SEATTLE – Seattle U cross country headed to Magnuson Park on Friday morning for an informal race against the University of Washington, whose men’s and women’s squads are both ranked third in the country by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Redhawks turned in some impressive performances, despite not having practiced as a team yet, and returned a few runners who sat out the 2018 season.
“You always want to get that first one under your belt, and you’re always curious to see where everybody’s at,” said Head Coach Kelly Sullivan. “There’s no better way to do it than against UW, who has two great teams ranked third in the country. I liked that our men and women both came in here excited to compete and eager to see where we’re at.”
The women’s 5k race kicked off first, with redshirt senior Olivia Stein picking up right where she left off after not competing for 18 months. She was the first Seattle U woman (and ninth overall) to finish, turning in a time of 17:36.00. Freshman Delaney Griffin followed Stein at 17:48.00, with sophomore Courtney Gelmini coming in third for the Redhawks at 18:10.00. Junior Rachel Kastama (18:19.00) and sophomore Ellie Postma (18:20.00) crossed the finish line just one second apart, while fellow sophomore Marie-Therese Chahrouri completed the race in 18:36.00. Running as an unattached athlete, freshman Grace Much turned in a time of 18:50.00 in her first collegiate competition, followed by seniors Shannan Higgins (18:51.00) and Thea Foulk (18:59.00). Freshman Adahra Poasa rounded out the group at 20:36.00.
“Olivia hadn’t competed since she won the conference championship in the 10k race, so for her to do so well today is huge. Everyone was awesome… I was pleased across the board,” Sullivan said.
Junior Nathan Pixler was the Redhawks’ top runner in the men’s 4.2-mile race, keeping up with the head of the pack for the majority of the course and finishing in 20:55.00. Classmate Kyle Kennedy made an incredible comeback and finished just over two seconds behind Pixler at 20:57.20, with senior Andrew Ayers (21:18.80) coming in third for Seattle U. Sophomore Lance Slichko, returning from a redshirt season, turned in a time of 21:20.80, while sophomore Ansel Pendley-Griffin finished in 12:27.30. Senior Blake Delaney started off his final year with a mark of 21:29.20, and unattached freshman Gus Harquail finished things up at 22:27.40.
“Both groups are really optimistic about the season,” said Sullivan. “Now we know where we’re at, so it’s time to get to work. Leadership comes from within, and they know that, and they’re doing it.”
The Redhawks will take two weeks off to practice together and get some rest before heading to Colfax, Wash., on Sept. 13 for the West Region Preview hosted by Washington State University. The first race will begin at 5:15 p.m.