SEATTLE, Wash. – For the second consecutive week, and this time with a full complement of its top runners, the Oregon State cross country team put together a strong performance to finish second at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Wash. on Saturday afternoon. OSU’s performance was highlighted by three who positioned themselves amongst the school’s all-time bests at 6,000m.
“The race went very well,” assistant coach Laura Harmon said. “Our team was smart. It was good to see a few of our runners out front mixing it up with Washington’s top five and breaking that up a bit since they’re one of the top teams in the country.”
The Beavers finished second to the host Huskies, who came into the meet ranked fifth in the nation by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). OSU’s scores went 6-7-10-16-19 (58 points) to UW’s 1-2-3-4-9 (19 points) top five. The two were followed by Idaho, Gonzaga, Seattle, Washington State and Eastern Washington.
Oregon State was paced by its top duo of sophomore Kinsey Gomez and redshirt freshman Emily Weber. Neither raced in the season opener last week, but they broke up Washington’s top five on Saturday to finish in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Gomez’s time of 20:55 on the 6K course ties her with former OSU All-American Laura Carlyle for second on the school’s all-time list and is just one second off Sylvia Veal’s record mark from 2008. Weber did not compete during the cross season as a true freshman last fall, but her collegiate debut time of 21:08 from Saturday is now fifth all-time at Oregon State.
“Kinsey and Emily were great,” Harmon added. “They got out there and you wouldn’t have known they didn’t race [last weekend]. They were confident, ran tough and I know it’s just going to get better for them.”
The young pair was followed by freshman Holly Cavalluzzo, who followed up her third-place finish last weekend by coming in 10th on Saturday with a time of 21:15, now eighth on OSU’s all-time 6K list. Sandra Martinez came in 18th (21:50) and freshman Kristiane Width wrapped up the team’s scorers with a 21st place finish (21:53).
“The course was pretty fast,” Harmon said. “There have been years where it has been faster than it was this year, but the times were fast today because of the quality of the field. To put it in perspective, Kinsey’s time would have won two years ago.”
Taylor Nowlin was Oregon State’s sixth finisher, coming in right behind Width in 22nd (21:54). Kira Kelly was 28th after running 22:01 and Kelsi Schaer crossed the line in 22:18 to finish 38th, the eighth OSU competitor in the top half of the 86-person field.
The Beavers will now have a few weeks off from competition, which they will use to stay consistent in their training and have as many high-quality workouts as possible. OSU’s next race is Friday, Oct. 4 at the NCAA Inter-Regional Jamboree in Sacramento, Calif. and spirits are high heading into the break.
“The team is excited and the coaching staff is excited,” Harmon said of OSU’s start to 2013. “People are noticing Oregon State now because our uniforms are out in front. We’re starting to be recognized in the region and, hopefully down the line, recognized in the country.”