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Cross Country Opens With Solid Outing

Aug. 31, 2007

SPOKANE, Wash. -Gonzaga University's men's and women's cross country teams got their first tune-up of the season Friday at Finch Arboretum, but it was Washington State University that came away with the team titles.

The Cougar men downed the Bulldogs 37-58 while the WSU women took a 16-42 victory.

WSU had five of the first six women across the finish line, led by Ashlee Wall who covered the two-and-a-half mile course in 16:16.07 to outdistance teammate Sara Trane who ran a 16:17.01. Collier Lawrence of the Cougars was third in 16:17.04, with Amanda Andrews fourth in 16:33.45.

Sophomore Molly Funk of Gonzaga broke up the WSU domination, finishing fifth in 16:41.01, with sophomore Medeleine Gianotti seventh in 17:45.66 as the two Bulldogs to finish in the top 10.

On the men's side, Sean Coyle, a WSU student running unattached, captured the meet in 22:07.70 as he finished is virtually a dead heat with David Hickerson, also running unattached and a WSU student, who was second in 22:08.12.

Alex Grant of the Cougars was third in 22:08.30 to lead three Cougars across the line. Sophomore Brett Withers was the top Bulldog finisher, taking eighth in 23:27.50, followed by teammates Darrick Thompson in ninth in 23:37.85 and Brian Slamkowski who was 10th in 23:46.24.

Colby Litzenberger, who with Withers is the only other Gonzaga returnee to have competed in the West Coast Conference Championship a year ago, did not compete.

"I thought this was a good tune-up," Gonzaga head coach Kevin Swaim said. "We have a lot of runners who were getting their first taste of collegiate competition and I thought they handled themselves well.

"Obviously, we're nowhere near where we want to be, but this was a good test to build on and improve. Hopefully, this race will springboard us for the rest of the season as we strive to reach our individual and team goals. We've only been together for a week, so the expectations weren't as high today as they will be as we get further into the season."

The next meet for the Bulldogs will be Sept. 14 at the Pier Park Preview in Portland, Ore.