Led by three All-Conference performances, the Seattle University women's cross country team finished in third place, while the men's team had one All-Conference effort in finishing sixth at the 2011 Great West Conference Cross Country Championships, hosted by the University of North Dakota Saturday at the Ray Richards Golf Course.
Hannah Mittelstaedt (Maple Valley, Wash.) capped off a great cross country season with a seventh place finish in the women's five-kilometer race in a time of 18:33.84. Earning First Team All-Great West honors, the sophomore was Seattle U's top finisher in all five meets she competed in during the 2011 season.
Senior Sarah Bolce (Sacramento, Calif.) punctuated her collegiate cross country career with a ninth place finish in 18:38.56, picking up Second Team All-Great West honors in the process. Jennifer Stolle (Seattle, Wash.) also earned Second Team All-Great West recognition after crossing the finish line in 13th place with a time of 18:54.11.
Sophie Curatilo (Honolulu, Hawaii) earned a top-20 finish, crossing the finish line in 19th place in 19:16.00, while Lauren Hammerle (Seattle, Wash.) finished in 25th place with a time of 19:32.97. Ashley Dalton (Bellingham, Wash.) concluded her collegiate cross country career with a 33rd place finish in a time of 19:50.39, and Meghan Arigo (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) finished in 44th place with a time of 20:47.26.
Picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll by the conference coaches, the Seattle U women accumulated 73 points for a third-place finish, nine points better than Texas-Pan American and just six points behind North Dakota. For the fourth straight year, Utah Valley won the team title, while Judith Chumba of UTPA won the individual conference championship by 10 seconds.
"The women ran phenomenally again this weekend. I couldn't be more proud of their focus and tenacity throughout the season and particularly today," head coach Trisha Steidl said. "They made such big improvements this year. To cap it off with a third place finish after last year's disappointing finish was terrific."
For the second straight year, Kelton Sears (Maple Valley, Wash.) earned Second Team All-Great West honors, pacing the Redhawks in the men's eight-kilometer race with a 13th place finish in 26:01.70. Graham Kinzel-Grubbs (Portland, Ore.) was the next Seattle U runner to cross the finish line, posting a 20th place finish in 26:27.44.
Miles Hille (Woodinville, Wash.) finished in 24th place with a time of 26:38.89, with fellow freshman Collin Overbay (Spokane, Wash.) in 28th place in 26:50.60. Ryan Dennison (Pacifica, Calif.) finished in 30th place with a time of 27:03.18, just ahead of teammate Jeff Baklund (Auburn, Wash.) in 31st place in 27:03.80, while Peter VanNuland (Newcastle, Wash.) crossed the finish line in 35th place in 27:18.89.
The men landed in sixth place in the team standings with 113 points, 10 points behind host school North Dakota in fifth place. Utah Valley easily won its third straight team title, while Matt Perri of Houston Baptist collected the individual conference championship with an eight-second victory over his closest competitor.
"The men's result was disappointing. A combination of inexperience and a young team in general are the biggest factors. We know what needs to change and will use this as motivation for the track season," said Steidl.
All seven male runners who competed in today's race are eligible to return next year, while the women's team loses Bolce and Dalton to graduation. After three years in the Great West Conference, the Seattle U cross country team will move to the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 and will be eligible to compete in the NCAA West Regional, which in 2012 will be held at the Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle.