Cross Country Sweeps Team Titles in Lewiston
Oct. 17, 2015
LEWISTON, Idaho -- The Gonzaga women's and men's cross country programs both placed first among NCAA Division I teams at the Inland Empire Challenge Saturday.
The Zags' Shelby Mills placed third in the women's race, while Troy Fraley came in fourth in the men's race. The GU men placed three runners in the top 10, while the women had a trio in the top seven. The Bulldog men cruised to the team win with only 17 points, well ahead of second place Eastern Washington's 59. The Gonzaga women had 21 points and Montana came in second with 34 points.
Mills finished the 6,000-meter course with a time of 16:56. She improved her own second-best mark in program history by 12 seconds. The senior was four seconds shy of Amelia Evans record. Jessica Mildes ran only the third sub-17-minute 5K time in program history. She crossed the line at 16:57, which was second behind Mills among Division 1 runners.
Jordan Thurston was third at 17:06, which is now fourth on the program's all-time 5K list. Erin Bergmann and Katy Culver rounded out the GU scoring. The duo crossed the line in ninth and 10th. Bergmann's time was 18:13, while Culver was at 18:15.
"Our women ran well today," Gonzaga women's Head Coach Patty Ley said. "The course has grown in a lot more grass and is running slower than the last couple of years when the course was much more `track like'. It was a beautiful day out there.
"Shelby, Jess and Jordan once again led the group. We challenged the other women to step up as scorers and we saw Erin Bergmann step way up. She has been improving daily and was a key component to our Division 1 win over Montana. Megan Chucka (18:41) and Corrine Murray (18:51) also rose to the occasion and ran 5k cross country bests. As did Monica Ripple (20:15), Kate Wagner (19:53) and Molly Stroosma (19:23). I think we got good solid performances and a nice tune up for the conference championships."
On the men's side, Fraley the GU pack with a time of 24:17. Matthew Crichlow was close behind at 24:18 over the 8,000-meter course. Kyle Branch (24:30), Conor McCandless (24:33), and Jack Pearce (24:35) completed the Bulldog scoring. Pearce jumped up the program's all-time list from 20th to 15th with his finish, and McCandless went from 16th to 14th.
The Zags will welcome the rest of the West Coast Conference to Plantes Ferry Park for the conference championships on Oct. 31. It marks only the second time the event has been outside of California. The event is free for the public to attend.
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