Women’s cross country team advances to nationals

The  men’s cross country team, competing with a near bare minimum squad, launch from the start line at the GNAC meet in Oregon last month. On Saturday, the men’s season came to an end at the West Regionals.

The men’s cross country team, competing with a near bare minimum squad, launch from the start line at the GNAC meet in Oregon last month. On Saturday, the men’s season came to an end at the West Regionals.

One door opens and another closes for Seattle Pacific’s cross country team as the women’s team qualified for nationals by placing No. 4 with 137 points.
The men’s team placed No. 16 with 408 points in the NCAA Division II West Regionals, drawing their season to a close.
“We freaked out. We were screaming and jumping around,” senior McKayla Fricker said. “It’s especially great that we got fourth. That shows just how much we came together this season with our determination and motivation. We have come together so well, and God just rewarded us.”
Fricker was the first of the Falcons to finish, placing No. 10 overall with a time of 22:36.5.
Freshman Sarah Macdonald, who placed No. 27 with a time of 22:52.8 and earned the third spot for the team, couldn’t stop smiling as she talked about Fricker’s success.
“Her performance has been so inspirational to all of us, especially to me,” Macdonald said. “She was injured, and she came back to where she was. It shows that if you put work in, focus and don’t give up, you’ll be fine. You’ll rock.”
Macdonald competed well given that she had an injury.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “I’ve been injured, and I haven’t been on the ground for 10 days. I was worried I was going to lose fitness, but [my coaches] encouraged me, saying that I was going to do fine.”
The strategy for the five placing runners—Fricker, Macdonald, and sophomore Anna Patti at No. 14 with a time of 22:38.2, sophomore Lynelle Decker at No. 42 with 23:10.7, and freshman Hannah Calvert at No. 44 with 23.20.8 — was well executed.
“We ran our first mile fast because if we let them go, we’d never catch up just because of how the course was,” Macdonald said.
Coach Audra Smith loved the women’s performance.
“We expected it to be fast, and we expected them to be aggressive, and they executed it very well,” Smith said. “It was a solid performance for them, and they finished better than what we expected. We really rallied, and we were really tough out there.”
The men placed 16th overall, marking the end of the season for the young group. Junior Alex Horton placed No. 62 with a time of 33:47.3, junior Turner Wiley placed No. 63 with a time of 33:47.7, sophomore Adam Avischious placed No. 74 with 33:59.4, sophomore Brian Comer placed No. 113 with 34:58.4 and sophomore Colin Wilkins got No. 25 with a time of 36:33.4.
“We did what we wanted to do,” Horton said. “So that was good. We knew we weren’t going to make it to nationals, but we still gave it our all.”
The women’s team will return to Spokane on Nov. 23 for the NCAA Division II Championships.
It is the second straight year the women’s team has competed in the championship meet.

This article was posted in the section Sports.