XC | Gaels Head To WCC Championships
The Saint Mary's men's and women's cross country teams compete Friday morning in the 2017 WCC Championships in Oakland.
MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will race Friday morning in the 2017 West Coast Conference cross country championships, taking place at the Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland.
10:00 a.m. – Women’s 6-kilometer Race
11:00 a.m. – Men’s 8 km Race
Noon – Awards Ceremony
For the sixth consecutive year, the 2017 West Coast Conference Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live and commercial-free on TheW.tv. George Devine and Josh Muxen (analyst) will provide the commentary for both races. Fans can find all coverage links on the Championship Central page.
The Saint Mary’s men were missing key pieces two weeks ago in their final regular season meet at the Bronco Invitational, but still had a strong showing in the fast, competitive meet. Senior Noah McDermott was the Gaels’ top finisher in 25th place with a time of 24 minutes, 24.7 seconds.
The Gaels finished fifth at last year’s championship for the second straight year. 2015’s fifth-place finish was a two-spot improvement from 2014. The Gaels won a team title to open the season on Sept. 1 at the Nevada Twilight meet. They also had an impressive third-place showing at the Joe Piane Invitational on Sept. 30, beating four regionally ranked teams while placing four among the top-50.
FROM Noah McDermott
“I have pretty high goals since it’s my last conference (championship). This year it’s probably the most competitive it’s ever been. My goal would be to just get up there, run with the front group – they’re going to be talented and hard-working – so just latch on to them, and if I could beat some guys on (Portland and BYU), then I can be on the same level as some national elite runners.
“The main thing is that we’ve been packing up. In our previous years we’ve had to rely on our top runners, but this year there’s no set order. The time spread is shorter than normal which means we’re in a better pack, and we’re all better dispersing our weight to carry the team.”
The Saint Mary’s women were also short-handed two weeks ago at the Bronco Invitational, but top runners Abby Bolt and Neylene Leon have been leading the charge with a talented group of underclassmen behind them that have packed well all season.
The Gaels have improved their place at the WCC Championship in both of the last two seasons, moving up two spots from 2014 to 2015 and inching up to seventh at the 2016 meet, only eight points out of sixth place. Bolt has been the Gaels’ top runner for each of the past two seasons, including leading them in every race to date this year.
FROM Abby Bolt
“I think the goal is to really have a strong performance. I’ve been working this season to build up to conference, where last year I tapered off too soon. Going into this race our goal is to work together within our groups but also be competitive against the other teams. We know that we can do as well as we did last year as a team, but it’s going to happen in a little bit different way. I think we’ll surprise a lot of people.”
“I feel pretty energized going into (the race). It’s going to be awesome to essentially be at a home course. Anytime we go to San Francisco there’s always a ton of Gael fans out there so I think it’s just going to be really fun.”
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