Pirates Pace Themselves At Runners Soul Invitational

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – The Whitworth cross country teams returned to Spokane for the Runners Soul/Erik Anderson Cross Country Invitational at the Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley on Saturday.

The team has three meets scheduled on consecutive weekends, starting with last weekend's Sundodger Invitational and concluding with next weekend's Willamette Invitational, which is a lot for the bodies of the runners. Instead, Pirates head coach Toby Schwarz used this race as training and extra practice to help the teams recuperate and prepare for next weekend.

"Today was an unusual race; we didn't race our entire team," Whitworth head coach Toby Schwarz said. "Now we're going into the next week of practice and getting ready for the Willamette meet in a better position than we were going into today."

In the women's 5k, Coach Schwarz focused on increasing individual times. Freshman Olivia Newman (20:12.05) crossed the finish line first for the Pirates, coming in just ahead of junior Elisabeth Spencer (20:12.63). The team finished third in the collegiate division, with Gonzaga taking first for the NCAA collegiate teams.

"We took our top seven girls and paired them up with our next seven girls. The top seven girls were helping pace the other seven towards (personal records)," Schwarz said. "It seemed like it was a good race."

The men's team had a different approach as the group ran the 8k race together. The Pirates crossed the finish line in a cluster from 19-26th place.  The team as a whole took third place in the collegiate division, with MSU-Billings finishing first for the NCAA collegiate teams.

Next up, the Pirates will hit the road for the Willamette Invitational on September 29. Whitworth will begin racing at 9:30 am PDT.

Men's results here.

Women's results here.