Erik Barkhaus (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) won the men's eight-kilometer race at the Emerald City Open, leading the Seattle University men's cross country team to a 1-2-4 finish and the team title, while a top-10 finish from Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.) topped the women's cross country team in the six-kilometer race Saturday morning at Lower Woodland Park.
"I'm very happy with a lot of the things I saw out on the course today by both the men's and women's teams. It was a solid showing overall and we're set up for the success that's possible for us to achieve," Seattle U head coach Trisha Steidl said. "Everyone needs to be on the same page, take care of themselves well (both mentally and physically), and get psyched up for what's possible for us for the rest of the season. I'm excited for what's to come over the next few weeks. Our season has truly just begun and if our focus is in the right place, we all have a lot to look forward to and be excited about."
Barkhaus cruised to the individual title with a time of 25:19.5, almost 34 full seconds ahead of teammate Matthew McClement (Bellingham, Wash.), who finished second in 25:53.3. A strong finishing kick from Ryan Dennison (Pacifica, Calif.) advanced him to fourth place with a time of 26:06.8.
Graham Kinzel-Grubbs (Portland, Ore.) finished in sixth place overall with a time of 26:20.2. Baxter Arguinchona (Spokane, Wash.) also earned a top-10 finish in the event, crossing the finish line in 10th place in 26:32.1, just ahead of Peter VanNuland (Newcastle, Wash.) in 11th place in 26:37.3, good enough to be the sixth-fastest Redhawk on the day to earn a spot on the travel squad for the WAC Championships in two weeks.
Jeff Baklund (Auburn, Wash.) finished in 13th place with a time of 26:52.2, with freshman Chris Davis (Centennial, Colo.) advancing through the field during the event, eventually crossing the finish line in 16th place in 27:12.3. Collin Overbay (Spokane, Wash.) finished in 19th place with a time of 27:22.7
A group of Redhawks finished one behind the other, led by Miles Hille (Woodinville, Wash.) in 21st place in 27:32.5, followed by Kevin Kopetz (Derry, N.H.) in 22nd place in 27:40.0 and Nathan McLaughlin (Puyallup, Wash.) in 23rd place in 27:43.0. Gus Arroyo (Portland, Ore.) rounded out the Seattle U competitors, finishing in 27th place with a time of 28:05.7.
"The men had an overall strong showing. Key individuals are starting to hit their stride as we enter the final phase of our season, and that was a big confidence booster to those individuals as well as the team today. We have a few guys that had sub-par showings today, but I know it's not indicative of their true fitness levels. As long as the guys continue to roll with the momentum and confidence we've built all along this season, we will have the strong finish to the season I know we're capable of," Steidl said.
Mittelstaedt once again led the Seattle U women, finishing in 10th place with a time of 22:53.6. Jennifer Stolle (Seattle, Wash.) crossed the finish line in 12th place in 23:18.1, just ahead of Sophie Curatilo (Honolulu, Hawaii) in 13th place with a time of 23:18.4.
Madison Davis (Camano Island, Wash.) crossed the finish line in 20th place with a time of 24:17.1, followed closely by Becca Lassere (Boise, Idaho) in 21st place in 24:18.9. A strong finish gave freshman Elena Smith (Seattle, Wash.) the sixth spot on the WAC Championships travel squad after finishing in 23rd place in 24:27.3, with Taylor de Laveaga (Gilbert, Ariz.) in 24th place in 24:28.0.
Justine Bates (Arlington, Wash.) finished in 29th place with a time of 25:00.8, with Kimberly Pugliese (Mililani, Hawaii) posting a 36th-place finish with a mark of 25:24.5. Amy Tolentino (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) finished in 44th place in 26:02.9, Meghan Manwill (Eugene, Ore.) finished in 54th place in 27:18.5, and Haley Kruell (Portland, Ore.) finished in 55th place in 27:38.8.
"The women's team is coming together. Individuals are gaining more confidence in their fitness and I saw that in certain people today. It made a big difference in their races. Others are dealing with illness or fatigue and aren't where I want them to be yet, but are headed in the right direction. I'm confident that the women's team will come together in time for the conference meet. We definitely have to be very focused on what we do individually to put ourselves in the strongest place possible over the next two weeks and, as a team, truly come together and find that synergy that helps a team race its best when it's 'go time'," said Steidl.
With five runners in the top ten, the Seattle U men easily won the team title, while the Redhawk women finished in third place in the team standings behind Simon Fraser and Club Northwest. The day was capped by a two-kilometer fun run featuring members of the Seattle U track and field team, alumni of the cross country and track & field programs, and friends of the Redhawk squad.
"I want to thank all the parents, alumni, friends, and supporters of our program that came out today. It was great to have so many alumni and parents participate in the Alumni & Friends 2K. I look forward to this event continuing to grow as it's a fun way for everyone to gather and support one another," Steidl said.
While the top six runners for each squad start preparations for the conference championships, the rest of the Seattle University cross country team heads to Corvallis, Ore., for the Beaver Classic next Friday, Oct. 19, starting at 4 p.m. The top two Redhawk finishers in each race will join the squads heading to Ruston, La., for the WAC Championships Saturday, Oct. 27.