On March 4th, Camas High School Senior Sam Geiger committed to run cross country and track for Gonzaga University.
Other schools on his list were Washington State University, the University of Washington, and Boise State University.
Geiger will become teammates with three former Papermakers, Yacine Guermali, David Connell, and Jackson Lyne. On Monday, March 15th, these guys will compete in the NCAA Cross Country National Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma for the first time in program history.
Geiger said, “This is the first time that they’ve ever qualified for nationals as a team, so it’s nice that I’m walking into that.”
Guermali is one of the Zag’s top runners as a junior. Geiger is inspired by his work ethic and determination to get better.
“He (Guermali) was determined to keep improving and improving. I kind of have that same aspect too, where I just want to get better each and every day,” he said.
The culture of Gonzaga’s program stood out above the rest in Geiger’s mind. He really likes the coaching staff and is super excited to continue his running career in Spokane.
“The culture he’s (Head Coach Pat Tyson) created there is amazing. It’s loyal, everybody talks to each other if they have an issue or something. He’s really a great coach.”
Tyson commented on his newest pickup from Mill City.
“We got another Papermaker,” Tyson said. “Really like this strong young man out of Camas! Sammy has a mix of great speed and endurance. He’s one of the best young talented runners in the Pacific Northwest. He is so pumped to wear the Gonzaga jersey and help the Zags to continue chasing excellence as a runner, student, and champion in the community!”
Running is in Geiger’s blood. His mother Sherrie ran cross country and track at the University of Idaho. She had a very successful career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame there. His brother Shane also ran cross country and track for CHS.
Geiger’s mother played an instrumental role in his training and recruiting process by passing down her knowledge.
“She was honestly always there for me. If I was going through a rough patch in my running career she would give me confidence, saying you just got to move on and go to the next race,” he said.
Geiger added, “My parents said to visualize where I can fit in the best and how the coach can help me.”
Current and former CHS cross country and track teammates commented on Geiger’s recent commitment.
Austin Weese, a Freshman cross country and track runner at Seattle Pacific University, said, “I was pretty excited to hear that he committed to Gonzaga. I felt like Gonzaga was a really good fit for him, and they have a growing team with lots of potential.”
Weese added, “I’m super excited to see the future of Gonzaga’s running program. The team has been developing super well over the past years, and they just made it to cross country nationals for the first time this year. I truly believe that Sam will help contribute to Gonzaga’s future success and keep their current momentum rolling.”
CHS Junior Evan Jenkins, “As a teammate Sam is very supportive as he always pushes me to be my best and it’s not gonna be the same without him. I’m sure Gonzaga is gonna take him very far in running cause they just went to nationals for the first time and they’ve got an amazing team with a coach that will push him to his best.”
Jenkins added, “His commitment will have a huge impact here at Camas cause he’s a big asset to the team but I’m sure at Gonzaga he’ll be a great fit and very impactful in the future.”
CHS Senior Connor Hayward, “He’s a really good teammate, he’s the guy that you wanna be with if you wanna get better. I bet he’ll be near the top within a couple of years at Gonzaga.”
CHS Mitchell Hayward, “I think his commitment has continued the trend of Camas runners going to Gonzaga and will hopefully inspire the younger guys to get to his level.”
CHS Junior Carson Frawley said, “When I saw Sam committed to Gonzaga, I was extremely happy for him. He’s battled through several tough injuries and has still been able to put out some impressive times. It takes a lot of focus and drive to get through that, and Sam is someone who has that. He will fit in great there at Gonzaga. They’re a rising program right now. No one deserves it more than him!”
CHS Senior Camryn Mock said, “To see any teammate go to the next level with a high school sport and continue to college, is always very encouraging to others to show people there is something to look forward to as a goal.”
Weese offered some advice to Geiger about the transition to college running.
“My best advice would probably be to stay consistent with training. The mileage increase can feel pretty overwhelming at times, but the results will come if you stick with it.”
Geiger has been nursing a stress fracture in his right femur for the past month or so, which will sideline him for CHS’s entire cross country season. He hopes to be back to one-hundred percent for track season in April.
After his junior track season was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Geiger is hungrier than ever to improve his times. His personal record time for the mile is 4:15 and he wants to get 4:10 by the end of the season.
Geiger is planning to study business administration at Gonzaga and is excited to call Spokane home for the next four years. He also is looking forward to watching the currently number one ranked Bulldogs basketball team for years to come.