Eastern men make huge breakthrough
By The Observer
SALEM The third race was the charm.
The Eastern Oregon Mountaineers mens cross country team broke through in a big way Saturday, taking second at the 39-team Willamette Invitational, with three runners breaking 25 minutes on the 8,000-meter course.
They were focused. They put it together, coach Ben Welch said.
Ten Mountaineers recorded lifetime bests and Eastern avenged early season losses to Northwest Nazarene and British Columbia, two teams ranked ahead of No. 11 Eastern in last weeks NAIA poll.
Northwest Nazarene was fourth and British Columbia seventh. Northwest Nazarene whipped the Mountaineers at Whitmans meet Sept. 15, and British Columbia took advantage of Eastern taking a wrong turn Sept. 29 at Big Cross, easily beating the Mountaineers.
Eastern also beat Willamette, which is ranked ninth in NCAA Division III.
Ian Schroeder, Tim Riley and Brian Crowl all broke 25 minutes, the first time Eastern has had more than one runner under that mark.
Schroeder was 17th overall at 24:41.7, with Riley in 18th at 24:43.5 and Crowl in 21st at 24:47.2.
Ian had no doubt in his mind that he was going to be under 25 minutes, and one of his goals was to run it under 24:45, Welch said.
Riley and Crowl were running farther up in the pack than they normally do, which caused them to question whether they were going too fast, especially Riley.
Riley was feeling fine but he almost didnt trust his sensory perception because he was running up from where he normally was, Welch said.
The team performance, which Welch called the fastest in school history, could have been better, too.
One of the most exciting things was as well as they ran, they made some mistakes and had some problems, he said.
Ben Gall was in fourth place shortly after two miles when, running down a short, steep downhill section, his back cramped. From there he struggled to keep his race together, Welch said. Gall finished 47th in 25:17.2 as Easterns seventh runner. Pat Egelus had a sub-par day, too, and was ninth for Eastern.
Eastern had hoped to have five runners break 25 minutes, and it came close. Eric Griffiths ran in 25:03.8, Dallas Kinch finished in 25:07.9 and David Terry came in at 25:10.5. Sean Williams was Easterns eighth runner at 25:18.7.
All of those top eight broke Easterns top 21 fastest times.
The Eastern women finished 26th as a team, led by Lisa Muilenburgs 103rd-place finish in 19:18.7.
Shes putting some things together mentally and physically that she wasnt prepared to do her freshman year, Welch said.
Deborah Moyer was Easterns second runner at 19:29.3, one of the 25 fastest times in school history.
Suzy Campbell was third for Eastern at 20:13.8, a lifetime best for her. Jennifer McGladrey and Laura Mortensen finished next to each other, in 21:32.8 and 21:33.0 respectively.
Kelsi Pelzer was sixth at 21:54.8 and Japanese exchange student Izumi Sato was seventh for the Mountaineers in 22:57.2 in her first cross country race.
Eastern hosts a small meet Saturday. The women race a 4K at 11 a.m. and the men do a 5K at 11:45. Whitman and Boise State are expected to attend.
Saturday, at Bush Pasture Park, Salem
Team scores (top 10) Seacows (Bend) 99, Eastern Oregon 103, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 131, Northwest Nazarene 132, Willamette 166, Team Eugene 175, British Columbia 258, Victoria 280, Lewis & Clark 328, Mount Hood CC 355.
Eastern Oregon results 17, Ian Schroeder, 24:41.7; 18, Tim Riley, 24:43.5; 21, Brian Crowl, 24:47.2; 37, Eric Griffiths, 25:03.8; 38, Dallas Kinch, 25:07.9; 40, David Terry, 25:10.5; 47, Ben Gall, 25:17.2; 48, Sean Williams, 25:18.7; 140, Patrick Egelus, 26:28.7; 188, Daniel McGourty, 27:00.5; 211, Alex McGladrey, 27:18.4 (unattached); 234, Jordan Baumgartner, 27:37.6; 253, Jesse Peterson, 27:58.4; 278, Ivan Steadman, 28:12.7 (unattached).
Team scores (top 10 and Eastern) Victoria 68, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 121, Greater Boise RC 140, Utah Valley CC 149, Northwest College 175, Willamette 250, Humboldt State 252, Westmont 296, Lewis-Clark State 344, Point Loma Nazarene 372, Eastern Oregon 697 (26th).
Eastern Oregon results 60, Katlin Lafferty, 18:47.6 (unattached); 97, Kelsey Jones, 19:16.6 (unattached); 103, Lisa Muilenburg, 19:18.7; 124, Deborah Moyer, 19:29.3; 205, Suzy Campbell, 20:13.8; 304, Jennifer McGladrey, 21:32.8; 305, Laura Mortensen, 21:33.0; 319, Kelsi Pelzer, 21:54.8; 353, Izumi Sato, 22:57.2; 356, Shelby Zacharias, 23:06.6; 378, Ashley Zacharias, 24:16.3.