CWU XC ready for GNACs

Men%27s+cross+country+rounds+the+track+led+by+Corbin+Carlton+and+Ron+Leaf.
Men's cross country rounds the track led by Corbin Carlton and Ron Leaf.

Men's cross country rounds the track led by Corbin Carlton and Ron Leaf.

James Stuck

James Stuck

Men's cross country rounds the track led by Corbin Carlton and Ron Leaf.

Simo Rul, Senior Sports Reporter

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James Stuck
Men’s cross country rounds the track led by Corbin Carlton and Ron Leaf.

The CWU men’s and women’s cross country teams are heading to Bellingham, WA to compete at the GNAC Championships on Oct. 21. The Wildcats have already run the course once this season when they competed at the Western Washington University (WWU) Invitational on Oct. 7.

Junior Alexa Shindruk had a top ten finish in the 6,000-meters and also set a personal record at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, WA with a time of 21:52.5.

“We’ve been doing well as a team, getting our pack closer to the front,” Shindruk said. “It will be exciting to see how far we can get…to some of the other teams like Western.”

Shindruk’s mindset going into a big race like the GNAC Championship is to have confidence because they have put in the work to get to this point, and this is when it all pays off, Shindruk said.

Senior Ron Leaf will be running in his last GNAC Championships this year

“I feel really good, we just finished a really good workout where everyone was on pace, and we’re ready to roll,” Leaf said.

We just want to go out there and compete, take it a mile and a step at time, stay on pace and finish strong in the end, Leaf said.

The Wildcats want to try and improve on last year’s results. Shindruk was injured last year and did not participate, so it’s a plus for the Wildcats to have her back this year.

“Individually, we’d love to see Alexa in the top ten. She was 11th as a freshmen, didn’t get to run last year,” head coach Kevin Adkisson said. “I think she’s really poised to do well. She could probably be top five, if everything goes well.”

Adkisson is hoping to have a male runner finish in the top 20, which hasn’t happened in a few years.

The Wildcats are seeing improvements from their last race at WWU, they have competed against more teams than they did at the beginning of the season. They want to take it light this week and then go into conference and take a step forward. Seeing both teams finish in the top seven helps gain more confidence going into GNAC’s, Adkisson said.

At the GNAC Championships, each team gets to run ten people, then for regionals the varsity team goes, which is the top seven runners. Athletes then have a chance to qualify from regionals to go to nationals.

“They take three teams automatically from the region to go to nationals. Then there is a process by which there is a committee that will evaluate who the top eight teams are that don’t qualify automatically kind of across the nation,” Adkisson said. “They’ll issue invitations for those eight, similarly like the top two women individuals that aren’t on one of those automatic teams will get to go.”

There is also a new rule that is a decider in who gets to go to nationals, which might help send more athletes from our region to the national stage.

“It’s new this year, they’ll issue a few individual invitations based on people’s finishes after they sort out who those extra bonus teams are, it’s going to be really interesting with that in its first year of seeing how that affects it,” Adkisson said.

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CWU XC ready for GNACs