Eagles face their next test of the season at the Big Sky Conference Championships where they will face five foes ranked in the top 15 in their respective regions
The Eastern Washington University women's cross country teams continues to make history.
After an impressive showing at the Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky., the Eagles have jumped from eighth to a best-ever sixth in this week's West Region rankings. The school's ranking of eighth on Oct. 5 was the previous best in school history.
"We are very excited about the most recent region rankings," said first-year Eastern cross country coach Chris Shane. "To reach a ranking of No. 6 in the West Region is an incredible accomplishment for Eastern Washington University. It is big for our student-athletes, our staff, and the entire University."
Eastern ranks only behind top-ranked Oregon, Boise State, Washington, Stanford and California, and are ahead of the likes of Gonzaga and Washington State. No other Big Sky schools are ranked in the West Region, but Weber State (fifth), Northern Arizona (sixth), Montana State (11th), Montana (12th) and Idaho State (15th) are among the top 15 teams in the Mountain Region.
The Big Sky Conference Championships are Oct. 31 in Cedar City, Utah, and the West Region Championships are Nov. 13 in Seattle.
"We have two more tough tests this year -- the Big Sky Championship and the NCAA West Region Championship where we will be the underdogs looking to prove ourselves once again," said Shane. "I am confident we will continue to improve as we approach each of these meets."
Last week at Louisville, the Eagles placed 13th overall against 45 other prestigious teams such as Colorado (ranked second in the nation), Oregon (fourth), Michigan (fifth), Georgetown (seventh), Stanford (ninth), and other top 25 nationally-ranked teams. The Eagles were just two points behind 12th-place finisher Air Force and nine points behind the 11th place finisher California.
Eastern placed above other nationally-ranked teams such as Cornell (ranked 29th and finished 22nd) and Big Sky Conference foe Montana State (finished 42nd). Eastern was just 83 points away from Big Sky competitor Weber State, which finished eighth.
"Seeing Eastern Washington University in the mix with teams like Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, Washington State, Boise State and Arizona to name a few is such a wonderful feeling," added Shane. "Our student-athletes have worked hard to do the little things that make a big difference. They believe they can be great and I believe we can as well. We are a team of believers and doers, and this news validates our efforts."
In Louisville, junior Sarah Reiter – the defending Big Sky individual champion – finished an impressive 16th overall out of 311 athletes. Finishing next for the Eagles was senior Catie Arrigoni in 58th, and Eastern's other top finishers were Katie Mahoney and Berenice Penaloza.