Cross country gears up for regional meet


Heather Stewart

The CWU cross country team will be headed to the NCAA West Regional Championship meet on Nov. 17. At the GNAC Championships, the men and women both earned themselves fifth place team finished.

Dez Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

The CWU cross country teams placed fifth overall at the GNAC Championships on Nov. 3. The men and women are now getting set to race at the NCAA West Regional Championship meet in Billings, Montana on Nov. 17. Highlighted by CWU top finishers Alexa Shindruk and Corbin Carlton, head coach Kevin Adkisson is encouraged with the team’s potential performances.

A strong outing from Shindruk was expected by herself and her teammates at the GNAC Championship. She held the lead at the 4k mark before finishing second overall for the women’s race with a time of 21:25.5. Only six seconds away from top Alaska Anchorage’s runner Emma Chelimo.Shindruk is even more motivated after coming so close to finishing at the top of the standings.

“We’re really focusing on hitting our paces, pushing the front end of our pace range for the intervals that we do,” Shindruk said. “Less distance, but the same intensity.”

Sophomore runner Nicole Soliem worked her way to a sixth place finish with a a time of 21:42.8. Only four seconds separated the fifth through ninth places, and the margin for error is going to be even slimmer at the regional meet.

For the men’s team, it was Carlton’s running experience that helped him become the highest individual finisher for CWU in the past four years. Now a senior, he is better prepared for races with such magnitude. His pace quickened as the GNAC Championship race went on, finishing 20th overall with a time of 25:40.4. The next CWU finisher was freshman Turlan Morlan who placed 23rd overall. Both runners finished over a minute away from top finisher Wesley Kirui of Alaska Anchorage.

In order to advance to Nationals, the team has their work cut out for them.  Only the top three teams from the eight different regions will get to go to nationals automatically. After that, there will be 10 at large teams that will be selected. A point system that takes into consideration the team’s wins and losses during the season helps determine who moves on.

“With how strong our region is, we can be sixth or seventh in the region and get enough points to be selected to go as an at large team,” Adkisson said.

As for individual performances, the top five overall move on for sure. Otherwise, they take the top two runners from teams that didn’t move on to nationals. Then at large individuals will be awarded through the same selection process.

At the beginning of the season, the cross country team did many different types of pace work. They would go through longer workouts at the pace that they would go during a normal race. Now towards the end of season, the team is taking a different approach to better prepare for the regional meet.

“We do shorter workouts where we’re not tiring our bodies out as much,” Corbin said. “We’re at a point where we already have all the training, we’re just trying to stay fast.”

The race distance is jumping up to 10k for the mens while the woman’s will stay at 6k. The team may not be familiar with the increased distance, but their strong performance at the GNAC Championships has the team motivated as ever.

“As a team I think we can definitely break some ground,” Corbin said. “We’ve only raced the 10k once this season and I think we’re in for some improvement.”