The Oregon State cross-country team returns to action for the first time in three weeks with a trip to California for Friday’s NCAA Inter-Regional Jamboree.
Sacramento State is hosting the meet at Haggin Oaks Golf Course. It serves as a West Regional preview, which is later this fall on Nov. 15. The women’s 5-kilometer run begins at 10:30 a.m.
“I want to get some confidence out of it and be able to compete in a field that has a lot more depth to it,” OSU assistant coach Laura Harmon said. “It’s a bigger field too because so far we’ve been in pretty small meets.”
OSU’s lineup features Kinsey Gomez, Emily Weber, Holly Cavalluzzo, Sandra Martinez, Kristiane Width, Taylor Nowlin, Kira Kelly, Aly Nielson and Adrienne Demaree.
The Beavers are currently ranked No. 7 in the West Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, their highest position in the polls in five years. The six schools ahead of OSU are all nationally ranked with the top four from the Pac-12.
The 19 teams competing are more than double the seven that were entered the last time the Beavers raced at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle on Sept. 14. In that meet, OSU finished second only to host Washington, currently ranked No. 7 nationally.
“It’s always about beating as many people as you can in a race,” Harmon said about the size of the field. “A bigger field gives you more people to run with and to try and move up with. Last time out for example, Sandra (Martinez) was in a really big gap between two groups and ended up running the majority of the race alone. In races like Friday, you probably aren’t going to have that same type of situation.”
Gomez, who in Seattle on Sept. 14 finished just one second shy of the school record on a 6K course, will be a runner to watch. The Haggin Oaks 5K course is flat and well-maintained and consists of an outer and inner horseshoe layout.
The Beavers will also send another group to the Charles Bowles Invitational on Saturday at Willamette University in Salem. The women’s 5K for Division I entries begins at 10:15 a.m.