Gonzaga cross country, track and field programs ranked top-5 in region

Gu Photo Generic
Copyright: 4 News Now

SPOKANE, Wash. — Both the Gonzaga men’s and women’s cross country programs are in the top-5 rankings in the West region.

The men’s and women’s programs are ranked No. 3 and No. 4 respectively in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) Regional Rankings.

The women’s program finished second in the WCC Championships and fourth in the NCAA West Regionals last year. They were one of the first teams out for an at-large bid to compete at the NCAA Championships. They were also No. 3 in the region last fall after those competitions, which is a program-high.

GU will see five of its top seven runners from the 2021 roster return this year, including star runner Kristen Garcia, who has competed in three nationals. They are also adding six first-year collegiate runners and two transfers, one of which is Oregon transfer Caramia Mestler, who also has experience running in the NCAA championships.

The men’s program had their second-straight NCAA appearance as a team last season. All-American runner James Mwaura leads a veteran group of runners, bringing back five runners who hold the 10 fastest times in program history for the 8K and 10K run. Six of their top seven runners from nationals will be returning to the roster also. Mwaura is the program record holder for the 8K and the 10K run.

The men’s program’s No. 3 regional ranking is tied-highest in program history.

Both teams will start their seasons at the Clash of the Inland Northwest event in Cheney on Thursday. The men will be racing at 9 a.m., with the women running at 9:45 a.m.

You can follow their seasons on Twitter and Instagram. You can also go here to learn more about the programs.

READ: Holmgren has successful surgery after suffering season-ending injury