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Cross Country

High hopes for new season

29 Th11 2021 | 09:12

The Grand Canyon cross country men’s and women’s teams will compete at the Silver State Collegiate Challenge in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday for the first time since the 2019 season. With added talent from the 2020 signees, the Lopes are eager to start competing again.

“I am really excited to race for cross country again,” said head coach Sara Slattery. “It’s been about 15 months since our athletes have been able to race for cross country, and we are so grateful for this opportunity. We have five weeks until our conference meet, so this meet will give us a good idea of where we are.”

The race will be broken up into six individual races to adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The men’s team will compete in the first race of the day starting at 8am, followed by the women’s team racing at 9am. The men will run an 8,000-meter race and the women will run 6,000-meters in a 2,000-meter loop at Craigs Ranch race course.

On the men’s side, the Lopes will race with eleven of their athletes, including redshirt sophomore Jacob Lewis, who was a consistent top performer on the men’s team last season. Also competing, for their first collegiate meet, are Cannon AngottiBraedon Palmer, and Luke Wentz.

“Our men have been working very hard during COVID-19,” adds Slattery. “We have a strong group lead by Jacob Lewis and Blake Bennett, but to be honest it’s hard to predict who will be in what order with this group. Landon RastJoseph SkoogBraedon PalmerCannon Angotti, and Rylan Stubbs are all a tight pack, and can easily interchange places. It will be good to see them race as a team.”

The women’s team is limited to five competitors because of COVID-19 precautions. Racing tomorrow are senior Mckayla Cordova, junior Ana Alvarez Tostado, and sophomores Kourtney DelperdangWoodlyn Smith, and Brooke Wallace.

“We are missing several of our women,” said Slattery. “Our younger group is eager to get rolling, but cannot travel with the team for this meet due to COVID-19 protocols. Our women’s group is lead by Mckayla Cordova, Ana Alvarez Tostado, and Brooke Wallace, three of our women on our conference team last year.”

Following the UNLV Invitational, the Lopes will travel back to Las Vegas for another meet on Feb. 19, before their WAC Championships on Feb. 27.