Eagles Look to Continue Their Steady Improvement at Inland Empire Classic

Eastern will have its last chance to gain experience prior to the Big Sky Championships

The Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s cross country teams will stay in the Palouse this weekend as they head to Lewiston, Idaho, for the Inland Empire Cross Country Classic on Oct. 13 hosted by Lewis-Clark State.

“We want to see everyone continue to improve at this meet,” head coach Chris Zeller said. “They had great workouts last week and that should set them up for strong performances.”

Zeller sees this meet as an opportunity for both teams to not only face strong competition with Washington State and Big Sky Conference foe Montana attending, but also as a chance for Eastern to decrease the spread between its runners.

On the men’s side, Zeller expects another great performance from true freshman David Thor, who has been the top finisher for the Eagles at all three meets.

“Every week David goes out and does something special, so I’m excited to see him continue doing that,” Zeller said. “It will be fun for him to try and be in the mix with Washington State and show how far he has come in this short season.”

Zeller also believes freshman Isaac Seward has shown some promise coming into this meet.

“Isaac had a great workout this last weekend and I’m really interested to see what he can do at this meet,” Zeller said. “If he can make the leap to be running up there with our No. 2 and No. 3 runners, that would be huge.”

On the women’s side, their top runner all season has been redshirt freshman Berenice Penaloza. Zeller would like to see the other runners narrow the gap behind Penaloza.

“I think it will be important for the women to have as small of a spread between runners as possible,” Zeller said. “Someone will need to push it and take that lead role controlling the pack behind Berenice.”

The Inland Empire Classic will be the last race for the Eagles prior to the Big Sky Championships in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Oct. 27.

“This meet will have quite a few quality teams, and being able to dig down and compete at a conference caliber level will be great for us prior to the conference meet,” Zeller said. “Our main goal, however is to just continue improving and keep getting better. I feel that we have done that at this point in the season.”

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