Eagles Compete at West Regional Championships

Eastern men will run this Saturday, but will race without injured junior Alex Smyth

The Eastern Washington University men's cross country team will compete Saturday (Nov. 14) at the 2009 NCAA West Regional Championships hosted by the University of Oregon at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ore.

Kyle King, Graham Vaux, Simon Sorensen, Cody Barton, Jordan Curnutt (pictured) and Cody Bradwell will all compete for the Eagles on the 10,000-meter course at 9:45 a.m.

The top two teams in each race earn automatic berths to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind. Individual and at-large bids will also be at stake this weekend.

Junior Alex Smyth will not compete due to a strained quad muscle that was ailing prior to the Big Sky Conference Championships on Oct. 31. He finished 23rd after placing sixth as a sophomore.

"Without Smyth in the race, we've had to re-evaluate our goals a bit going into the meet this weekend in Oregon," said head cross country coach Chris Zeller.

At the BSC Championships, King finished 18th with a time of 26:51.7 in the 8,000-meter race. Last year at the West Regionals, King finished 157th with a 10,000-meter time of 33:52.44 in Stanford, Calif.

"We expect Kyle to finish in the top 40 and he could very well find himself battling for a coveted top 25 spot," said Zeller. "You must finish in the top 25 to be eligible for a berth to the National Championships. Regardless of where he ends up, it will be an invaluable experience for him heading into his junior and senior seasons. We look for him to do quite well."

Other Eagle runners who competed last year in Stanford were Barton (155th, 33:42.65), Vaux (169th, 35:08.71) and Bradwell (170th, 35:14.98).

As a team, EWU finished fifth out of nine teams at the BSC Championships. Other placers for the Eagle men included Vaux (29th, 27:11.7), Sorensen (39th, 27:57.2), Barton (41st, 28:03.1), Curnutt (48th, 28:22.6) and Bradwell (51st, 28:24.9).

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