SEATTLE – Summer is seemingly still in full swing in Seattle this week, so the Sundodger Invitational may have to work extra hard this Saturday to live up to its name. Hopefully the sun will break through again and the trees of West Seattle’s Lincoln Park will be providing shade from the sun rather than shelter from the rain. The Washington men’s and women’s cross country teams will be out to kick off the season in earnest, looking to defend their Sundodger titles against the region’s top teams.
Over the past few years, the Sundodger Invitational has expanded to include not just the Northwest’s top college teams, but also standout local high school teams as well. Saturday’s schedule features a total of eight races, four college races and four high school competitions. The first college race is at 9 a.m. and the final race of the day goes off at 1:30 p.m. In-between, the women’s invitational race featuring the Huskies starts at 11 a.m., with the men’s invitational race following at 11:35 a.m.
The Sundodger Invitational has been held every year since 1992, making this the 22nd installment. Washington has swept the men's and women's races for the past six years, but only four of the previous 15 installments were swept by the Dawgs.
For the first time in several years, Washington State will be making the trip west to match up against the Huskies in this season-opener. Also competing in the invitational races both men and women will be Gonzaga, Idaho, Seattle U., Eastern Washington, and just on the women’s side Oregon State and the University of British Columbia will also lace up the spikes. The open college races feature many more local small colleges and running clubs.
To reach the park in West Seattle, take the West Seattle Bridge exit off of I-5 North or South. As you head into West Seattle take a right onto Fauntleroy Way and follow signs to the Vashon Ferry Terminal. Lincoln Park is along the right side of Fauntleroy Way hanging over Puget Sound.
Washington’s lineups for Saturday remain in flux and subject to change, but many of UW’s top returners are expected to compete either in uniform or unattached. For the fifth-ranked Husky women, All-Americans Katie Flood and Megan Goethals could both line up for action on Saturday, along with senior Justine Johnson and Liberty Miller and top-seven veterans Eleanor Fulton and Maddie Meyers. Freshmen Katie Knight, Haley Suarez, and Kaylee Flanagan are expected to make their official Husky debuts as well.
The men could be about evenly split between attached and unattached runners, but expect veterans Tyler King, Aaron Beattie, and Aaron Nelson to be on the line, along with Meron Simon in his first cross country race since 2011. Washington’s large group of newcomers will likely compete mostly unattached, though freshman Andrew Gardner and sophomore transfer Jacob Smith are expected to run in uniform.