Warming up in 30-degree snow

Seattle Pacific women finish in third place, men finish fifth.

Brandon Bee, Staff Writer

Snow fell as the Seattle Pacific University Falcons cross-country teams competed in the GNAC Championships last Saturday morning. The women placed third and the men placed fifth.

“Championship meets require season-long prep,” assistant coach Chris Reed said about the buildup for the meet. “The biggest preparation is to make everyone prepared: mentally and physically.”

All that preparation helped Seattle Pacific women’s team garner a score of 64 and finish in third place. The two teams who finished ahead of them in the team scores were Western Washington University, who won its first conference crown and Alaska Anchorage University, who had won the championship the four years previous.

“The women ran with a lot of heart,” Reed said. “They pursued the championship with a lot of effort.”

Individually, senior Kate Lilly finished the race with a time of 21 minutes and 39 seconds which earned her second place behind Alaska Anchorage’s Emmanuelah Chelimo. Lilly previously had a best of 12th place at the Oregon Ash Creek Preserve meet last year.  

Other top finishers for SPU were junior Dania Holmberg, who ended up finishing fourth with a time of 22 minutes and 2 seconds. Finishing in the top 20 for the first time in the conference, junior Elizabeth Thompson finished 17th with a time of 22 minutes and 58 seconds. Joining her was redshirt freshman Kelsey Washenberger who placed 19th with a time of 23 minutes and 3 seconds.

The SPU men finished fifth, falling eight points short for fourth place with a score of 120. Some notable names for the men included junior Elius Graff and junior Colin Boutin who finished eighth and 12th, respectively. 

Graff had a time of 25 minutes and 30 seconds. Last year at Western Oregon University, Graff had his biggest postseason performance, placing 24th. This year, Graff finished in eighth place, tying his highest finish in a race to date. 

Boutin finished with a time of 25 minutes and 39 seconds.

Sophomore Brayden Schultz also played a part in the men’s fifth-place finish, as he was their final scoring runner for the meet. Schultz ended the meet in 38th with a time of 26 minutes and 44 seconds.

“He has been grinding it out all year. Believing in himself, he was called into action. It was time for him to step up. He found a way to finish before some guys,” Reed said. “It was the difference between finishing fifth and finishing sixth.”

As the Falcons finished one point ahead of sixth-place Western Oregon University, it was a big performance from Schultz. 

Coming up in a few weeks, SPU’s cross-country teams are looking to prepare for the West Regionals Saturday, Nov. 9 at Western Oregon. If the teams do well enough, they will qualify for the national championships.

“We want to make sure the runners are physically prepared. We don’t want to train too much. We want to be sharp and prepared. We don’t want to push them too hard and we will be ready.” Reed said.