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Pac-12, WCC cross country championships in area this weekend

The Pac-12 and West Coast conferences are converging on eastern Washington this weekend to hold their respective cross country championships.

Featuring the two-time defending national champion Colorado men’s team and five ranked women’s teams, Washington State is hosting the meet today, which will be held the Colfax Golf Club.

The Pac-12 women’s competition includes No. 3 Colorado, No. 5 Oregon, No. 10 Stanford, No. 12 Washington and No. 19 Utah.

Along with No. 1 Colorado in the men’s race, are No. 3 Oregon, No. 15 UCLA, No. 20 Washington, No. 21 California and No. 23 Stanford.

Saturday, Gonzaga is hosting the WCC championships, marking only the second time the event has been held outside of California.

The conference will now rotate the championships for women’s and men’s cross country. The event Saturday at Plantes Ferry Park is also the first time Gonzaga has hosted a conference championship of any kind since the 2006 basketball conference championships.

“We have such a great running community, and the support for putting on the event is second to none,” said Pat Tyson, director of GU cross country, in a news release. “I just know that the teams coming into compete are going to love the venue, rain or shine. We’re so pumped to see all the alumni and friends of our program go crazy.”

The forecast calls for a high of 54 and a 90 percent chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service. The women’s race starts at 10 a.m. and the men’s race follows at 10:45.

The BYU men enter the meet ranked fourth in the country. Portland’s men are ranked sixth in the region, followed by San Francisco at 10th and Gonzaga 12th.

The GU women were picked fourth in the preseason poll and enter the conference championships as league’s second-highest regionally ranked team at No. 7 behind BYU, which is ranked No. 14 in the national poll.

“The competition sets up to be tremendous this weekend, with almost every team having women who can be in the top 10, even top-five individual competitors,” said Gonzaga women’s coach Patty Ley. “It is awesome to be able to host the WCC championships and showcase our beautiful region and facilities.”

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