CORVALLIS, Ore. – After a strong opening race to the 2013 season last Friday, the Oregon State cross country team will return to action on Saturday when the Beavers race at the Sundodger Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington at Lincoln Park in Seattle. The women’s 6,000m invitational race begins at 11 a.m.
“We want to build on what we started last week and continue to get stronger and more confident as the season progresses and we race against more Division I teams,” assistant coach Laura Harmon said. “And with that hopefully beat some teams that beat us last year.”
A week ago at the Portland State Viking Classic, freshman Holly Cavalluzzo came in third and four Oregon State competitors finished in the top 10 at Blue Lake Park in Fairview, Ore. Out of the four NCAA Division I schools, the Beavers had all five of their top runners finish before any others.
OSU is aiming to use that solid opening performance as a foundation for a successful 2013 campaign. The Beavers are currently ranked No. 9 in the West Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), their highest recognition in the polls since 2009.
“With more people on the line this week, we want them to be able to follow through what they witnessed last Friday – knowing where they can be and where they can go,” Harmon added of the team’s potential.
Along with the Beavers, Saturday’s women’s invitational race will include entries from the host Huskies, Washington State, Gonzaga, Idaho, Seattle University, Eastern Washington and the University of British Columbia.
Oregon State will have 13 on the line at the start, including a pair of its top runners in Kinsey Gomez and Emily Weber, who didn’t race at the Viking Classic. Gomez was Oregon State's top finisher at NCAA Regionals last season, posting the fourth-fastest 6,000-meter time in school history (21:09).
Weber did not race as a true freshman last fall, but PR’d in all but one race during the outdoor track season. She’s seventh on OSU's all-time list in the 1,500m after running 4:29.46 at the OSU High Performance Meet last April and finished 19th in the event at the Pac-12 Championships.
Joining the duo will be Cavalluzzo, Kira Kelly, Sandra Martinez, Kristiane Width, Taylor Nowlin, Kelsi Schaer, Audrey Botti, Haley Hunt, Adrienne Demaree, Monica Anderson and Aly Nielson. The Sundodger Invitational will be the first race in uniform for Anderson, who ran unattached last Friday, as well as the first in two years for Nielson, who redshirted last fall.
The Sundodger Invitational has been held every year since 1992, making this the 22nd installment. To reach the park in West Seattle, take the West Seattle Bridge exit off of I-5 North or South. As you head into West Seattle take a right onto Fauntleroy Way and follow signs to the Vashon Ferry Terminal. Lincoln Park is along the right side of Fauntleroy Way hanging over Puget Sound.
“This course is pretty quick,” Harmon commented. “It has good footing and is a small gravel path with some grass. There are a few loops of a gradual downhill and then gradual uphill on the way back, but aren’t any big climbs. It has the potential to be a really fast course.”