SEATTLE – Despite a chilly, foggy morning at the Jefferson Park Golf Course, Seattle U cross country made a definitive statement to the rest of the Western Athletic Conference that they are a program on the rise as they hosted the WAC Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27. Seniors Eli Boudouris and Ben Monk nabbed First- and Second-Team All-WAC awards for finishing seventh and eighth, respectively, while leading women’s finisher Megan Delorey set a new personal best in the 6k with a time of 22:19.20.
Delorey was closely followed by sophomore Rachel Kastama, who finished just one second behind at 22:20.20. Freshman Ellie Postma came in third for Seattle U at 22:33.70, while juniors Shannan Higgins (22:56.30) and Thea Foulk (22:56.50) took fourth and fifth place on the team. Sophomore Elle Stein (23:00.80) and freshman Marie-Therese Chahrouri (23:20.20) finished next, with freshman Abby Smith (23:41.20) and junior Emily O’Hara (24:12.00) rounding things out for the Redhawks. Smith’s time eclipsed her previous record by over 21 seconds.
As a team, the Seattle U women finished in seventh place. WAC newcomer Cal Baptist earned the women’s group trophy in their first-ever appearance in the competition.
“We’re bringing this entire group back next year,” said Head Coach Kelly Sullivan. “They’re mostly freshman and sophomores, so it’s a very young roster. We redshirted some of our top runners this year, so once we have them back, we should be a great team. I’m very excited for next season.”
On the men’s side, Boudouris stayed toward the head of the pack for the entire 8k race, finally finishing with a time of 24:34.00 to add to his impressive collegiate career. Monk, competing in his first conference championship in two years, achieved a new personal best of 24:39.40, almost 24 seconds faster than his previous record. Sophomore Nathan Pixler finished third for the Redhawks with a time of 25:04.40, good for 18th overall in the field. Senior Jacques Hebert followed shortly thereafter at 25:09.30, his best time of the season, and classmate Cal Davidson-Turner ended with a time of 25:26.90. Davidson-Turner was on pace to finish with Boudouris and Monk, but slippery conditions caused him to take a hard fall shortly into the race; however, he passed close to 30 runners in his efforts to come back and finish strong.
Alex Franklin (25:57.80) was the first Redhawk freshman to cross the finish line; the second was Ansel Pendley-Griffin, who ran the course in 26:52.80. They were followed by sophomore Kyle Kennedy (27:00.00) and freshman Stephen Crocker (27.34.50). While Utah Valley took first place as a team, the Redhawk men combined for an impressive third-place finish.
“I’m thrilled for the seniors,” Sullivan said. “These guys were so determined and so focused – they wanted this very badly. They represented themselves well today, and I’m very pleased with how the whole team did.
“I want to thank everybody who was involved in this event,” he continued. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I believe that this will go down as one of the best WAC Cross Country Championships of all time. We had some great people helping out, and it was all very professional.”
The Redhawks now look toward the NCAA West Regional Championships, hosted by Sacramento State at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex on Friday, Nov. 9 in Sacramento, Calif.