Men's cross country solid at Inland Empire Classic
Oct. 13, 2012
The Montana men's cross country team finished third and the UM women were sixth Saturday at the Inland Empire Classic at Lewiston, Idaho. Sophomore Carly Wilczynski was 10th overall for the women, junior Caleb Deitz 17th for the men.
With the race serving as the final tune-up before the Big Sky Conference championships, which will be held in two weeks at Flagstaff, Ariz., the men's team had its best performance of the season. All eight athletes who traveled to Lewiston improved their times from their only other eight-kilometer race this season, two weeks ago at the Montana Invitational in Missoula.
"The men had a really good day, and it was really encouraging to see," UM cross country coach Courtney Babcock said. "I think everyone feels better about their fitness now, and that's what this weekend is all about when you're two weeks out from conference."
Montana did not place anyone in the top 15, but just 34 seconds separated Deitz, who ran a 25:32, and the Grizzlies' No. 5 runner, freshman Matt Barker, who finished 34th in a time of 26:06.
Sophomore David Norris was the team's No. 2 runner behind Deitz for the second time this fall. He came through just two seconds back of Deitz in 18th place in a time of 25:34, and junior Jordan Collison was three places behind Norris in 25:35.
Redshirt freshman Mark Messmer was 28th overall in 25:56.
"Caleb, Jordan and Mark worked together for most of the race, then David moved up in the final kilometer," Babcock said. "Matt dropped off a bit but hung in there. It was really just a strong effort by everybody. Everybody raced well."
Washington State placed its top five in the top 13 overall to easily win the team title with 24 points. Gonzaga was second with 52 points, Montana third with 96.
Paul Limpf, a former Eastern Washington runner competing unattached, won the men's race in a time of 24:28, seven seconds ahead of WSU's Drew Jordan and Todd Wakefield.
The Montana women had just five athletes competing, and Wilczynski, in 10th, was the only Griz in the top 40 in the five-kilometer race. Wilczynski finished in a time of 18:23 and ran with the race's leaders throughout.
"Carly had a good day today, and I think she finally came away feeling like she had a good race," Babcock said. "I think she really trusted her fitness."
Wilczynski actually led the race at an early checkpoint, but then settled into a group that included athletes from Washington State, Gonzaga, Calgary, Idaho and Lewis-Clark State.
WSU's Caroline Austin pulled away from teammate Ruby Roberts to win by three seconds in a time of 17:43. Roberts, who clocked a 17:46, held off Gonzaga's Emily Thomas by a second.
"Carly went out with the front pack and mostly stayed with that group," Babcock said. "She was able to get sucked along with the other girls for a majority of the race and finish in the top 10.
"I think this race was important for her confidence going into conference."
Sophomore Allie Parks was Montana's No. 2 runner, finishing 42nd in a time of 19:35. Sophomore Autumn Taniguchi was 52nd in 19:51, redshirt freshman Mariah Meyer 66th in 20:11 and senior Bobbi Furrer 76th in 20:35.
Washington State went one-two in the individual results but didn't have the depth to take the team victory. Gonzaga had four in the top eight and five in the top 15 to win with a score of 37 points. WSU was second with 71.
The Big Sky Conference championships will be held Saturday, Oct. 27, at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Ariz.
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