Idaho’s Hannah Kiser has finished first or second in seven major cross country meets including a first-place finish in the 2011 Dellinger Invitational in Eugene, Ore. With a high school runner, Alexa Efraimson from Camas, Wash., beating out the collegiate field in the 2013 edition of the race, Kiser could have potentially added another Dellinger win to her name had she competed. So why didn’t Kiser compete in the 2013 Dellinger Invitational?
“With our approach to the season and really the emphasis on the later meets, we feel like we’ll hold her off just a little bit,” Idaho coach Wayne Phipps said. “I think in the past she’s had such great performances in the middle part of the season and then not maintained that level towards the end. So we’re doing everything we can to make sure that for conference, regionals and ultimately NCAAs she’s going to be at her very best and at her peak.”
With Kiser out of the picture for the Vandal women’s cross country team, sophomore Halie Raudenbush led the way to a 20th overall finish with a time of 17 minutes, 36 seconds on Saturday. Her time was 24 spots lower and nearly a minute faster than her time last season. It also moves Raudenbush to No. 2 in the WAC at the 5-kilometer distance.
“We ran without a couple of our top people which obviously would have made a little bit of a difference,” Phipps said. “I was pleased with the way the team still finished despite not having Hannah Kiser there.”
The Vandal women finished the meet sixth overall. Phipps said the meet had mixed results.
“We had a handful of people perform very well and then a few people that were a little bit behind where they’d expected (to be),” he said.
On the men’s side, junior Cody Helbling finished first for the Vandals with his 34th place of 25:01 in the men’s 8-kilometer race. The men’s team finished seventh overall.
Phipps said the men’s team started out too aggressive which is easy to do in an elite field.
“It was a great competitive atmosphere, there’s a lot of fans, it was a really exciting meet to attend,” Phipps said. “It’s one of those meets that’s really going to prepare you well for down the road. The competition that we see (in Dellinger) is similar to what we’ll see in the West Regional and definitely help us at the (WAC) conference meet as well.”
Next up for the Vandals is a split at the Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the Inland Empire Championships in Lewiston, both on Saturday, Oct. 19.