View Full Version : Gonzaga Hosts WCC Cross Country Championships on Saturday

10-29-2015, 08:12 PM
Conference Cross Country Championships Comes to Spokane

Gonzaga hosts its first conference championship since 2006

Oct. 29, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. -- For only the second time in the history of the event, the West Coast Conference Cross Country Championships will take place outside of California. Saturday, the Gonzaga women and men welcome the other nine conference members to Plantes Ferry Park for the league's premier running event.

This is the first time in nine years Gonzaga University has hosted a conference championship. The Bulldogs welcomed the WCC for the 2006 women's and men's basketball championships. The cross country championships comes to Spokane for the first time ever, as the schools now rotate as host each year.

"It is very cool to host the WCC Conference Championships in Spokane," Director of GU Cross Country Pat Tyson said. "We have such a great running community and the support for putting on the event is second to none! I just know that the teams coming into compete are going to love the venue rain or shine. We're so pumped to see all the alumni and friends of our program go crazy. With alums Jon Neill, Tate Kelly, and Tom Fuchs spearheading our alums, there will be great energy out on the course!"

The Zag women and men enter this year's championships with high expectations after successful seasons so far. The GU men were picked third in the conference's preseason poll and are currently ranked 12th in the West Region. The women started the year slated fourth in the preseason poll and now enter the conference championships as league's second-highest regionally ranked team at No. 7.

"The competition sets up to be tremendous this weekend, with almost every team having women who can be in the top 10, even top-five individual competitors," Gonzaga women's Head Coach Patty Ley said. "BYU comes in as the favorite team, ranked 14th nationally in the last poll, and that gives us a chance to test our mettle against a great team. As always things aren't perfect, but then that is what we train for too. I'm excited for the women to see the fruits of their hard work."

Gonzaga's Jessica Mildes has the top time over a 6,000-meter course this season. She ran a 20:25.3 at the Washington Invitational on Oct. 2. The junior's time is the 10th fastest this year in the conference. Natalie Shields of BYU ran a 20:03.3 at the same meet, which is the best in the WCC in 2015. BYU has five runners with the top six times this season.

Shelby Mills broke the Zags' program record at last season's West Coast Conference Championships with a time of 20:06.1. She placed seventh with that finish. Amelia Evans came in 10th at last year's championships at 20:29.2, the third-fastest time in program history. Jordan Thurston's time of 20:30.5 at the Washington Invitational is fourth on the all-time list.

Maggie Jones, Thurston and Mildes all had top-10 finishes at the WCC Preview on the Plantes Ferry course on Sept. 19. BYU edged out the Zags by one point for the team title. The Cougars' Alice Jensen placed first at 21:18.1.

Brigham Young's men's team cruised to the WCC Preview title, placing five runners in the top seven. Dallin Farnsworth (24:29.1) beat out teammate Aaron Fletcher (24:20.6) for the individual title. The Zags' Troy Fraley came in third at 24:24.2.

Fraley would later run the program's second-fastest 8,000-meter course time at the Washington Invitational. He crossed the line at 23:39.3, the fourth-best time this season in the conference. Fletcher's time at the event, 23:27.0 is the fastest.

In all, the Gonzaga men had eight new entries into their program's all-time 8,000-meter top-20 list after the Washington Invitational, along with 11 new personal records. Kyle Branch (4th, 23:57), Matthew Crichlow (5th, 24:04), Vince Hamilton (7th, 24:13), and Scott Kopczynski (8th, 24:14) all had top-10 program times on Oct. 2.

"Five of our nine men's harriers are veterans of the West Coast Conference Championship experience," Tyson said. "Fraley, Branch, and Ian Goldizen have all been to the event twice, while Crichlow and Conor McCandless have been once. All nine of our entries this year have played integral roles in Gonzaga being ranked in the region, and all nine are ranked on the GU all-time top-20 8K list.

"We ultimately want to nip the heels of Portland, who we never have beaten, and hold together to beat a very good San Francisco team."

The BYU men enter the meet ranked fourth in the country. Portland's men are sixth in the region, followed by San Francisco in 10th and Gonzaga in 12th. On the women's side, behind BYU and the Zags, San Francisco is ninth, Portland is 11th, and Loyola Marymount is No. 12.

"It is awesome to be able to host the WCC Championships and showcase our beautiful region and facilities," Ley said. "We're so very grateful to Marla Emde from the Spokane Sports Commission, and Gonzaga's Dan Gilbert, Joel Morgan and Heather Gores for laying the groundwork here in Spokane. We'd also like to thank the WCC staff for preparing to host a first class event for the student-athletes and the spectators."

The event is free for the public to attend. The women's race begins at 10 a.m., followed by the men at 11. A live video stream will be available on GoZags.com, along with live results.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/c-xc/spec-rel/102915aaa.html)

10-29-2015, 08:18 PM
Another Gonzaga Article:

Harriers Ready to Host WCC Championships includes link to Live Video and Live Results (http://www.gozags.com/sports/c-xc/spec-rel/102815aaa.html)

10-31-2015, 01:25 PM
West Coast Conference Cross Country Championships:

Women's Results (http://www.rtspt.com/events/wcc/xc2015/mp/)

Lady Zags win tiebreaker...

Men's Results
Zags finish 3rd...

10-31-2015, 08:19 PM

Party like its 1995: GU Women Win WCC Title

Shelby Mills wins women's individual title; Troy Fraley named men's All-Conference

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- For the first time in 20 years, and only the second time in program history, the Gonzaga University women's cross country team are the West Coast Conference Champions. The Zags' claimed the 2015 crown, led by a first place individual finish from Shelby Mills. The races were run at Plantes Ferry Park Saturday.

Gonzaga finished tied with BYU with 59 points, but the Bulldogs won the tiebreaker. The Cougars entered the race ranked 14th in the nation. Gonzaga was seventh in the latest West Regional poll. The Zags were picked fourth in the conference's preseason poll, while BYU was the favorite. Gonzaga placed fifth at the last two WCC Championships.

"This is amazing," GU women's Head Coach Patty Ley said. "They've just worked so incredibly hard for this. BYU, USF, LMU, and all the other teams came to compete. This was such a close meet. It's just an amazing group of young women all across the board. We're super-excited obviously with this, but we're honored to be in this group and conference right now."

Ley was named the 2015 West Coast Conference women's Cross Country Coach of the Year following the event. She becomes the first Zag to receive that honor since Kevin Swaim in 2000.

Mills became only the second GU runner to ever win a WCC cross country title. Cheska Fairbanks was the last in 1996. Mills led for the entirety of the race by a large margin. She created a gap from the 82-runner field and coasted to the title with a time of 20:55.7. The senior had an average mile of 5:36.6 and an average kilometer of 3:29.3. Loyola Marymount's Danielle Shanahan finished second at 21:06.4, a 10.7 second gap from Mills.

"There were scary moments when she got out so quick," Ley said. "But, she just kept rolling and had that look of determination on her face. It's been on her mind all season, and it was fantastic to see her win."

The Zags' Jessica Mildes placed third with a time of 21:10.4, while Jordan Thurston came in seventh at 21:20.4. Both were named All-WCC First Team after their performances. Mills received her second straight First Team recognition after placing seventh last year. Gonzaga had three top-10 finishers for the first time since 2000. Maggie Jones (22:05.2) and Amelia Evans (22:12.4) rounded out the GU scoring in 23rd and 25th.

"We just turned it on and kept rolling," Ley said. "Not everybody had their best race, but they never gave up on it. That was fantastic."

The Bulldog men placed third with 83 points. It was the lowest point total for Gonzaga since 2004's second place finish with 66 points. It was also the first time in nine years that the Zags have scored under 100. GU placed third at last year's championships as well.

BYU took the 2015 team title with 17 points. The No. 4 Cougars had seven runners in the top eight. BYU's Aaron Fletcher won the individual title with a time of 24:40.1. Portland placed second with 66 points. The Zags, ranked 12th in the region, finished ahead of the region's 10th ranked team, San Francisco, which had 116 points.

Troy Fraley was named All-WCC First Team with a ninth place finish. He crossed the line at 25:12.5. The junior's average mile was 5:04.3 and his average kilometer was 3:09.1. Matthew Crichlow finished 16th at 25:36.0. Vince Hamilton (25:40.9) and Kyle Branch (25:45.6) were 18th and 19th. Jack Pearce completed the GU scoring in 25th with a time of 26:01.6.

The Zags ran in front of a large contingent of Gonzaga fans Saturday. The championships were held in Spokane for the first time. It also marked only the second time the event was held outside of California. It was the first WCC Championship event GU has hosted since the 2006 basketball tournaments.

Gonzaga has a week off before the NCAA West Regionals on Nov. 13. The races return to the Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle, Wash., where the Zag women placed sixth at the Washington Invitational, while the GU men were ninth.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/c-xc/recaps/103115aaa.html)