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Lutes Turn Focus to Sundodger Invitational

With encouragement from head coach Heather Kreier (right), Jennifer Arbaugh finishes a 2011 race.
With encouragement from head coach Heather Kreier (right), Jennifer Arbaugh finishes a 2011 race.

THIS WEEKEND: After enduring heat in the mid 80s at last Friday's CWU Cross Country Invitational in Ellensburg, the Pacific Lutheran team should find running conditions more temperate when it competes this Saturday at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle's Lincoln Park. The women's 6000-meter race starts at 9 a.m., followed by the men's 8000-meter competition at 9:45 a.m.

MEN'S SUNDODGER NOTES: According to head coach Heather Kreier, the men's team is looking forward to Sundodger with great anticipation and a return to the 8000-meter race distance. Kreier said that the competition will be intense but arrives at a great time in the season to test the Lutes' lineup against Northwest Conference schools. "Alan DenAdel has hopes of hanging with the front pack and 'practice' for nationals," Kreier said. Pacific Lutheran placed 14th out of 21 teams at the 2011 version of the Sundodger Invitational. DenAdel had a strong race for the Lutes, running near the front for the early portion before finally placing 20th in a time of 25:26.21.

WOMEN'S SUNDODGER NOTES: The Lutes return to the 6000-meter distance on a well-known flat course at Sundodger. "I expect the women to show significant improvement from the season opener at Whitman Invitational," Kreier said. PLU placed 14th out of 17 teams at the 2011 Sundodger, though only two of the runners from that team (Jennifer Arbaugh and Alyssa Rowland) return for this campaign.

CWU SUMMARY: While the CWU Cross Country Invitational hosted on Friday, Sept. 7 by Central Washington University featured courses shorter by 2000 meters for both the women and men, the late afternoon heat was oppressive to all of the runners. "The CWU meet was short and a relatively flat course," PLU head coach Heather Kreier said, "but the heat in the mid 80s was a real drain to most of the team." PLU junior Alan DenAdel sat behind the leader from Western Washington before breaking free and winning the event in a time of 20:07, while senior teammate Kolter Grigsby placed third in 20:30. Western Washington won the team title with 32 points, followed by host Central Washington with 48, PLU 73, Green River CC 76 and Highline CC 134. "(Alan) needs to practice winning so he gets used to it and wants more of it," Kreier said. "Kolter ran his best collegiate race by finishing third overall. (I am) very proud of his risk-taking strategy to race smarter." In the women's race, freshman Amanda Seely had her second consecutive team-best finish, placing seventh overall in 16:00 over 4000 meters. Two other PLU first-year runners, Lauren Knebel and Amanda Wilson, were ninth and 10th, respectively, Knebel clocking 16:30 and Wilson finishing in 16:36. PLU was third in the women's race as well. Central finished with 32 points, followed by Western with 40, the Lutes with 54 and Green River with 107. "Amanda Seely ran in the front pack and held her own against the Division II athletes," Kreier said. "Lauren Knebel and Amanda Wilson proved their freshman prowess by following Seely to a solid finish.  Madison Guscott again had a monster race."

NWC HONORS DENADEL: Alan DenAdel has earned Northwest Conference Men's Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Week honors following his winning performance at the CWU Cross Country Invitational.

- PLU -