WALLA WALLA — Skye Pauly crossed the finish line first at the annual Whitman Invitational Saturday at the Whitman Athletic Fields, leading the Missionary women to a 23-36 cross country victory over Eastern Oregon University. The Mountaineers topped the Whitman men 22-33 in a tightly bunched finish.
The meet was moved to the Athletic Fields from Whitman’s normal home course, Fort Walla Walla Park, due to damage suffered from Thursday night’s storm.
Pauly took control of the race after the first of three laps around the complex. She finished the 6-kilometer course in 24:24.91. Just 26 seconds behind, in third place, was teammate Julia Hart who clocked a 24:50.43. EOU’s Sasha Gonzalez finished second in 24:40.92.
Whitman’s Ziggy Lanman took fifth (25:05.98) and Emily Williams sixth (25:11:40) to seal the victory for Whitman. Carolyn Erving rounded out the top five for Whitman, finishing eighth (25:36.81).
“Skye Pauly had a wonderful race for us,” Whitman Coach Scott Shields said. “It was a really fun race to watch because it was our first 6K of the year and we wanted to be a little bit conservative at the beginning of the race, and then based on how you felt in the middle of the race, you could start stretching out. And I thought our runners ran the race very well. I couldn’t be more pleased with how we finished — not just our top five but also, our six through 15.”
In the men’s race, Eastern’s Kody Shriver and Isaac Updike pulled away from the pack in the later stages to finish one-two and lead the Mountaineers to the win. Shriver won in 27:31.67, with Updike second in 27:31.93. Whitman’s T.C. Heydon was third in 27:57.14. Heydon’s teammate Alex Waheed was fourth with a time of 27:58.51. The Mountaineers took fifth and sixth place. Whitman’s Caleb Moosman placed seventh in 28:21.57. Eastern’s Carlos Hernandez finished in the eighth spot to secure EOU’s win.
Missionaries took ninth and 10th as Colin Domonoske finished ninth in 28:35.09 and Matt Wotipka rounded out the Whitman scoring with his 10th place run in 28:37.08.
“T.C. Heydon, again, ran a quality race for us,” Shields said. “The next seven runners were a pretty tight pack. That is what we’re going to (need) to have to be successful in our conference.”
The Missionaries compete in the University of Washington Invitational Saturday.