At Elevation And Sea Level, XC Season Rolls On
Simon Fraser's men will make their 2023 season debut Saturday, entering the week ranked No. 28 in the USTFCCCA national poll.
Simon Fraser's men will make their 2023 season debut Saturday, entering the week ranked No. 28 in the USTFCCCA national poll.

Thursday, September 14, 2023
by Evan O'Kelly

PORTLAND, Ore. – Meets in the mountains and on the West Coast are on the schedule for Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country teams this weekend as five schools will be in action.

Montana State Billings will compete for the second week in a row, taking on a competitive field at the Montana Invitational in Missoula on Friday morning. Northwest Nazarene also competes on Friday morning, at the Cascade Collegiate Conference Preview meet in Caldwell, Idaho.

Three conference schools will participate in the Pacific Lutheran Invitational, which is scheduled for an 11 a.m. (PDT) start on Saturday morning in Tacoma, Wash. Joining Seattle Pacific and Central Washington will be Simon Fraser, which is set to compete for the first time this year.

GNAC Cross Country Schedule - Sept. 15 - Sept. 9
Date Meet Location Start Time GNAC Teams Competing
9/15 Cascade Collegiate Preview Caldwell, Idaho 9 a.m. (MDT) NNU
9/15 Montana Invitational Missoula, Mont. 9:30 a.m. (MDT) MSUB
9/16 Pacific Lutheran Invitational Tacoma, Wash. 11 a.m. (PDT) CWU, SPU, SFU

This Week's Storylines


At Long Last, Red Leafs Make Debut: The final GNAC team yet to compete this season, Simon Fraser will make its anticipated debut competing in the Pacific Lutheran Invitational on Saturday in Tacoma. After being tabbed second in the preseason coaches poll on both the men’s and women’s sides, SFU figures to be one of the conference’s top competitors this fall. The SFU men will look to boost themselves up the USTFCCCA national rankings, where they enter the week No. 28.

Falcons, Wildcats Also Set for PLU Invite: Joining the Red Leafs at the Pacific Lutheran Invitational will be Seattle Pacific and Central Washington, who will each be competing for the first time in two weeks. The schools’ women’s teams had a strong showing at the Puget Sound Invitational on Sept. 2, with the Falcons placing second and the Wildcats third to kick off the season. SPU’s Anna Prussian was its top finisher in 17th place, while CWU’s Lauren Thompson and Hannah Mikkelsen finished back-to-back in 22nd and 23rd in their first race of the season.

Read More: Wildcats Gear Up For PLU Invitational (CWU Preview)

Nighthawks Stay Close To Home: Making the 15-minute jaunt down I-84 on Friday, Northwest Nazarene will line up for its second meet of the season. Brody Kemble took the headlines for the Nighthawks on Sept. 1, placing third among a field of 43 at the Dr. Thad Schols Classic with a 7k time of 22:28.1. On the women’s side Morgan Erler was the Nighthawks’ top performer two weeks ago, placing 14th with a 5k time of 19:35.8.

Runner to Watch


Andrew Rush, Montana State Billings

It was quite the collegiate debut for Yellowjacket freshman Andrew Rush, who was his team’s top finisher at last week’s Gage McSpadden Memorial meet in Sturgis, S.D. Toeing the line among a field of 53 competitors, the St. Ignatious, Mont., native cruised to a sixth-place finish. Rush cleared the 6k course with a time of 19:25.8, just missing out on a top-five finish in his debut collegiate meet. After losing longtime top runner Ase Ackerman to graduation, the Yellowjacket men will look on eagerly this week as Rush competes at the Montana Invitational in Missoula.

Read More: Rush Has Strong Yellowjacket Debut (MSUB Release)

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. 19.

In the latest rankings released on Sept. 12, Western Washington’s women jumped into the national poll at No. 29 while moving up one spot in the regional rankings to No. 5 in the west. The Alaska women moved up one spot in the regional rankings to No. 6 as did the Simon Fraser women to No. 7. On the men’s side, Western Washington remained at No. 10 in the national poll while Simon Fraser (which has yet to compete) dropped one spot to No. 28.  

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
Week 1 10. WWU 28. SFU


USTFCCCA National Rankings - Women's Cross Country
Poll Team 1  
Preseason -- --
Week 1 29. WWU --


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


USTFCCCA West Region Rankings - Women's Cross Country
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Preseason 6. WWU 7. UAF 8. SFU --
Week 1 5. WWU 6. UAF 7. SFU 8. SMU

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
Sept. 11 Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, Saint Martin's Isaac Cortes, Saint Martin's

Sept. 11 Runners of the Week

Female Runner of the Week: Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, Saint Martin’s

Kicking off her junior season with a bang, Walchak-Sloan was the conference’s top finisher at the Ash Creek Collegiate on Friday with a 5k time of 17:57.7. That slotted her third among a field of 60 competitors, as last year’s sixth-place GNAC Championships finisher earned her first runner of the week honor this season. Walchak-Sloan’s effort helped the Saints finish second to Chico State in the team standings as they totaled 59 points.

Also Nominated: Kendall Kramer, UAF; Alahna Lien, MSUB; Caitlin Heldt, WOU.

Male Runner of the Week: Isaac Cortes, Saint Martin’s

The conference’s top finisher on the men’s side, Cortes clocked a 6k time of 18:16.6 to place ninth among a field of 87 runners on the Ash Creek Preserve trail. It was a collegiate 6k PR for the junior who will look to build upon a 12th-place finish at last year’s GNAC Championships.

Also Nominated: Andrew Rush, MSUB; Easton Pomrankey, WOU.

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
9/9 Nanook Forest Clash Kendall Kramer Alaska 6k 22:32.0


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
9/9 Nanook Forest Clash John Peckham Alaska Anchorage 8k 25:53.0

2023 GNAC Cross Country Women's Race Winners

Last Week's GNAC Results

Ash Creek Collegiate (Sept. 8 at Ash Creek Preserve, Monmouth, Ore.): Men (6,000m): 1, Chico State, 15. 2, Western Oregon, 71. 3, Lewis & Clark, 73. 4, Saint Martin’s, 93. 5, SW Oregon CC, 142. 6, Walla Walla, 196. 7, Umpqua CC, 199. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Mario Giannini, Chico State, 17:27.6. 2, Daniel Hernandez, Chico State, 17:38.9. 3, Dylan White, Chico State, 17:50.1. 4, Anders Beil, Chico State, 17:57.7. 5, Brayden McLaughlin, Chico State, 18:00.5. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 8, Isaac Cortes, SMU, 18:16.6. 9, Easton Pomrankey, WOU, 18:19.3. 10, Kainalu Pagente, SMU, 18:24.5. 19, Keeton Sanchez, WOU, 18:51.6. 21, Grant Bohannon, WOU, 18:56.3. Women’s (5,000m): 1, Chico State, 39. 2, Saint Martin’s, 59. 3, Western Oregon, 81. 4, Sonoma State, 88. 5, Lewis & Clark, 92. 6, Umpqua CC, 184. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Gianna Bomarito, Sonoma State, 17:12.2. 2, Riley Buese, Lewis & Clark, 17:53.1. 3, Cassidy Walchak-Sloan, SMU, 17:57.7. 4, Della Molina, Chico State, 18:01.3. 5, Iresh Molina, Chico State, 18:06.0. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 6, Caitlin Heldt, WOU, 18:09.4. 9, Alisha Saucedo, SMU, 18:28.3. 11, Elke Wijkmans, SMU, 18:38.1. 18, Sara Sabra, SMU, 19:24.0. 19, Katie Chapman, WOU, 19:31.2.

Nanook Forest Clash (Sept. 9 at UAF Ski Trails, Fairbanks, Alaska): Men (8,000m): 1, Alaska Anchorage, 17. 2, Alaska, 38. Top 5 Finishers: 1, John Peckham, UAA, 25:53.0. 2, Zachary Kohler, UAA, 26:29.0. 3, George Payne, UAA, 26:29.0. 4, Mike Ophoff, UAF, 26:41.0. 5, Ty Elliott, UAA, 26:47.0. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 6, Wyatt Matyas, UAA, 26:50.0. 7, Finn Morley, UAF, 26:52.0. 8, Philipp Moosmayer, UAF, 27:20.0. 9, Jace Peters, UAF, 27:56.0. 10. Koen Ross, UAF, 28:27.0. Women’s (6,000m): 1, Alaska, 16. 2, Alaska Anchorage, 42. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Kendall Kramer, UAF, 22:32.0. 2, Naomi Bailey, UAF, 22:33.0. 3, Delainey Zock, UAF, 23:46.0. 4, Tabitha Williams, UAF, 24:10.0. 5, Jordan Strausbaugh, UAA, 24:29.0. Other Top GNAC Finishers: 6, Teegan Silva, UAF, 24:39.0. 7, Sofija Spaic, UAA, 25:26.0. 8, Mariel Pulles, UAF, 25:53.0. 9, Avery Williamson, UAA, 26:02.0. 10, Aunika Miller, UAA, 26:11.0

Gage McSpadden Memorial (Sept. 9 at Fort Meade Facility, Sturgis, S.D.): Men (6,000m): 1, Black Hills State, 23. 2, South Dakota Mines, 41. 3, Montana State Billings, 76. 4, Chadron State, 110. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Timothy Brown, BHSU, 18:59.8. 2, Hayden Grosz, BHSU, 19:04.5. 3, Tyler Captain, SD Mines, 19:12.4. 4, Brett Flerchinger, SD Mines, 19:17.6. 5, Marcos Valerio, BHSU, 19:18.7. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 6, Andrew Rush, MSUB, 19:25.8. 19, Bryant Edgerton, MSUB, 20:14.2. 23, Will Hyatt, MSUB< 20:26.3. 36, Nate Tweedy, MSUB, 21:34.0. 37, Jordi Peiro, MSUB, 21:35.1. Women (4,000m): 1, South Dakota Mines, 26. 2, Black Hills State, 29. 3, Chadron State, 88. 4, Montana State Billings, 88. Top 5 Finishers: 1, Sylvia Brown, BHSU, 14:52.8. 2, Clare Fischer, SD Mines, 15:06.4. 3, Allyson Heiden, SD Mines, 15:47.4. 4, Katie Turpin, BHSU, 15:59.7. 5, Abbie Saline, SD Mines, 16:09.2. Top 5 GNAC Finishers: 14, Alahna Lien, MSUB, 16:38.3. 15, Cecily Eagleton, MSUB, 16:46.3. 17, Madeline Severson, MSUB, 16:55.5. 22, Aspen Tolman, MSUB, 17:11.3. 28. Toree Manning, MSUB, 17:43.8.