Cross-country wins at Big Sky Championships

By Elohino Theodore, Senior Reporter

EWU’s top 14 cross-country athletes traveled to Grand Forks, North Dakota to compete at the Big Sky Conference Championships on Nov. 1.

“There were definitely some big highlights to take away from it,” said Head cross country coach Chris Zeller. “One being, [sophomore] Sarah [Reiter’s] victory which is the first ever individual champion in Eastern history, so that was really exciting.”

“And you have Berenice [Penaloza] who’s a redshirt junior earning an All-Conference award,” said Zeller. “That’s something I know she’s been working towards for a while and it’s really exciting to see her shine as well.”

“The other cool thing there is, everyone comes back [next season],” said Zeller. “And we bring back a redshirt who went to nationals in track, [senior] Catie Arrigoni. ”

The Eastern women had 136 points and ended up finishing in fourth place with a title earned by Reiter. “I was happy with how I finished,” said Reiter. “I was just wanted to be in the top ten, but I like literally surprised myself with how I finished.”

The women’s team finished ahead of schools such as Southern Utah University, Sacramento State University and the University of Northern Colorado.

Reiter ran a time of 17:05.2 in the 5,000 meter race, earning first place. Penaloza finished with a time of 17:35.2 with a ninth place finish, while earning All-Conference honors. Junior Katie Mahoney had a time of 17:54.5 with a 22nd place finish. Sophomore Paula Gil-Echevarria came in 34th place with a time of 18:12.3.

Other athletes who represented Eastern at the Big Sky Conference championships were junior Mayra Chavez, who had a time of 18:53.3 with a 70th place finish, junior Emily Hazen came in 74th place with a time of 19:03.6, and sophomore Katie Lynch had a time of 19:22.0 while coming in 76th place.

Penaloza said that before the Big Sky Conference Championships, the team went through a process of preparation. “The two weeks before [the Big Sky Tournament] is tapering week, which is we kind of like, lower our milage,” said Penaloza. “We still do the Sunday long runs but it’s just a lot more shorter workouts.”

The men’s team had a sixth place finish with 151 points. The team finished ahead of Big Sky schools, including the University of Montana, the University of North Dakota, Idaho State University and Portland State University.

Junior Vince Hamilton was the top performer for the men’s team. He came in 13th place with a time of 24:40.2 in the 8,000 meter race.

Sophomore Stephen Bottoms had a time of 25:31.3 with a 28th place finish. Sophomore Alex Kimsey came in 30th place with a time of 25:32.2, and senior Chris Schroll with a time of 26:01.0 finishing in 39th place.

Senior Aaron Brenton came in 41st place with a time of 26:06.8. Austin Oser was the only EWU freshman at the Big Sky Championships. He had a time of 26:49.8 with a 61st place finish. Sophomore Isaac Kitzan completed the men’s team with a finish of 64th place and a time of 26:55.2.

The Eagles will be competing at the NCAA West Regionals in Palo Alto, California on Nov. 14.