September 22, 2012 - Erik Anderson Invitational
(Spokane, W.A.) – Everett Community College Cross Country travelled to Spokane’s Plante’s Ferry Park this weekend for the Erik Anderson Invitational, which doubled as this year’s NWAACC Championship Preview. With 88-degree weather and smoke still lingering in the air from the fires consuming much of the eastern part of the State, the Trojans blazed to another impressive showing.
In a very competitive field that featured four NAIA women’s cross country teams ranked among the Nation’s top-20 – (College of Idaho (4th), Carroll College (6th), Lewis & Clark State of Idaho (9th) and Rocky Mountain College (19th) – the Trojan women stated their case that they may be the Nation’s top Junior College women’s cross country team in 2012. Without freshman standout and #2-runner Marren Haneberg, given the meet off to rest a tight hamstring, the Trojan ladies took 4th in the team competition where their 133 points put them in the mix with the NAIA’s top programs. College of Idaho ran away with the women’s team competition and their 47 points placed them well ahead of runner up Carroll College (89 points). Lewis & Clark of Idaho (133-points) were 3rd while Rocky Mountain College (139-points) took 5th.
Individually the Trojan women were led by sophomore Katie Strong who finished 13th overall in 18:44.58. Strong ran most of the race side-by-side with Catie Arrigoni and Kristina Cordy before using her trademark last 400m to separate from her teammates. Strong was the top community college finisher placing just in front of Spokane freshman Jessica Mildes in 18:53.39. Arrigoni, a sophomore from Oroville High School was 22nd in 18:59.65; marking the first time in her running career that she has been under the 19-minute barrier in a 5-kilometer race. Kristina Cordy crossed next in 23rd and at 19:01.99 with Veronica Hall taking 31st in a PR time of 19:18.41. Chelsea Stokes and Rachel Cundy, both freshmen from Lakewood High School, were 49th and 51st respectively in 19:42.67 and 19:45.50 with Danielle Friend rounding out the top-7 in 20:00.41.
After already establishing a new team-record time in the 6k competition last weekend at Sundodger (1:53:53.36), this weekend the ladies posted the 2nd best all-time performance for a 5-kilometer race in school history. Their 1:35.47.3 put them less than a minute from the 2009 NWAACC Championship team’s school-record time of 1:34:50.0.
Asked to comment on the performance of his women’s team today, Coach Koenigs remarked “our women just looked great today. I think this is the best women’s team we’ve ever had and it shows every day at practice. This group is a joy to work with. We asked them to run in packs today and hold back for the first 2-miles of the race and even with that they just looked phenomenal.” The women placed 6 runners ahead of every other community college team’s number-two runner and had 7 of the top-11 community college finishers. Scoring the meet with just community colleges the Trojans were the top team with 21 points. Spokane (53 points) was 2nd with Treasure Valley in 3rd (66 points) and Skagit Valley College taking 4th (110 points).
With the temperature still soaring and with the sun directly above, the men’s 8-kilometer race began at 11:30 a.m. just after the conclusion of the women’s competition. The race, like the women’s competition, featured four ranked NAIA programs – Lewis & Clark State of Idaho (6th), College of Idaho (11th), Eastern Oregon (13th) and Carroll College (30th). The Trojan men, like their female counterparts, proved as well that they can compete with some of the Country’s top NAIA programs. Winning the team competition handily was Lewis & Clark State whose 44 points were less than half of second place College of Idaho’s team score (93 points). Rounding out the top-5, Eastern Oregon was 3rd (94 points) while Everett placed 4th (107 points) and Montana State University-Billings was 5th (111 points).
Individually the Trojan’s were led again by sophomore Habtamu Rubio who placed 15th overall and covered the course in 25:57.04 with sophomore Aaron Campbell in 17th in a time of 26:01.78. The two were the 2nd and 3rd fastest community college finishers – well behind Spokane’s Jon Smith who clocked a phenomenal 24:49.27 and finished 4th overall. Rounding out the top-5 for the Trojans were sophomores Max Antush, Nate Starr and Nic Lawrence who finished together in 35th, 36th and 37th place respectively with times of 26:30.76, 26:31.72 and 26:31.93. Freshmen Kris Mugrage, Zack Speiker, Mitch Beard and Mark Garcia finished in a tight pack after running together the entire race and placed 80th, 82nd, 83rd and 84th respectively.
Scoring the meet separately with community college teams the Trojans with 26 points eked out a narrow victory over a strong Spokane men’s program (31 points). Spokane’s total team time 2:11:27.93 was just seconds better than Everett’s 2:11:33.23 – foreshadowing what should be once again a very close team competition between the squads at the NWACC Championships on the same course November 10th. Coach Koenigs, who competed in the race himself and finished 56th overall in 27:00.05, commented on the race itself “it was very hot today and if the team didn’t learn what it means to suffer in the heat, I know that I sure did. But, this is a special meet that was well organized and the course itself was absolutely beautiful. I think we’ll plan to come back here and make this a regular part of our schedule every year.” Asked to comment on the men’s team competition, Koenigs explained “although it wasn’t our focus today the team scoring was not-surprisingly very close. This is a very good Spokane team and I think they’re even better than we saw today… and they looked very good today… I expect that we are going to be the underdogs in November.”
The Trojans will travel to Salem, Oregon next weekend for the Willamette Invitational held at Bush Pasture Park where they will compete in the Gold races – the men’s 8-kilometer competition is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. with the women’s 5-kilometer race to follow immediately after at noon.