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LED ASTRAY: Big Cross 2001 race officials turned a pack of runners, including Eastern Oregons Ben Gall (right) and Ian Schroeder, down the wrong path during Saturdays collegiate cross country race in Pasco, Wash. (The Observer file photo/PAT PERKINS).
LED ASTRAY: Big Cross 2001 race officials turned a pack of runners, including Eastern Oregons Ben Gall (right) and Ian Schroeder, down the wrong path during Saturdays collegiate cross country race in Pasco, Wash. (The Observer file photo/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Another wrong turn in Pasco, Wash., cost the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers a race Saturday.

Instead of possibly beating Montana State and British Columbia for the mens cross country title at Big Cross 2001, the Mountaineers settled for third place after five of their runners were led astray by course officials.

The officials running it cant get used to the idea that the 5K and the 8K go a different route, Eastern coach Ben Welch said. Two out of the last three years theres been a mess-up with the mens race.

At the point of the wrong turn, Eastern had five runners in the top 15, including three in the top 10. All five were sent the wrong way.

They ran great; thats part of whats so frustrating because they were running awesome, Welch said. They were on fire. They were so intent on just racing, when the guys went the wrong way, they just followed them.

By the time the wayward group was back on course, they had run an extra 150 to 200 meters.

By Welchs calculations, Easterns runners who were in between 10th and 15th place at the point of the wrong turn slipped back to between 60th and 80th. Runners who were in 30th to 50th place found themselves in the top 15.

Ben Gall was in fourth when things went bad. He finished 35th. Dallas Kinch and Tim Riley were in the top 10, but Riley ended 28th and Kinch was 33rd. Dave Terry was 12th at the wrong turn but finished 37th.

Ian Schroeder may have been hurt the most. He was in 15th place in the early going but went up two extra hills on the extra 200 meters and tightened up over the final part of the race, Welch said. He finished 40th.

Easterns top runner officially was Brian Crowl, who was 22nd in 26 minutes, 18 seconds. Crowl was Easterns seventh runner at the turn, but he and Eric Griffiths were the first to go the right way.

In the womens race, a 5,000-meter affair, Eastern finished 11th as a team. Lisa Muilenburgs time of 20:17 was good for 42nd, one place behind Easterns Kelsey Jones, who was running unattached. Lisa was fired up and focused in a way that she hasnt been since her freshman year, Welch said.

Debra Moyer was second for the Mountaineers, finishing 57th in 20:41 despite back spasms.

Welch doesnt expect any wrong turns Saturday, when Eastern participates in the Willamette Invitational, the largest cross country meet on the West Coast. A few years ago, runners were faced with a locked gate at Bushs Pasture Park in Salem.


Team scores Montana State 32, British Columbia 57, Eastern Oregon 123, Idaho 124, Ricks 134, Eastern Washington 137, Mount Hood CC 157, Santa Clara 205, Washington State B 213, Boise State 239, Whitman 342, Cascade 355.

Eastern Oregon results 22, Brian Crowl, 26:18; 28, Tim Riley, 26:31; 29, Eric Griffiths, 26:31; 33, Dallas Kinch, 26:36; 35, Ben Gall, 36:42; 37, David Terry, 26:46; 38, Pat Egelus, 26:52; 40, Ian Schroeder, 26:53; 43, Sean Williams, 26:56; 78, Daniel McGourty, 28:24; 83, Ivan Steadman, 28:28 (unattached); 90, Jordan Baumgartner, 28:42; 99, Taylor Schmitz, 29:21; 114, Jesse Peterson, 30:27.


Team scores Montana State 46, Ricks 50, Boise State 58, Santa Clara 123, Eastern Washington 145, Idaho 186, British Columbia 202, Mount Hood CC, 209, Washington State B 246, Whitman 254, Eastern Oregon 284, Clark 317.

Eastern results 27, Angie Simmers, 19:48 (unattached); 41, Kelsey Jones, 20:16 (unattached); 42, Lisa Muilenburg, 20:17; 52, Katlin Lafferty, 20:34 (unatt.); 57, Debra Moyer, 20:41; 70, Suzy Campbell, 21:16; 92, Laura Mortensen, 22:29; 104, Kelsi Pelzer, 23:43; 110, Jenny McGladrey, 24:37; 112, Shelby Zacharias, 25:18; 114, Ashley Zacharias, 25:47.


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