Sears finished as Seattle U's top competitor for the second straight race and improved his time over last year's finish in the same race by 20 seconds. His time of 26:56 over the eight-kilometer course was good enough for fifth place, finishing ahead of two runners from the University of Washington, and helping the Redhawks to first place in the team standings.
On the women's side, Mittelstaedt finished as the Redhawks' top runner for the third straight race and was over a minute faster than her Emerald City Open time from one year ago. She finished the six-kilometer course in 23:47 and outkicked a runner from Washington--one of the top cross country programs in the country--to finish fifth and lead her team to a first-place finish.
"I'm thrilled to learn that Kelton and Hannah have both earned conference honors due to their performances at our home meet last weekend. Both of them had excellent races on a tough course. Their performances showed focus, tenacity, and overall pure competitive drive, and I know this is just the tip of the iceberg for both of them in terms of what's to come as their seasons progress," head coach Trisha Steidl said.
The Seattle University cross country program is in its third year as an affiliate member of the Great West Conference. The men's team has finished second in the conference championships in consecutive seasons, while the women's squad placed fourth in 2009 and fifth in 2010. The Redhawks will compete in the 2011 Great West Conference Championships Saturday, Oct. 29, in Grand Forks, N.D., before joining the Western Athletic Conference July 1, 2012.
By virtue of finishing in the top seven among Seattle U runners, Sears and Mittelstaedt will not compete again until the Beaver Classic Oct. 22. Those who did not finish in the Seattle U top seven at the Emerald City Open will next compete at the Mike Hodges Invitational in Oregon City, Ore., Friday, Oct. 14.