Bulldog Runners Show Some Progress In First Outing
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s men’s and women’s cross country teams both did some things to please their coaches at Saturday’s Clash of the Inland Northwest at Mead High School.
Gonzaga’s Willie Milam, running unattached, won the men’s 6K in 18:08 while Abby Regan of Washington State University captured the women’s 4K in 13:34.80. Milam was followed across the finish line by Robert Walgren, back in the Gonzaga jersey after redshirting last season, in 18:14 and Troy Fraley in 18:15.
“Ultimately, I think we got what we wanted today. You always want a little bit more. A couple of things we saw were we did have some improvement from some of our kids and some of them are trying to jump up so far they struggle a little bit,” said Gonzaga head women’s coach Patty Ley.
Getting to the next level has been the theme among the women’s team in training.
“We talked about stepping to a new level and what does that mean. We’ve seen where Eastern Washington University and Washington State University have really stepped to a much, much higher level over the last couple of years. How do come off your summer prepared for that? It’s a good learning experience. We have a lot of work to do but we’re also capable of doing the work,” Ley said.
Ley was pleased with Evans’ effort.
“Amelia had a very strong race. There were moments you could tell she was doubting herself and we’ll have a couple of conversations about believing a little bit more, but that was a very good race for Amelia,” Ley praised.
“Robert redshirted last year and had a really good effort today,” Tyson said. “Troy Fraley was in the game. It was nice to see Troy be really tough down the home stretch. It’s always nice to be in front. If you’re going to be right there within a couple of seconds of each other it’s always nice to have your guy ahead of the other guy. This is the first time I can recall having our guys ahead of Washington State. It’s a short course but I wish we had a few more Zags up there.”
Tyson and Ley had differing takes on their freshmen. All of the men’s freshmen ran unattached while Ley put her group in the line-up.
“Not a surprise coming off this last week,” Ley said of the races run by freshmen Jordan Thurston (26th in 14:59.20) and Olivia Evans (29th in 15:04.30). Being close to Shelby (junior Shelby Mills) in that group is where they’ve run. They’ll be really good for us,” Ley predicted. “A couple of the other freshmen I think dealt with it being a long week. We worked hard this week. I’m pleased with where they are right now. They (Jordan and Olivia) were two of the top freshmen in the race. That’s outstanding.”
Tyson doesn’t see any of his freshmen cracking the line-up with the wealth of veterans the men return.
“Will Thompson was our top gun. At this point I see Will redshirting. There was a pretty big gap which is good because in a perfect world you do want to preserve their eligibility. You hope you have veterans who are more seasoned so we can keep the culture of this thing rolling,” Tyson explained. “I don’t see any freshman stepping in yet, but of all the people Will is showing the best results of our freshmen so far.”
The next action for the men and women will be the WCC Preview Sept. 13 in Sunnyvale, Calif., hosted by Santa Clara University.
The dual scores had the Zag men downing EWU 17-46 and Idaho 19-41, while falling to WSU 25-35. The GU women fell to EWU 25-32, Idaho 26-30 and WSU 18-44.