SALEM, Ore. – The 11th ranked Lewis-Clark State women’s cross country team finished fourth in a stacked field on Saturday afternoon, and the No. 6 men’s squad took third at the
Charles Bowles Invitational, hosted by Willamette University.
For the second week in a row, Kelsey Klettke (photo at left), Chelsey Leighton and Sophie Bush carried the torch for the Warrior women, placing sixth, 12th and 21st respectively among scoring runners.
That trio paced LCSC to a third place at the Erik Anderson Invite in Spokane, and their top-25 finishes Saturday were crucial for the Warriors, who finished with 139 team points.
The University of British Columbia won both the women’s and men’s team titles on Saturday.
UBC’s women had 64 points and placed all seven of its scoring runners in the top 25.
“I was a little bit surprised that with the quality of this field that we were as close to Northwest Christian as we were,” said Lewis-Clark State coach Mike Collins, referring to the seventh-ranked Beacons, who were 12 points ahead of the Warriors in fourth place on Saturday.
“When I saw the results it was a good surprise. We were so close to them, yet there was so much room for improvement. We can be a lot better.”
Klettke, a senior from Vancouver, Wash., had a huge drop in time from last weekend, completing the 5K race in 18 minutes, 6.9 seconds on what Collins said was a slower course for all runners than the Warriors ran in Spokane last week.
Klettke clocked a time of 18:28.76 at Plantes Ferry Park.
“She started off by getting out in front and was right in there with the seven or so girls that pushed the pace,” Collins said. “She lost a few spots in the last quarter-mile, but she did really well. Chelsey and Sophie continued to do what they’ve been doing, but we just need to find those No. 4 and 5 runners to close the door and stop the scoring.”
Sophomore Nicole Dillavou was that runner on Saturday, finishing 49th in a time of 19:48.96.
Senior Amanda Palmer (51st place, 19:53.16), freshman Kayleigh McCoy (58th, 20:01.40) and senior Whitlee Young (79th, 20:40.57) rounded out the scoring for LCSC.
“It was very encouraging to see Amanda run a little bit better and Kayleigh had a much better day today,” Collins said.
The Warrior men had aspirations of winning at Willamette for the first time in the program’s storied history, but didn’t quite get there despite a valiant performance from senior Dave Marks.
Marks, the reigning Frontier Conference Runner of the Week, finished third overall and first among scoring runners in a time of 23:46.05, an improvement over the 24:42.60 he used to place third in Spokane.
Behind Marks and sophomore Sam Atkin (eighth place, 25:15.42) Lewis-Clark State finished with 110 team points and had four runners in the top 20 on the 8K course.
British Columbia and Concordia tied atop the leaderboard with 91 points, but UBC won the tiebreaker.
“We fully intended to go out and win the meet, and if we could have done that convincingly, maybe some raters would have given us a look at No. 1 (nationally),” Collins said. “But it didn’t happen, and that’s a little bit of a disappointment for the guys and me, but I still thought we raced relatively well.”
Junior Hayden Randall placed 27th overall and 19th among scoring runners in a time of 25:32.22, sophomore Pauric McLaughlin was 21st in 25:34.87 and freshman Dylan Crevelt -- who had to pull out of the Anderson Invite due to injury – took 61st place in 26.26.46.
Freshman Conor Smith (74th, 26:43.27) and sophomore Jacob Wimpenny (105th, 27.44.31) rounded out the scoring for the Warriors.
LCSC was once again without the services of senior Jimmy Oribo, the team’s No. 1 runner for the vast majority of the 2011 season. Oribo is nursing a hamstring injury, and Collins hoped to have him back for Saturday’s race.
“We thought we might have him back, and we waited until mid-week to make the final decision,” Collins said. “He probably could have run, but in a race this competitive we didn’t want his brain to be doing things that his body’s not quite ready to do yet. If he gets into the mix at our meet in two weeks, the outcome should be dramatically different.”
For right now, Collins’ focus with the men is exclusively on making sure his team is healthy and in top form for the Nov. 2 Frontier Conference Championships in Helena, Mont. and hopefully nationals two weeks later.
“That’s where our focus is at right now,” he said. “We’re going to be challenging these guys to step up into that mix of the top four. We might be the best team in the country, we’re until we do that we’re not.”
Both Warrior teams return to action on Oct. 13 at the Inland Empire Championships in Lewiston, which will be run on a temporary course in a farm field in the orchards.
“It should be extremely viewer-friendly, and we’re looking forward to seeing our community out there cheering.”
Other LCSC men in action: 48, Hunter Johnson, 26:03.49; 160, Andy Keim, 27:58.72; 175, Nick Pierson, 28:16.96
Other LCSC women in action: 112, Shelby Beaudoin, 20:56.85; 123, Ashley Barnes, 21:06.83; 125, AnnieKate Olson, 21:09.49; 146, Ashlie Renfro, 21:48.61; 155, Hannah Maus, 22:02.77; 164, LaDawn Vinson, 22:36.42; 169, Kendra Graber, 23:01.54.
Full meet results