Spokane – Led by a fifth-place finish by Jimmy Oribo and a ninth-place clip from Cody Glad, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s cross country team finished third overall at the highly competitive Erik Anderson Invite at Plantes Ferry Park on Saturday.
Up against multiple NCAA Division I schools and very hot weather, the Warriors certainly met if not exceeded the expectations of head coach Mike Collins.
“The men did real well,” said Collins. “We had some personal records on a course that is notorious for being slow, but the entire race was sped up because the competition was good.”
Despite the heat causing one Warrior, who was in LC’s top five, to drop out, Lewis-Clark State finished ahead of a number of strong teams.
Oribo, a junior from Kampala, Uganda, ran the 8-kilometer course in 24:49.26 and stuck close enough to the leaders that winning seemed like a possibility for the majority of the race.
“Jimmy ran up front the whole way,” said Collins. “He’s running so well right now. He was in the top three, but faded a little right near the end.”
Glad, a freshman from Kearns, Utah, was not far off Oribo’s pace as he finished the course in 25:02.65.
“Cody is such a tough kid. He’s just a work horse. Our plan was to be patient at the start and then hunt people down and start picking them off near the end—and that’s what he did.”
Rounding out LCSC’s top five, Cody Larson was No. 23 with a time of 25:28.96, Hayden Randall No. 62 in 26:09.17, and Nick Pierson was No. 86 in 26.37.26.
In a field of 25 teams, Colorado School of Mines claimed first and Gonzaga was second. Lewis-Clark State, ranked No. 12 in the most recent NAIA poll, fared well against NAIA competition. College of Idaho finished No. 11, Eastern Oregon No. 12, and Frontier Conference foes Rocky Mountain and Carroll College No. 13 and No. 20, respectively.
On the women’s side, LCSC, ranked No. 19 in the NAIA, claimed 10th out of 26 schools. The Warriors defeated Rocky Mountain (15th), and Eastern Oregon (22nd), but fell short of No. 7-ranked College of Idaho (4th), and No. 13-ranked Carroll (7th).
“I’m very encouraged about where the women are right now,” said Collins. “We have a group of some real young girls and some girls that have experience, and this was the first time we’ve run 6K this year. I’m excited to see what they do next week on a 5K course.”
Junior Chelsey Leighton and freshman Sophie Bush led the Warriors by finishing No. 40 and No. 46, respectively. Leighton completed the course 23:10.61, while Bush, running in just her second cross country race ever, had a time of 23:20.12.
Washington State finished first on the women’s side, and Gonzaga claimed second.
Both Warrior teams now narrow their focus to the Willamette Invite next Saturday. The race will feature a host of the NAIA’s top schools, and will be a good indicator of just how successful the Warriors can be this season.
For complete results from the Erik Anderson Invite click here.