|The Linfield men’s and women’s cross country teams got the 2008 campaign off to solid start Saturday at the Summer’s End Invitational, hosted by Western Oregon University. The men’s team finished fourth with the women finishing fifth.
On the women’s side, Wildcats junior Marci Klimek (Jr., Phoenix, Ore) took top honors, winning the meet in a time of 18:39 over the five-kilometer course. Klimek was in the lead pack of 10 through 2,000 meters before surging to what would prove to be an insurmountable 20-meter lead.
“The pace felt easy early on, but I was catching elbows and having to chop my stride in that tight pack,” said Klimek. “It felt good to get out and open things up.”
Klimek was followed into the finish chute by a slew of first-year Wildcats. Brooke Keudell (Fr., Sublimity, Ore.), 17th in 20:27, Lindsey Thomas (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.), 24th in 20:55, and Nelly Evans (Fr., Lake Tapps, Wash.), 25th in 21:02, had promising starts to their Linfield careers. The trio was followed across the line by Amanda DeHass, 27th in 21:36, who returned to the team after a year abroad, and freshman Gretchen George (Fr., Knappa, Ore.), 28th in 21:39.
On the men’s side, the ‘Cats were minus top returner Chris McIsaac (Jr., Olympia, Wash.) who is sidelined with an injury. Despite McIsaac’s absence, Linfield was led by the strong performances of Shawn Fisher (Jr., Boring, Ore.), fifth in 25:20, and Tyler Davis (Jr., Talent, Ore.), 11th in 25:40. Davis was followed by newcomer Scott Gage (Fr., Bend, Ore.), who finished 19th in 26:10 in his first effort at the eight-kilometer distance.
Freshmen Eric Weinbender (Fr., Forest Grove, Ore), 26th in 27:07, Arian Anderson (Fr., Everett, Wash.), 31st in 28:08, and Lucian Battaglia (Fr., McMinnville, Ore.), 32nd in 38:37, rounded things out for the Wildcats.
“Despite both teams finishing low in the overall standings, the meet set a positive tone for the season,” said Linfield assistant coach Greg Mitchell. “Both teams are going to improve drastically in the coming weeks as injuries are resolved and the freshmen continue to find their way.”
NEXT: The Wildcats travel to Walla Walla, Wash., on Saturday for the Whitman Invitational.