Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
After being predicted to finish 11th in the Coach’s preseason poll, the Saint Martin’s Men’s Cross Country team looks ready to make a statement. Although slotted in a tough spot, the Saints are off to a hot start after the men finished fourth and the women fifth in the Central Washington Invite, and fifth for men and sixth for women in the Ken Garland Classic. The team is already running at a great pace.
In the first meet which was held at Central Washington, the men were led by many new faces.
According to Saints Athletics, “Nicholas Sarysz in his first collegiate race placed 20th overall with a time of 20:00.78. Following him was Marcus Rice at 20:19.76 and 27th overall. Rudu Wani and Zach Franco rounded out the scoring for the Saints with their finishes of 41st and 47th respectively. Wani completed the race in 21:06.86, while Franco marked a time of 21:36.09.”
For a squad that has seen brand new faces, a familiar one placed at the top for the Saints. Sophomore Andrew Oslin finished first for the Saints and 17th overall with a time of 19:46.10 minutes. Oslin led the Saints at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships last year with a 56th place finish and a time of 26:45.6 minutes headlines the men’s side. He also competed in the NCAA West Regional, taking home 109th overall.
According to Saints Athletics, “Noah Roberts, Braden Stowers, and Joe Phinazee all competed in the 2018 Conference Championships and add more depth and experience to the Saints’ roster. Building around the returning core will be nine new athletes, including two transfers and seven freshmen.”
With a great mixture of depth, newcomers and veterans, the men look to establish themselves as they head towards the second half of the season.
For the women’s team, Elaina Hansen led the charge with a time of 16:21.49, which was good enough to place her 30th overall. Second was Bethany Forward, who had placed 39th overall. Following Hansen and Forward were Naomi Hartley, Kendyl Otter, and Keirla Yates, respectively.
As for the Ken Garland Classic, “Hanson once again led the Saints on the women’s side of work with a time of 19:49 minutes. Forward followed in second place on the team with her time of 19:59 minutes. SMU was followed up by Hartley (20:25), Otter (21:31), andYates (22:07) in the scoring.”
Hansen looks ready to lead the charge as she has already led the Saints twice in the two meets for them. She may only be a freshman, but she’s running like a senior. A strong number two among the freshman, Forward also looks to be consistent as she has paced behind Hansen as well. All five of the Saints running are true freshman and improvements can only be made from here.
Both teams are halfway through their season with two meets left before the GNAC Championships. They will head to the Joe Payne/Curtis Invitational on Oct. 5 and then a finale at Western Washington on Oct. 12.