SACRAMENTO – (Nov. 11) The men’s and women’s cross country teams capped off their season with a strong showing Friday at the NCAA West Regionals.
In the most important meet of the season, the teams left everything they had on Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento, Calif.
The men finished 17th in a very strong field, grabbing their first Top 20 finish at the meet since 2012 and successfully accomplishing head coach Trisha Steidl’s goal for them.
"The men's team placing was the second-best placing our program has had, so I was thrilled!," Steidl said. "We finished 16th in 2012 when we had an individual (Erik Barkhaus) finish 15th overall. Having someone finish that high in a meet of this nature has a huge impact on the team score. We didn't have someone like that this time around, so as to what it means for our team as a whole? It shows they've come a long way and we've got a solid group of guys."
The team was led by Eli Boudouris, who finished 83rd in a field of 191 with a time of 31:38.0.
This was the first collegiate cross country 10k for the sophomore, a promising end to the first half of his career.
Right behind Boudouris was Chay Weaver, who finished 84th with a time of 31:38.1, beating his time at the meet from two years ago.
"Eli and Chay were able to work together pretty much the entire race and they kept moving up the field the whole time," Steidl said. "They ran a smart, strong race."
Redshirt senior Nathan McLaughlin ended his career on a strong note, beating his regionals time from last year by three minutes, and finishing 104th with a time of 32:01.9.
"Nate had a great race today," Steidl said. "His hamstring started to bother him on Tuesday and that never quite went away. We had a good talk the night before the race about how to approach things, both mentally and physically. He put himself in a good place and ran a fantastic race to close out his running career at Seattle U."
The women finished 23rd in the competitive west region, their fifth consecutive Top 25 finish at the meet.
"The women's field was big, and while the West Region is always strong, this year has proven to be one of the deepest and toughest in recent years," Steidl said. "We wanted to have a Top 20 finish, but I also knew that the caliber of the field was better than it's been in awhile and that Top 20 would require an excellent race by all the ladies. That's no easy feat. The ladies ran strong and gave a great effort...it was a solid way to end the season, and the ladies should be proud of their efforts today as well as all season long.
The women’s team was led by Western Athletic Conference individual champion Lila Rice, who finished 95th in a massive field of 238 with a time of 21:34.7 in the 6k.
That time was her personal best on the season, and beat her time at last year’s regionals. Not a bad way to end her senior year.
"Lila ran well today," Steidl said. "She really shines at head-to-head competition and in a field as big as Regionals, it's not that type of set up. Despite that, she competed well and ran a good race to finish first for the team and cap off her senior season."
Johanna Erickson capped off her season in a big way, finishing 103rd with a collegiate personal best time of 21:38.9.
"Johanna ran a strong race," Steidl said. "Going into this trip, I could tell she was more confident than I've maybe ever seen her. It was evident to me even the day before the race. She showed her strength and ability very well today."
Also setting a new personal record was freshman Anastasia Honea, who finished 123rd with a time of 21:55.4.
"Anastasia really stepped up today," Steidl said. "We had a good talk last week about what I knew she was capable of doing and it seems she took that to heart. It was great to see her finish her freshman season on such a strong note."
Steidl stressed grit to the team leading up to the meet, and asked them to give everything they had to finish off the season. They listened.
The Redhawks won’t have much time to rest, as they will start their indoor track and field season in about two months.