ISU Cross Country
Bengal Men finish 7th, Women 9th at Big Sky Championship
Missoula, MT - The Idaho State Bengals Cross Country teams traveled to Montana for the Big Sky Championships on Friday, Oct. 27.
As the Bengals traveled north, the temperatures went south, culminating in a race day in snow-capped Missoula as cold as 18°F at one point in the day. The weather had not been in anyone's favor with rain and snow pelting western Montana most of the week leading up to the meet.
"We were expecting the path to run slowly due to all the rain and snow they got all week. When we previewed the course on Thursday, it was still frozen." remarked Head Coach Nate Houle on the running surface.
The women kicked off the race with the 5k. Cassandra Vasquez led the way for the Bengals the whole way, rising from 53rd at the 1M split to a 44th-place finish with a time of 18:56.1. The rest of the Bengal pride was a tight-knit group, with Sulette Ferreyra Serna, Madi Kenyon, Presley Timmons, Annabell Gossell, Olivia Kendall, and Allison Lemons all finishing between 53-60 on the day, giving the women a 9th place team finish on the day.
"They started the day pretty conservatively, which put them at a disadvantage right away. They were able to close the gap at the end a bit, and we're excited to get everyone healthy and have another shot at it in Texas." said Houle on the women's performance
The men followed up with the 8k. Seth Babbel was the top finisher on the day with a consistent performance, coming in at either 31st or 32nd at all four splits before finishing at 31st for the Bengals. His finish of 25:15.9 would be a top 10 all-time finish at Centennial Field for 8k.
The rest of the Bengal men would cross the finish line over a 27-second stretch, with Brandon Walker, Gavin Pollock, Eric Christen, Sunny Gunn, Clark Baker, and Cade Smith all finishing between 25:36.5 and 26:03.3, placing between 37th and 52nd to round out the Bengals for a 7th place team finish, just five points behind Montana for 6th.
"The men went out aggressively and were in a great position early on. They held very well and closed hard, nearly catching Montana in the end. I think everyone was slightly disappointed because they believe, and I agree with them, that we are a better team than that." continued Houle on the men.
"Both teams are young and still developing so I need to make sure that they stay hungry and continue to push forward."
The Bengals close out the fall season with the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Lubbock, Texas on Friday, November 10.