The Seattle University cross country team started the 2012 competitive season on a good note, keeping pace with the runners from the University of Washington at the UW/SU Open Friday afternoon at Magnuson Park.
On the men's side, redshirt senior Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) crossed the finish line first, completing the 4.5-mile run in 22:22.28. Graham Kinzel-Grubbs (Portland, Ore.) and Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.) ran together throughout the race to finish in third and fourth place respectively, with Kinzel-Grubbs posting a time of 22:37.33, just ahead of McClement's 22:38.31.
Jeff Baklund (Auburn, Wash.) showed a strong finishing kick to move up to sixth place in the final standings with a time of 23:17.00. Freshmen Nathan McLaughlin (Puyallup, Wash.) and Chris Davis (Centennial, Colo.) crossed the finish line in 10th and 11th place respectively, with McLaughlin posting a time of 23:21.16 and Davis clocking in at 23:29.86.
Kevin Kopetz (Derry, N.H.) finished in 12th place with a time of 23:35.59, just ahead of Miles Hille (Woodinville, Wash.) in 13th place in 23:39.05. In his first career collegiate competition, Gus Arroyo (Portland, Ore.) finished in 16th place in 24:05.19, and David Strand (Seattle, Wash.) crossed the finish line in 18th place with a time of 24:31.51.
Competing against one of the top cross country teams in the country, the Seattle U women held their own against the Washington Huskies, led by junior Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.), who finished in ninth place with a time of 17:31.44 over the three-mile course. Sophie Curatilo (Honolulu, Hawaii) was the next Redhawk to finish, crossing the finish line in 10th place in 17:40.44, followed by Jennifer Stolle (Seattle, Wash.) in 11th place in 17:51.58.
Becca Lassere (Boise, Idaho) finished in 13th place with a time of 17:58.01, with Madison Davis (Camano Island, Wash.) right behind her in 14th place in 18:03.33. Three more Redhawk freshmen were the next to come across the finish line, as Emily Hedberg (Phoenix, Ariz.) finished in 15th place in 18:12.25, followed by Taylor de Laveaga (Gilbert, Ariz.) in 16th place in 18:48.38 and Elena Smith (Seattle, Wash.) in 17th place in 18:52.06.
Running unattached, Lauren Hammerle (Seattle, Wash.) finished in 18th place with a time of 18:57.26, with Mary Thompson (Simi Valley, Calif.) right behind her in 19th place in 19:06.07 and Lindsay Frederick (Seattle, Wash.) in 20th place in 19:12.17. Amy Tolentino (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) crossed the finish line in 21st place with a time of 19:27.04, Haley Kruell (Portland, Ore.) finished in 22nd place in 19:43.32, and Meghan Manwill (Eugene, Ore.) finished in 23rd place in 20:12.96.
"Our men's and women's teams had the strongest showings we've had this early in the season. I'm happy with where we are as a team right now. We have a solid foundation on which to build the rest of our season," Seattle U head coach Trisha Steidl said. "This is the beginning of what can and should be our strongest season ever for both the men's and women's teams. The team and I have high expectations for our first year in the WAC and our first opportunity to race at the NCAA Division I West Regional meet. This is a good start towards meeting our goals."
The top runners for the Seattle University men's and women's cross country teams will head to the National Catholic Championships, hosted by the University of Notre Dame Friday, Sept. 14. The rest of the squad will compete at the UW Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park in West Seattle Saturday, Sept. 15.