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Lutes Runners Head North for Viking Invitational

Amanda Seely (237), Lauren Knebel (234) and Amanda Wilson (238) have led the PLU women this season.
Amanda Seely (237), Lauren Knebel (234) and Amanda Wilson (238) have led the PLU women this season.

COMING UP: With the Northwest Conference Championships looming in the not-too-distant future (at the end of October, in fact), Pacific Lutheran cross country runners will have another opportunity to fine tune their preparations this Saturday when they compete at the 39th Annual Viking Invitational hosted by Western Washington University. The invitational, to be held at Lake Padden Park, gets underway with a men's 10,000-meter race at 10 a.m., that to be followed by the women's 6000-meter run at 11 a.m.

MEN'S RACE IS A 10K: You might wonder if the last sentence in the previous note was a typo; can the men really be running a 10K when the normal competitive distance for collegiate men is 8000 meters? The 10K is accurate and apparently is regularly scheduled at the Viking Invitational as an over-distance race for the men. The women will run the regular 6000-meter competitive distance.

WHO'S COMPETING: According to a release posted to the Western Washington University athletic web site, PLU is part of a 16-team field. Others competing are WWU, Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, British Columbia, Central Washington, Club Northwest, Eastside Runners, Lane CC, Saint Martin's, Skagit Valley CC, Simon Fraser, Trinity Lutheran (men), Trinity Western, Victoria, Valley Royals (women). Alaska Anchorage is the two-time defending Viking Invitational champion in both divisions.

YOUNG GUNS: The Pacific Lutheran women's seven-runner contingent consists of two juniors - Alyssa Rowland and Chiara Rose-Witt - and five freshmen. A trio of those first-year collegiate runners - Amanda Wilson, Amanda Seely and Lauren Knebel - have been at the front of the PLU pack throughout the season. Seely was the top finisher in the first two races and Wilson has paced the team in the two most recent runs, with Knebel right there with two seconds and two thirds. Another first-year collegian, Madison Guscott, has been PLU's fourth-best finisher in three of the four races. With no seniors on the team, and with a strong contingent of young runners, the future looks pretty rosy for this bunch.

PLU INVITATIONAL SUMMARY: Alan DenAdel won the men's race and Amanda Wilson finished first in the women's division at the 2012 PLU Cross Country Invitational held last Saturday. DenAdel finished the 8000-meter course in a time of 26:00.53, pulling gradually away from PLU alumni runner Destry Johnson. Despite DenAdel's performance the Pacific Lutheran team placed second to Green River CC, the Lutes scoring 47 points and Green River 31. Olympic College placed third with 73 points, followed by UBC Okanagan with 78. For PLU, Kyle Smith placed 17th (28:43.69), Jordan Steves 18th (28:51.30), Joseph Mungai 21st (28:58.03), Eric Herde 27th (30:00.99), Matt Beal 28th (30:43.38), and Andy Jensen 30th (31:39.55). Wilson continued her strong showing over recent weeks, winning the 6000-meter run in a time of 24:16.23, with teammate Lauren Knebel placing third in 24:34.99 and Amanda Seely fourth in 25:08.52. That trio provided the impetus for PLU to win the team competition with 27 points, one better than UBC Okanagan. Those were the only scoring teams in the women's division as just 22 female competitors finished the course. For PLU, Alyssa Rowland placed 12th (26:34.67), Madison Guscott 13th (26:35.65), Karissa Jackson 15th (27:10.39), and Tara Glynn 19th (31:38.66).

- PLU -