It was a chilly fall morning at Finch Arboretum as the Eastern Cross Country team took on Gonzaga last Saturday in Spokane. Spectators donned winter coats and gloves to cheer on runners as they navigated a relatively unfamiliar course.
“I changed the course a little bit this year trying to make it a little bit easier, so some of them had never run it before,” said Assistant Coach Dan Hilton.
The Eagle’s won on the women’s side with a first place finish by Amy Jo Perrault, her first college win. With their top three runners out to rest for the next week’s race, the men couldn’t make it happen, even with the first place finish from Freshman Joe Hewitt.
Hewitt crossed the finish line in 25:44, but the Bulldogs held on to six of the top 10 spots, ending the meet with 23 points, to Eastern’s 33. Other top 10 finishers for Eastern were Bruce Jackson, Gerald McCormick and Casey Kellogg.
“This was a really big confidence builder for Joe,” said Hilton.
The EWU women’s team dominated Gonzaga in their three-mile race, beating the Bulldogs 22-35. Perrault finished with a time of 19:39, while teammates Lanaia Jones and Jeanette Gardiner rounded out the top three. Lisa Harrison, the Eagles number one women’s runner, took a spill during the race and ended up finshing 10th. The Eagles closed the meet with 22 points and held an average time of 19:59, almost 20 seconds ahead of their opponent’s average.
Eastern starts a two-week road stretch this weekend, traveling to Pullman to face WSU along with teams from Idaho State and Boise State this Saturday. The following meet will be in Pocatello, Idaho, Oct. 19 and the Eagles will get their first run of the season on the conference course.