Men's Cross Country and Track Signs Talented Class

June 4, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga men's cross country and track and field programs will welcome four new members to their 2018-19 rosters. The WIAA 3A cross country champion James Mwaura, out of Tacoma's Lincoln High School, leads the gifted recruits coming to Spokane.

Mwaura is a five-star recruit and will make an instant impact in both the Bulldog cross country and track and field programs. Following Mwaura to GU is British Columbia 2017 Club Cross Country champion and British Columbia 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter champion Jaxon Mackie. The Zags will add two western Washington elite athletes Matthew Roberts and David Connell into the mix. Gonzaga looks to continue to build a nice stable of excellent distance runners.

James Mwaura
Tacoma, Wash. | Lincoln High School
Mwaura joins Gonzaga after a stellar career at Lincoln High School. He was the top runner at the WIAA Cross Country Meet in Pasco this past fall running 14:48.3. His time was easily the fastest in all divisions. He went on to win the Nike Northwest Region XC meet and place fourth at Nike Team Nationals in December. On the track, he has personal bests of 4:08.52 (1,600 meters), 8:21.80 (3,000 meters), and 8:46.87 for 3,200 meters. Mwaura’ s 3,200-meter time is ranked No. 1 in the nation. 
“This kid is the real deal,” Director of GU Cross Country and Track and Field Pat Tyson said. “He was highly recruited from many elite programs in the country. He will elevate the men’s and women’s programs like no other recruit before him. Our team is incredibly excited James will wear the Gonzaga jersey. I know this for a fact, James wants to get a degree from Gonzaga and go out in the world and make a positive influence on those he connects with. He is unselfish, a quiet leader, and has a dynamic personality.”
Jaxon Mackie
Surrey, B.C. | Earl Marriott High School
After Mackie took his official visit, it was evident he wanted to run for the Zags. He liked the chemistry of the team.  Mackie shared with Tyson that he just fell in love with the Zag Nation of distance runners.
“I was amazed by the closeness of the team and everyone’s commitment to establish Gonzaga as a top running school,” Mackie said. 
As a cross country runner, Mackie won the 2017 regional and British Columbia Cross Country Championships. As a junior, he had bests of 4:03 for 1,500 meters and 8:50 for 3,000 meters, and was the British Columbia club champion in both. Mackie would like to major in pre-med at GU and eventually become an orthopedic surgeon.  

Matthew Roberts
Bellevue, Wash. | Interlake High School
Roberts has enjoyed a standout career at Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash. This past fall, Roberts won the Kingco Conference harrier title for the second straight year. He competed in four state championships, placing 11th at the 3A division this past fall. Roberts was a key contributor in helping Interlake reach the state podium three consecutive years. He has bests of 4:24.49 in the 1,600 and 9:26.69 for 3,200 meters.
“I chose Gonzaga for its academics, great campus vibe, amazing basketball team and having such a great time with the team on his official visit,” Roberts said.
Roberts plans on majoring in Environmental Engineering so he can help clean up some of the problems that modern civilization has created. His nickname is Dewey.
David Connell
Camas, Wash. | Camas High School
Connell comes from the highly respected Camas High School distance running program where present Zag Yacine Guermali attended. Tyson describes Connell as a young runner on the move. After placing 25th in the WIAA 4A Championships with a time of 15:55, he made some breakthroughs this spring. Most noteworthy is his 9:17.03, fifth-place finishing time at the WIAA 4A Championships, and his 8:43.14 second-place finish in the 3,000-meters at the prestigious Jesuit Relays in Portland.
“I picked Gonzaga for its commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as athletics,” Connell said. “I was attracted to the close culture of the team and I believe I can thrive under the coaching of Pat Tyson.” 
Connell will major in Mechanical Engineering at GU. 



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