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October 12, 2011

PLU Invitational Slated for Saturday Morning

HOME, SWEET HOME: Pacific Lutheran runs in front of the home fans this Saturday when it hosts the annual PLU Invitational on the campus golf course. The women's 6000-meter race is slated to begin at 10 a.m., followed by the men's 8000-meter event one hour later.

MORE ABOUT THE INVITATIONAL: Saturday's PLU Invitational will be an intimate affair with 44 women and 49 men entered in the respective races. Joining PLU at the invitational will be teams from Central Washington, Green River CC, Olympic CC and Skagit Valley CC. Seattle Running Club and the PLU Alumni will also be represented, in addition to a handful of unattached runners. Neither of the 2010 championship teams are entered in this year's event. Clark College won the women's title and Saint Martin's took the men's crown.

LAST YEAR: Clark College won the women's team title and Saint Martin's nipped Clark by one point to take the men's crown at the 2010 PLU Cross Country Invitational. Pacific Lutheran came in as the defending champion in both divisions, but neither team could retain their title as the women placed second while the men finished third. In the six-team women's race, Clark College had two of the top four finishers to score 33 points, followed by PLU with 49, Saint Martin's with 52, Green River CC with 119, Highline CC with 128 and Olympic College with 154. Katie Gebert placed sixth overall and Suzy Olsen was seventh to lead the Lutes. In the seven-team men's competition, Saint Martin's had the top three finishers on its way to scoring 52 points, one point better than Clark College. Kyle Van Santen won the 8000-meter race with a time of 26:06.44. Rounding out the team scores were PLU with 71, Highline CC with 81, Olympic College with 119, Green River CC with 125, and Skagit Valley CC with 184. Leading the PLU men was John Phillips, sixth overall in a time of 27:13.09, followed by Alan DenAdel, 12th in a time of 27:36.71.

HOPING FOR A REPEAT OF 2009: Both Lutes teams will be aiming at a repeat of the 2009 PLU Invitational when the hosts swept the team championships. That year, the PLU men scored 31 points to beat an alumni team by 14 points. On the women's side, the Lutes scored 34 points, followed by Pacific (Ore.) with 48.

CHARLES BOWLES SUMMARY: For the second time in three races, the Pacific Lutheran women's cross country team placed 14th, this one coming on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the 37th Charles Bowles Invitational hosted by Willamette University in Salem, Ore. The Lutes also finished 14th at the Sundodger Invitational held Sept. 17 in Seattle. Chico State won the team title with 43 points, and Lewis & Clark from the Northwest Conference was fourth with 125 points. Other NWC schools were Whitman, seventh with 193 points, Willamette, ninth with 203, Linfield, 10th with 269, Whitworth, 12th with 326, PLU, 14th with 385, and Puget Sound, 15th with 388. For the fourth time in as many meets this season, Katie Gebert led the PLU runners. She placed 57th in a time of 18:58.81, followed by Suzy Olsen, 72nd with a time of 19:14.57. Rounding out the PLU finishers were the following: Erica Johnson, 106th in 19:53.71; Jennifer Arbaugh, 107th in 19:54.07; Erinn Kuest, 126th in 20:18.05; Alyssa Rowland, 132nd in 20:32.15; Allison Young, 146th in 21:07.53; and Maggie De La Vergne, 148th in 21:10.72. The Pacific Lutheran men cross country runners finished 14th out of 15 teams in their division at the 37th Charles Bowles Invitational held Saturday, Oct. 1, and hosted by Willamette University. Chico State tied University of Portland for the team title with 37 points. Among Northwest Conference schools, Willamette led the way, placing fifth with 141 points. Rounding out the NWC entries were Whitworth, seventh with 198, Linfield, eighth with 238, Lewis & Clark and Puget Sound, tied for 12th with 358, PLU 14th and one point back at 359, followed by Whitman in 15th and last with 366.  Alan DenAdel continued to run ahead of the PLU pack, leading the way by finishing 29th with a time of 25:26.09. Sean Andrascik placed 98th in a time of 27:10.03, followed one spot later by Alex Martin with a greatly improved time of 27:10.81. Other PLU runners were the following: Kolter Grigsby, 104th in 27:15.05; Barrett Bollen, 112th in 27:25.98; Kyle Smith, 116th in 27:29.11; Nathan Brewster, 150th in 28:26.24; and Eric Herde, 151st in 28:53.19.

COACH KREIER'S COMMENTS: Based on season personal records by every runner but one on the women's team, and lifetime PRs by Gebert, Arbaugh, De La Vergne and Rowland, head coach Heather Kreier called the Charles Bowles Invitational results "another awesome day for the Lutes. Katie's first time at breaking 19 minutes on a course that she will run for the last time as a collegiate athlete was so exciting. She was 15th (among) the NWC athletes and hopes, with another month of training, to break into the all-conference top 14." Kreier also noted that DenAdel, Martin, Smith and Herde all season and lifetime personal records. "The men's team spread between the second and fifth runners was 15 seconds and between the second and sixth runners was 19 seconds. If this continues with improved times, the men's team will be rallying for fourth at the NWC Championships. Alan DenAdel is looking forward to a potential individual national qualifier as he continues to pass competitiors in the NWC.  At Willamette only two other NWC athletes were ahead of Alan.  He hopes to fight for the number one or two positions at the championships at the end of October."

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