Gonzaga Enjoys Home Meet with Second Place Finishes
Sept. 19, 2015
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga women's and men's cross country teams both finished second at the West Coast Conference Preview/Erik Anderson Invitational Saturday.
The Zags took advantage of the short trip to Plantes Ferry Park with strong showings. Troy Fraley and Maggie Jones had GU's top finishes. The Gonzaga women and men combined for five top-10 finishes.
The GU women placed a trio of runners in the top 10. Jones led a pack of Bulldogs with a second place finish at 21:25.9. It was the first race of the season for the redshirt senior.
"It was so fun to be back out there racing," Jones said. "I had the perfect amount of hunger for competition going into the race. It was great to be out there with the team again, and great to know they had my back during the race."
Jordan Thurston continued her strong start with a third place finish right behind Jones. The sophomore crossed the line at 21:26.1. In her first race of the season, Jessica Mildes placed eighth with a time of 21:40.0. Amelia Evans and Shelby Mills rounded out the Gonzaga scoring in 15th and 16th place. Evans finished at 22:06.6, while Mills' time was 22:17.8.
"I feel like today went pretty well," GU women's head coach Patty Ley said. "We're still trying to mesh together and we're experimenting a little on these early races. We're getting a little bit better each time and it will all come together real soon."
Fraley came in third with a time of 24:24.2. His time was 24 seconds faster than his finish last week at the Bill Dellinger Invitational. Matthew Crichlow placed eighth at 24:37.0. Fraley and Crichlow have now placed in the top 10 in each of the first three races this season.
"I think we ran really well as a pack today," Fraley said. "Near the end of the race things picked up and we separated a bit, but for three-quarters of the race we held together really well. I think that's something we can continue to work on through the season."
Vince Hamilton, Kyle Branch and Jack Pearce all had top 20 finishes to round out the GU scoring. Hamilton's time of 25:15.2 was 15th, Branch placed 17th at 25:20.3, and Pearce was 20th with a personal best of 25:27.7.
The BYU women and men swept the team titles. The Cougars' Alice Jensen used a big kick to the finish to win the women's race with a time of 21:18.09. The BYU men had five runners in the top seven. Dallin Farnsworth (24:19.04) edged out his teammate Aaron Fletcher (24:20.59) for the men's title.
"This was our best performance against BYU in the history of them being in the West Coast Conference," Director of Gonzaga Cross Country Pat Tyson said. "We got a way to go, but I think we are right on target with this team to do some great things down the road."
The same course will host the West Coast Conference Championships on Oct. 31. It will be only the second time in the league's history that the WCC Championships will be run outside of California. Along with Gonzaga and BYU, the Pacific women and Portland women joined Saturday's race as a preview for the championships.
"It's awesome to be in your own backyard," Ley said. "I think it gives our runners a little more energy. The group that puts the event on does a great job. There's great atmosphere out here. The course ran really well. It was just awesome to be out here."
The Bulldogs have a week off before traveling to Seattle for the Washington Invitational on Oct. 2. The races will be run at the Jefferson Golf Course, the same course that will host the NCAA Western Regional on Nov. 13.
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