 18:12.0. She was the top GNAC finisher.

• The Falcons placed all five scoring runners in the top-30 and had just a 20-second gap between No. 1 and No. 5. Sophomore Alyssa Foote was 15th in 18:16.9 while sophomore Katherine Walter placed 19th in 18:19.5.

• Senior Ben Halladay was named the GNAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week after his ninth place finish in the men’s race, covering the 8,000-meter couse in 25:19.2. He was the top GNAC placer in the race and was just five seconds out of fifth place.

• The Falcons’ women slipped one spot to No. 9 in the USTFCCCA West Region Rankings after sitting at No. 8 each of the last two weeks.

• Seattle Pacific finishes its regular season schedule on Saturday at the Western Washington Classic in Bellingham, Wash.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• Simon Fraser did not compete last weekend. The Clan will wrap the regular season on Saturday at the Western Washington Classic.

• The Simon Fraser women won the women’s maroon race at the Sept. 23 Roy Griak Invitational with a score of 73 points. The Clan’s scoring five all finished within 57 seconds of each other. Senior Julia Howley placed second in the women’s race, covering the 6,000-meter course in 22:42.4.

• The Simon Fraser men placed eighth with a score of 292 points and were the second placing GNAC team. Junior Rowan Doherty was the Clan’s top finisher and the No. 2 placer from a GNAC school, finishing 22nd in a time of 26:39.5.

• Simon Fraser’s women climbed one more spot to No. 4 in this week’s USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Poll, the highest ranking for the Clan since joining Division II in 2010. They are also No. 1 in the West Region Rankings. The Simon Fraser men are ranked No. 9 in the West Region Rankings.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Sept. 30 at Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational
Men: 13th of 17, 354 pts. Women: 18th of 18, 472 pts.
THIS WEEK: No Meet

• Resting most of its top runners, Western Oregon competed last weekend at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational.

• Sophomore Sawyer Heckard was the top WOU runner in the men’s 8,000-meter race, placing 53rd with a time of 26:32.7. Junior Aaron Rothlisberger was 58th in 26:34.8.

• Freshman Shayla Solomon was the top Wolves’ women’s finisher, placing 88th in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 19:44.1.

• The WOU men dropped one spot to No. 17 in this week’s USTFCCCA Division II Coaches Poll while retaining their No. 5 West Region ranking.

• Western Oregon will not compete this weekend. The Wolves will be one of three teams to compete in the final weekend prior to the GNAC Championships, competing at the Wes Cook Collegiate on Sat., Oct. 14.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: No Meet
THIS WEEK: Oct. 7 at Western Washington Classic, Bellingham, Wash.

• Western Washington did not complete last weekend after working a split squad the week before. The Vikings close the regular season this weekend by hosting the Western Washington Classic at Lake Padden.

• The WWU men placed fourth at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 23 with 192 points. Senior Andrew Wise led the way with his 16th place finish, covering the 8,000-meter course in 26:32.9. He was the top finishing athlete from the GNAC.

• Senior Lillianna Stelling led the Vikings’ seventh place women’s team finish at the Roy Griak, placing 28th with a time of 23:27.4 over 6,000 meters. Senior Alexandra Laiblin placed 35th in 23:38.7.

• Western Washington’s men retained its No. 7 ranking in this week’s USTFCCCA West Region Rankings.

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