Vikings find success at Eastern Washington

Last weekend the Viking cross country team showed the competition how talented they really were by making statements on both the men’s and women’s sides in Cheney, Wash. The high note for the Vikings was junior Jenny Rodgers’ first place finish, winning by a generous margin of 13 seconds in the 5000-meter event. The men were able to beat out both Gonzaga and Sacramento State.

Although the women’s team was led by Rodgers, it was beat out by both Sacramento State (25-36) and Eastern Washington (25-36). The Viks were able to outscore Gonzaga (24-31) marking a team score of 1-2 for the weekend. Rodgers finished with a top time of 18:48. PSU’s Anne Kawasaki finished in a respectable fourth-place fashion in 19:08. Rounding out the women’s squad was Ashley Tendick in 38th, Megan Lucas in 39th, and Tiffany Jenks placing 43rd out of the field of 49 total runners.

“Jenny ran a fabulous race,” stated assistant coach Mike Hickey in a recent press release.

The men were led by Evan Garich, who ran his first race of the season. Garich finished in 14th place, with a time of 26:44. As a team, the men finished 2-1. They outran Sacramento State (20-36) and Gonzaga (15-43), but fell to the home-advantaged Eagles (18-39).

“Evan looked great and was able to stay with the top group of runners all race long,” continued Hickey.

Other finishers for Portland State included Mike Kebbe in 21st, with a time of 27:10. Following close behind were Paul Loprinzi (23rd), Kyle Boyd (24th), and Chris Hollis (33rd).

This was the final chance for the Vikings’ cross country team to work out any kinks against Big Sky competition before the regional run-off. They outperformed the expectations of the Big Sky Preseason Coach’s Poll, which placed both the women’s and men’s teams last in conference. Northern Arizona and Weber State rounded out the top two in both men’s and women’s polls for the Big Sky, but did not participate in the meet this weekend.

As of Oct. 9, the Mondo Men’s Division I Cross Country Rankings have Northern Arizona at eighth, and Weber State at 20th. By the FinishLynx Women’s Cross Country Rankings Northern Arizona shows to be 21st in the nation.

With the next week off, the Vikings will prepare to impress those who complile the final polls. Portland State will return to Cheney, Wash. for the Big Sky Championships in two weeks.