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Bulldog Runners Ready For WCC Championship

Oct. 26, 2007

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's and women's cross country teams head to Belmont, Calif., for the West Coast Conference Championship Saturday.

The championship will be run at Crystal Springs Golf Course, the men over an 8K course and the women over a 6K layout.

The Bulldog men finished fourth a year ago with 84 points, while the Gonzaga women were seventh with 189.

Head coach Kevin Swaim is taking perhaps the youngest delegation the Bulldogs have ever sent to the WCC Championship. Only three returning runners - two men and one woman - are competing at this year's meet.

"This might be the youngest group we've taken to this meet," Swaim said. "But if I didn't think these were the best 14 runners then we wouldn't be making the trip."

On the men's side, Colby Litzenberger finished 12th a year ago as a sophomore and Brett Withers took 24th as a freshman. Those are the two returnees this year.

Only sophomore Madeleine Ginaotti ran this race a year ago, finishing 49th as a freshman.

Joining Litzenberger and Withers on the men's delegation are redshirt freshman Matt Bejar; true freshmen Ian Berge, Tony Karafiat and Ryan Keene, and sophomore Brian Slamkowski.

The women are a little more experienced with juniors Amanda Gillman and Lindsay Hallvik; sophomores Molly Funk and Lauren Rochholz, and freshman Laura Volcheff on the trip.

"I think Colby and Brett, based on what they've done this year and the fact they've been here before, will have a solid showing," Swaim said. "Other than that I really don't know how we'll do. We're young and enthusiastic, and that can work both ways. I think if our younger runners settle down and get into a groove they can score well."

The University of Portland will once again be the prohibitive favorite to win a 29th straight men's title, while the Pilot women ring a streak of 11 straight titles into the meet.

Gonzaga's women won the team title in 1995, the same season freshman Cheska Fairbanks captured the lone cross country title in Gonzaga's WCC history. The Bulldog men have 11 runner-up finishes to their credit, the last in 2004. Senior Joe Miller finished second for the Bulldogs last year, the highest in Gonzaga history.