Gonzaga Harriers Head to Conference Championships
Oct. 25, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga women’s and men’s cross country teams open their postseasons at the 2017 West Coast Conference Championships Friday.

The Zags will run against the top competition from the conference at the Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland, Calif. The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K race at 11 a.m.

For the first time in conference history three WCC teams enter the championship with a top-five national ranking. On the men’s side defending champion No. 2 BYU owns the highest ranking in program history followed closely by No. 3 Portland. On the women’s side No. 4 San Francisco boasts the highest ranking in school history. The BYU women check in at No. 18.

This will be the 33rd women’s race. No. 4 San Francisco enters as the clear favorite with the top ranking in program history after a runner-up team finish at the prestigious Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational behind two top-five individual finishes. The Dons seek the program’s first WCC crown since winning five consecutive from 2009-13.

Four teams have won championships in the last four races: Portland (2016), Gonzaga (2015), BYU (2014) and San Francisco (2013).

This will be the 43rd men’s race. No. 2 BYU and No. 3 Portland have combined to win the last 38 WCC Championships, highlighted by an unprecedented 32 consecutive by the Pilots (1979-2010). The Cougars and Portland figure to battle it out once again in a field laden with talent. No. 29 San Francisco and regionally ranked Gonzaga (10th West), Santa Clara (12th) and Loyola Marymount (13th) make this field perhaps the most stacked in conference history.

Last season, Jordan Thurston ran to an All-West Coast Conference finish at Tecolote Shores Park in San Diego for the Zags. She paced the GU women with fourth-place finish. Thurston finished the 6,000-meter course at 20:58.7. It was her second straight All-Conference finish after placing seventh at the 2015 WCC Championships in Spokane with a time of 21:20.4. Thurston was the seventh All-WCC Bulldog runner under women's Head Coach Patty Ley.

 

 

On the men’s side, the GU men got out to a fast start, led after the first split, was second at the second split, was in the top three for the majority of the race, before placing fourth. The Zags placed in the top four for the fifth straight season. Dillon Quintana led Gonzaga with a 16th place finish. He crossed the line at 25:04.6, just four seconds off of All-WCC honorable mention pace. Max Kaderabek wasn’t far behind in 25th place at 25:22.3.

Kaderabek is coming off of the sixth-fastest time (24:08.9) over an 8,000-meter course in Gonzaga men's cross country history at the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Thurston ran to a 21:17.3 finish in Louisville, Ky.

Representing the Bulldog men at the West Coast Conference Championships: Kaderabek, Quintana, Bennett Gagnon, Phillip Fishburn, Jake Perrin, Peter Hogan, Sumner Goodwin, Kellen Manley and Kyle Thompson.

Thurston, Kelly Gilbert, Katherine Gustafson, Amanda Kiefer, Ally Legard, Claire Manley, Caroline McCarthy, Aimee Piercy and Jenna Rogers will run for the GU women.

For the sixth consecutive year, the 2017 West Coast Conference Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live and commercial-free on TheW.tv. George Devine and Josh Muxen (analyst) will provide the commentary for both races.

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