Early XC Season Continues With 3 Meets
Bryant Edgerton and the Montana State Billings cross country teams will make their 2023 season debut on Saturday in Sturgis, S.D.
Bryant Edgerton and the Montana State Billings cross country teams will make their 2023 season debut on Saturday in Sturgis, S.D.

Thursday, September 7, 2023
by Evan O'Kelly

PORTLAND, Ore. –Two Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country teams will make their 2023 season debut this weekend, with three total meets on this week’s schedule.

Montana State Billings and Saint Martin’s have yet to record times in the young season, but that will change with both in action. The Saints will toe the line at the Ash Creek Collegiate in Monmouth, Ore., on Friday evening, while the Yellowjackets compete in the Gage McSpadden Memorial in Sturgis, S.D. Alaska will host its second meet of the fall with the Nanook Forest Clash set for Saturday morning in Fairbanks.

GNAC Cross Country Schedule - Sept. 8 - Sept. 9
Date Meet Location Start Time GNAC Teams Competing
9/8 Ash Creek Collegiate Monmouth, Ore. 5:15 p.m. SMU, WOU
9/9 Nanook Forest Clash Fairbanks, Alaska 10:40 a.m. UAA, UAF
9/9 Gage McSpadden Memorial Sturgis, S.D. 6:30 p.m. MSUB

This Week's Storylines


Regional Championship Course Sees First Action: Monmouth’s Ash Creek Preserve is no stranger to hosting the NCAA West Region Championships, which it will do on Nov. 4 on the campus of Western Oregon University. This week’s Ash Creek Collegiate will be the first college meet of the season on the championship track, with Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s set to compete. The Wolves are coming off their 2023 season debut, competing at the Linfield Harrier Classic last week at McMinnville’s Joe Dancer Park. The Saints, who were picked third in the women’s preseason poll and fifth in the men’s, will look for a strong start to a promising campaign.

Meanwhile In The Forest: Alaska Anchorage and Alaska will go head-to-head for the second time this season, this time squaring off on the UAF Running Trails in Fairbanks. In the initial meeting on Aug. 26 in Anchorage, the UAA men and the UAF women took the team titles to start the year. Reigning GNAC champion Coleman Nash cruised to the individual win on the men’s side, while Alaska’s Rosie Fordham was the women’s victor at the Seawolf Throwdown. Saturday’s 10:40 a.m. ADT start time will be the second of five times this fall that the two teams will compete at the same meet.

Read More: Alaska Preview

‘Jackets Set For 2023 Debut: Montana State Billings will get a first look at its squad in the Saturday night meet hosted by Black Hills State University. MSUB’s men were tabbed sixth in the preseason coaches poll while the women were picked ninth.

Vikings Go 1-15: Preseason favorite Western Washington made a statement in its debut meet of the season, winning both the women’s and men’s team titles at last week’s Puget Sound Invitational. Ashley Reeck led a group of 15 consecutive WWU women across the finish line as the Vikings ran away with the team title. The sophomore was the lone racer to break 18 minutes in the 5k race, finishing in 17:41.0. On the men’s side, WWU had five of the top-10 finishers including second-place Sam Lingwall at 15:00.5 in the 5k race.

By The Narrowest Of Margins: Central Washington’s Johan Correa claimed the individual title at the Puget Sound Invitational by the slimmest of margins, edging WWU’s Lingwall by 0:00.1 with a time of 15:00.4. It was the debut meet of the season for the Wildcats, who wound up fourth in the team placing at the event.

Runner to Watch


Cassidy Walchak-Sloan – Saint Martin’s

A big part of the second-place finish by the Saint Martin’s women at last year’s GNAC Championships was then-sophomore Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, who burst onto the scene with a breakout season. The Olympia, Wash., native clocked a time of 21:19.6 on the championship course to take sixth place, and was among three top-10 finishers that ultimately led the Saints to their runner-up finish. Walchak-Sloan continued to impress at the ensuing regional championship meet, where she finished 15th among a field of 168 competitors to close out her season. Proving to be one of the most improved runners in the conference, Walchak-Sloan moved up from 26th place at the GNAC Championship and 63rd at the regional championship as a freshman in 2021. Hopes are high again this fall with the Saints tabbed third in the preseason poll, and their debut this weekend in Monmouth will provide a baseline for the team to assess its expectations.

GNAC XC In The Weekly Coaches Poll Rankings

The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association releases national and regional rankings throughout the 2023 cross country season. The next set of rankings will be released on Sept. 18.

The national rankings feature the top-30 teams in Division II, while the regional rankings feature the top-10 teams in each of the eight regions. The Division II west region is comprised of teams from the GNAC, CCAA, and PacWest Conference.

USTFCCCA National Rankings - Men's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2
Preseason 10. WWU 27. SFU


USTFCCCA West Region Rankings - Men's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3
Preseason 2. WWU 5. SFU 8. UAA


USTFCCCA West Region Rankings - Women's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3
Preseason 6. WWU 7. UAF 8. SFU

2023 GNAC Cross Country Runners of the Week
Date Women's Runner of the Week Men's Runner of the Week
Aug. 28 Rosie Fordham, Alaska Coleman Nash, Alaska Anchorage
Sept. 5 Ashley Reeck, Western Washington Johan Correa, Central Washington

2023 GNAC Cross Country Championships

The 2023 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships will be held Saturday, Oct. 21 at Kincaid Park and will be hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska. All 10 conference members will compete in both that event as well as the ensuing NCAA West Region Championships which are set for Nov. 4 at Western Oregon.

2023 GNAC Cross Country Women's Race Winners
Date Race Winner School Distance Time
8/26 Seawolf Throwdown Rosie Fordham Alaska 5k 18:10.5
9/2 Puget Sound Invitational Ashley Reeck Western Washington 5k 17:41.0


2023 GNAC Cross Country Men's Race Winners
Date Race Winner School Distance Time
8/26 Seawolf Throwdown Coleman Nash Alaska Anchorage 5k 15:06.0
9/2 Puget Sound Invitational Johan Correa Central Washington 5k 15:00.4

2023 GNAC Cross Country Women's Race Winners

Last Week's GNAC Results

Linfield Harrier Classic (Sept. 1 at Joe Dancer Park, McMinnville, Ore.): Men (6,000m): No Team Scores. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Elliott Cook, Oregon, 18:17.3. 2, Eliason Kabasenche, Portland, 19:19.5. 3, Dalton Kaines, Portland, 18:20.6. 4. Kutoven Stevens, Oregon, 18:25.5. 5, Paul Law, Portland, 18:26.0. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 43, Isaiah Rodriguez, WOU, 19:44.7. 61, Grant Bohannon, WOU, 20:17.9. 62, Remedan Seman, WOU, 20:20.9. 84, Henry Michener, WOU, 20:47.4. 89. Carson Austin, WOU, 20:55.3. Women (4,000m): No Team Scores. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Katie Clute, Oregon, 13:26.6. 2, Anika Thompson, Oregon, 13:29.3. 3, Sage Brooks, Oregon State, 13:30.1. 4, Melissa Berry, Oregon, 13:30.9. 5, Ruby Broadbent, Unattached (OSU), 13:32.1. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 46, Joelle Upshur, WOU, 15:41.8. 48, Kyla Potratz, WOU, 15:48.9. 50, Amelia Merritt, WOU, 15:53.4. 56, Kaydence Nguyen, ZWOU, 16:06.2. 94, Piper Youngmayr, WOU, 17:49.8.

Dr. Thad Schols Cross Country Classic (Sept. 2 at Twin Falls Country Club, Twin Falls, Idaho): Men (7,000m): 1, College of Idaho, 23. 2, Southern Idaho, 50. 3, Northwest Nazarene, 58. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Mason Braithwaite, Unattached, 22:08.4. 2, Elias Everist, Coll. Of Idaho, 22:11.7. 3, Brody Kemble, NNU, 22:28.1. 4, Braden Heath, Coll. Of Idaho, 22:32.2. 5, Daniel Butler, Coll. Of Idaho, 22:36.1. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 3, Brody Kemble, NNU, 22:28.1. 13, Ian Stockett, NNU, 23:16.9. 17, Asher Ingram, NNU, 23:38.1. 18, Quincy Ellis, NNU, 23:40.8. 19, Aaron Heberlein, NNU, 23:44.8. Women (5,000m): 1, College of Idaho, 18. 2, Southern Idaho, 41. 3, Northwest Nazarene, 80. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Sage Martin, Coll. Of Idaho, 17:54.3. 2, Abbey Shirts, Coll. Of Idaho, 18:04.0. 3, Ellyse Tingelstad, Coll. Of Idaho, 18:11.2. 4, Kahea Figueira, Coll. Of Idaho, 18:20.3. 5, Elizabeth Phillips, Coll. Of Idaho, 18:42.2. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 14, Morgan Erler, NNU, 19:35.8. 16, Casey Collom, NNU, 20:03.5. 18, Jordan Gram, NNU, 20:43.3. 21, Olivia Klein, NNU, 20:50.6. 22, Keelin Stewart, NNU, 20:54.9.

Puget Sound Invitational (Sept. 2 at Ft. Steilacoom Park, Lakewood, Wash.): Men (5,000m): 1, Western Washington, 30. 2, Northwest, 81. 3, Puget Sound, 94. 4, Central Washington, 102. 5, Seattle Pacific, 109. 6, Pacific Lutheran, 122. 7, Green River College, 173. 8, Evergreen State, 206. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Johan Correa, CWU, 15:00.4. 2, Sam Lingwall, WWU, 15:00.5. 3, Micah Murphy, Northwest, 15:01.5. 4, Ben Kerr, Puget Sound, 15:06.2. 5, Ryan Clough, WWU, 15:06.7. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 6, Jalen Javurek, WWU, 15:15.0. 8, Steiner Christensen, CWU, 15:18.5. 9, Jason Blinn, WWU, 15:28.9. 10, Will Henry, WWU, 15:32.0. 11, Brennan LeBlanc, WPU, 15:32.9. Women (5,000m): 1, Western Washington, 15. 2, Seattle Pacific, 59. 3, Central Washington, 79. 4, Puget Sound, 96. 5, Northwest, 124. DNF – Green River Coll.; Pacific Lutheran. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Ashley Reeck, WWU, 17:41.0. 2, Sophie Wright, WWU, 18:07.6. 3, Mia Crocker, WWU, 18:14.9. 4, Emma Smith, WWU, 18:26.6. 5, Meaera Nystrom, WWU, 18:27.3. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 6, Alanna Parker, WWU, 18:29.8. 7, Ella Edens, WWU, 18:33.1. 8, Kendall Carter, WWU, 18:39.7. 9, Marian Ledesma, WWU, 18:46.9. 10, Kayla Ramsey, WWU, 18:56.7.





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