Lacey, WA - On a foggy November morning, the NWAC Cross Country Championships were held on the beautiful campus of Saint Martin's University in Lacey, WA for the 5th consecutive season. The cool fall air presented favorable conditions for the runners, albeit slightly chilly for a good sized crowd.
The women's 5k was the first race of the day, featuring 74 runners from 10 teams with the top two favorite teams to win it being Lane CC from Eugene, OR and Spokane CC. The field was led early by Jolene Whiteley of Spokane, followed closely by a pack of Lane runners. A light sprinkle began and the conditions on the course became rather wet, preventing most runners from turning in their best 5k times of the season. Whitely went on to win the race with a time of 18:25, 45 seconds slower than her fastest time of the year. However, she was still 43 seconds of the next highest finisher, cruising to a dominating win.
Everett, as they have been all season, was led by Elle London who finished 17th, and a time of 21:31. She was followed by teammates Mary Carbajal (30th) and Tracey Hatch (33rd). Rounding out the team scoring was Caitlyn Smith, Sandra Hart, and Maylynn Cendejas finishing 37th, 38th, and 48th respectively. Two other runners for the Trojans Carleanne Hasbrouck and Grace Wright finished 68th and 72nd, displacing runners from Southwestern Oregon CC and Clackamas CC.
Despite the course conditions, several EvCC freshman runners posted personal bests. Freshman Mary Carbajal posted her best 5k time of the season by 16 seconds, setting her new PR at 21:20. Another freshman, and late add Tracey Hatch who was racing in just her 3rd meet of the year, also posted a PR by an impressive 46 seconds. Freshman Caitlyn Smith PR'd by 8 seconds with a time of 21:54.
As a team, EvCC finished 6th overall, just 7 points behind 5th place Umpqua CC. Lane CC took home their first Women's Cross Country Championship since 2005, de-throning Spokane who had won it the previous six seasons.
By the time the men's race began at 12pm, the sprinkle had picked up to a steady rain and course conditions became even more slick. Spokane and Lane were again the two favorite teams heading into the men's 8k, and the early goings looked like it would be a race dominated by those two schools. This indeed turned out to be the case. Eleven of the top twelve individual finishers were from either Spokane or Lane, but in the end, Spokane would place runners 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th to control the standings. They knocked off Lane by an even 30 points and returned the favor to Lane by de-throning the men's team that had won it the previous three seasons. This is Spokane's 14th championship since 2001.
Everett was led by lone sophomore Nathan McGinity who finished 22nd with a time of 27:58, his best time of the year, and two seconds away from breaking his personal best. Teammates Surafel Muche, Nathan Schneider, Jeffrey Richner, and Trent Henry rounded out the team scoring by placing 31st, 32nd, 44th, and 46th respectively. The Trojans finished 7th as a team, one place lower than their overall finish from a year ago, but 6 seconds faster as a team average time. Freshman, Surafel Muche had perhaps the best race of anyone in a Trojan uniform, posting his best time of the season of 28:21, shattering his personal best by 68 seconds.