Eagles Head to NCAA West Regional Championships

Nov. 11, 2008

Paul Limpf, Alex Smyth and the rest of the Eastern Washington University men’s cross country team will compete Saturday (Nov. 15) in Stanford, Calif., at the NCAA West Regionals.

The men’s 10,000-meter race begins at noon Pacific time. Prior to that, Amber Nickelson will represent the Eagles in the 6,000-meter race at 11 a.m.

Limpf and Smyth earned All-Big Sky Conference honors after finishing in the top 10 at the BSC Championships on Nov. 1. They have a chance to qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships Nov. 24 in Terre Haute, Ind.

"Paul is going into regionals with a solid year behind him," said head cross country coach Chris Zeller. "Four individuals go on to the NCAA Championships and Paul has a great resume for one of those spots. However, resumes don't mean a whole lot come race day. You have to perform your best on that given day. Alex also has a shot at one of those four spots and has really stepped up this year in cross country. If he's on, there's no telling what he can do."

The top two teams and four individuals from each race will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. In addition, individuals around the country are competing for 13 at-large berths. Those berths will be awarded based on the season-long points system developed by the NCAA, with priority toward top regional placers. Historically, the West Region has received several at-large bids.

Last year at West Regionals, the Eastern men finished 14th and the women were 18th. Limpf was the top male finisher in 45th with a time of 31:17.40. In 2006, he was 53rd with a time of 31:49.91.

Other Eastern male finishers at West Regionals last season competing in this year’s meet were Smyth (71st, 32:01.70), Graham Vaux (112th, 32:59.15) and Tyler Justice (138th, 33:49.95). Eastern’s other regional entrants this year are Kyle King, Cody Barton and Cody Bradwell.

In last year’s women’s race at the West Regionals, Nickelson finished 118th with a time of 22:37.25. In 2006, she was 107th with a time of 23:39.91.

"Amber has had a solid year and would like to go out her senior year on top," said Zeller. "She has had a great summer and season of training and is poised to do well."

At the BSC Championships on Nov. 1, the men had a best-ever third place finish after finishing seventh last year. The women were seventh after having a best-ever finish of fourth last season.

Limpf had a time of 23:34.9 to finish fourth in the 8,000-meter men’s race at the BSC Championships. Limpf earned All-Big Sky honors three years in a row after finishing fifth in 2007 with a time of 24:34.1 and seventh in 2006.

Smyth finished sixth with a time of 23:47.6 to also earn All-BSC honors. Last season he was 13th with a time of 25:08.2.

Other Eastern men’s finishers at the BSC Championships were King (15th, 24:34.1), Justice (38th, 25:42.5), Bradwell (42nd, 25:53.7), Barton (44th, 25.57.9), Vaux (46th, 26:04.9) and Bowe Ebding (56th, 26:35.0).

For the women, Nickelson finished 16th with a time of 17:53.8 at the conference meet. Last year, she was 26th with a time of 19:04.1.

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