With a victory in the men's eight-kilometer race at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in Ruston, La., last Saturday, as well as continued excellence in the classroom, redshirt senior Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) has been named the Featured Student-Athlete of the Week on GoSeattleU.com.
Barkhaus, the WAC Male Cross Country Athlete of the Year based on his victory, became the first Seattle U male runner to win a cross country conference title since Casey Moriarty won the 2005 Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship during the Redhawks' Division II era. He posted a time of 24:02.90 over the eight-kilometer course, four seconds ahead of Kyle McKenna of Utah State.
The fifth-year senior has finished in the top ten in every meet he has competed in so far this season, including victories at the UW/SU Open and the Emerald City Open as well as at the WAC Championships. He finished fourth at the National Catholic Cross Country Championships in Notre Dame, Ind., and seventh at the Dellinger Invitational in Springfield, Ore.
"Barkhaus and I have been so focused and worked so hard together over the past couple of years to get him to where he is now. I can't explain what that process is like and how invested he's been. It's been truly incredible and I'm proud of him for making his dreams a reality," Seattle U head cross country coach Trisha Steidl said. "He continues to explore his fitness with each race, learning more about the barriers he's capable of pushing through. As impressive as his season's been, there's still a lot more he can accomplish. This is just the beginning for him and that is truly exciting."
In the classroom, Barkhaus currently carries a 3.502 grade point average as a finance major within the Albers School of Business and Economics. He earned Academic All-Great West Conference honors in 2010 for cross country as well as in track and field in each of the last three years.
Barkhaus's next goal is to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which he will attempt to accomplish Friday, Nov. 9, at the NCAA West Regional hosted by the University of Washington at the Jefferson Park Golf Course. The men's 10-kilometer race is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m., after the women's six-kilometer race at 12 p.m.
Most members of the Seattle University cross country team who are not participating in the NCAA West Regional will compete at the USATF Pacific Northwest Championships this Sunday, Nov. 4, at Lower Woodland Park. The women's six-kilometer race is set to start at 10:45 a.m., with the men's 10-kilometer event scheduled to commence at 11:30 a.m.
The Seattle University athletics department selects a Featured Student-Athlete of the Week each Tuesday based on a person's performance both in the classroom and in competition.