LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Kinsey Gomez came in 23rd overall, the best result for an Oregon State individual at the conference meet since 2005, to lead the Beaver cross country team to an 11th-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships in Louisville, Colo. on Saturday afternoon.
The junior Gomez ran the 6K course in 22:27 and was OSU’s highest finisher at the Pac-10/12 Championships since Ashley Younce came in 22nd overall in 2005 when she ran the 6K course at Dell Urich Golf Couse in Tucson, Ariz. in 21:50.
It was a gritty performance for Gomez, who had battled some injuries leading up to the race and hadn’t run a step in the last week. It was also a huge improvement from her 86th-place finish at the meet in 2012.
Senior Sandra Martinez, in her final appearance at the conference championships, was OSU’s second finisher. She came in 56th place after running 23:36. The Beavers’ two New York freshmen, Kristiane Width and Holly Cavalluzzo came in third and fourth, respectively, for Oregon State. Width ran 23:53 (64th) while Cavalluzzo crossed in 24:04 (70th).
Adrienne Demaree rounded out Oregon State’s scorers with a 78th-place finish, coming across in 24:19.
This was the first time running at elevation for all of Oregon State’s entries in the meet and the unique conditions definitely took a physical toll. Redshirt freshmen Emily Weber was pulled off the course near the end of the race for that reason.
“All around it wasn’t the day we were necessarily looking for, but there were some positives and I think the team learned a lot,” assistant coach Laura Harmon said. “It was their first time running altitude and you never know what to expect with such a young team.”
Arizona took the women’s team title, followed by Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Stanford. Arizona State led off the second group of five and was in front of UCLA, Utah, California and Washington State. OSU was 11th and USC came in 12th.
Despite the tough result, the Beavers are looking forward toward the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 15 in Sacramento, Calif. Last season, OSU finished 11th at the Pac-12 Championships, but rallied to do well at Regionals, placing 15th out of 28 teams and improving its times throughout its lineup.
“They’re going to feel a heck of a lot better,” Harmon said of the team looking forward to Regionals. “I think you take today and you let it fuel the fire for the next race. You want to go into the next race being as positive as you possibly can and put this one behind you. Say to yourself, ‘I know what it felt like to walk away from today and I definitely don’t want to feel that way walking away from the next one.’ I know running well at Regionals is definitely a possibility for this team. That’s what we’re going to be focusing on.”