By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
BROOKS, Ore. -- The Willamette University men's cross country team won its fifth straight Northwest Conference championship, and Olivia Mancl (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) of Willamette earned her second consecutive NWC women's title, during the 2016 NWC Championships at Willamette Mission State Park on Saturday, Oct. 29. Mancl helped the Bearcat women's team place second in the team standings.
Willamette repeated as the men's champion with a score of 36 points. All of the Bearcats' top five runners were in the top 12 in the 8-kilometer race (2-6-8-9-11). Pacific Lutheran University was second at 81 and Whitman College was third at 90.
Whitworth University placed fourth at 118, with Lewis & Clark College in fifth at 132. George Fox University was sixth at 138, one point in front of University of Puget Sound in seventh at 139. Linfield College was eighth at 161 and Pacific University placed ninth at 272.
Patrick Loftus (Jr., Santa Rosa, CA/Sonoma Academy) led the Bearcats with a second place finish in 25:30.3, as he missed his personal record by just 2.3 seconds. Michael Montague (Fr., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) was fifth at 25:56.8. Loftus and Montague received First Team All-NWC recognition.
Keith Carlson (So., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) of Willamette was eighth in 26:06.1, and Ryan Morris-McDermott (So., Orinda, CA/Miramonte HS) was ninth in 26:11.2. Ricardo Castillo-Flores (So./Jr., Hood River, OR/Parkdale HS) placed 11th in 26:15.0. Ross Enlow (Fr., Unalaska, AK/Unalaska HS) took 14th place in 26:22.3. Carlson, Morris-McDermott, Castillo-Flores, and Enlow all gained Second Team All-NWC honors.
Head Coach Matt McGuirk of Willamette was named NWC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the fifth season in a row and the 12th time since 2001.
The individual men's champion was Brad Hodkinson of PLU with a time of 24:56.3. He was named NWC Men's Runner of the Year. After Loftus placed second, Blake Slattengren of L&C was third in 25:34.6, Liam Monheim of L&C was fourth in 25:40.9, and Grant Bingham of Whitworth placed fifth in 25:55.4.
In the women's 6-kilometer race, it was the fourth year in a row that Mancl earned First Team All-NWC recognition in cross country. She placed seventh in 2013 and was second in 2014, before winning her first title last year. Manc' was named NWC Women's Runner of the Year for the second season in a row.
Mancl's winning time on Saturday was 20:53.8, as she set a personal record and move from third up to second on Willamette's all-time list. She lowered her personal-best time by 25.43 seconds from 21:17.23 at last year's AAE Invitational in Wisconsin.
Hannah Swanson (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) took third place for the Bearcats. She completed the course in 22:11.4 to set a personal record. She improved on her previous top time of 22:17.0 at the 2015 AAE Invitational.
Ami Boucher (Sr., Concord, CA/Northgate HS) joined Mancl and Swanson as a First Team All-NWC selection. She placed seventh with a time of 22:28.1, which gave her a new personal record. Entering the race, her career-best time was 22:48.2 at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
Whitworth edge out the Bearcats to win the women's team title with a score of 42 (2-4-5-12-19). Willamette was second with a score of 51 (1-3-7-17-23).
Linfield placed third at 105, Puget Sound took fourth at 129 in a tiebreaker with Lewis & Clark, which also finished at 129. Sixth place went to Whitman at 130, while Pacific placed seventh at 155. George Fox was eighth at 157 and Pacific took ninth at 272.
In addition to Mancl and Swanson, the top 5 runners in the women's race included Kayla Leland of Whitworth in second, Allison Wood of Whitworth in fourth, and Bailey Scott of Whitworth in fifth. Leland was timed at 21:14.4, while Wood earned a time of 22:12.6 and Scott crossed the finish line in 22:13.0.
The Bearcats will host the NCAA West Regional at Bush's Pasture Park on Saturday, Nov. 12. The first race is set for 10 a.m. (PST).