By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) of Willamette University will join teammates Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) and Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) at the 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Elsah, Illinois.
Swanson and Carlson clinched their bids to the NCAA Championships following initial results from the NCAA West Region Championships on Nov. 11. Swanson was sixth in the women's 6-kilometer race with a time of 21:57.52, while Carlson placed 15th in the men's 8-kilometer race by reaching the finish line in 25:52.52.
The top two men's teams and the top two women's teams in each of the eight NCAA regions received automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. The Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) and University of California, Santa Cruz men's teams as well as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) and Whitworth University women's teams earned automatic bids.
After team at-large bids were announced on Sunday, the top seven individual runners in each regional race who were not on a qualifying team received individual bids to compete.
While Swanson and Carlson were already guaranteed to be in the national field, Montague did not know if he would qualify until the team at-large bids were announced. With Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Occidental College (Calif.) qualifying as men's at-large teams, three individual berths were freed up. Montague was one of the three athletes who replaced CMS and Occidental runners on the individual list. Montague took 18th place in the men's race at the West Region Championships in 26:05.99.
No at-large bids went to women's teams in the West Region, leaving CMS and Whitworth as the Region's only complete women's teams to qualify.
In addition to Carlson and Montague, other individual qualifiers from the West Region in men's cross country were Brad Hodkinson from Pacific Lutheran University, Julien Sandoval from Whittier College (Calif.), Eli Fournier from Whitman College, Timothy Kahovec of California Lutheran University, and Joseph Esparza from University of Redlands (Calif.). Hodkinson, who took second place in the West Region men's race, was the top finisher among the individual qualifiers.
Swanson was joined by six runenrs on the list of indvidiual qualifiers from the West Region in women's cross country. The other qualifiers were Lauren Hamilton from Pomona-Pitzer, Maria Ramirez from Redlands, Julissa Tobias of Whittier, Courtney Beard and Kaelia Neal from Linfield, and Helen Guo of Pomona-Pitzer.
Each race at the NCAA Championships at the North Farm Cross Country Facility next weekend will include 32 teams and approximately 280 runners. The men's 8-kilometer race will be held at 11 a.m. CST/9 a.m. PST. The women's 6-kilometer race is set to begin at 12:15 p.m. CST/10:15 a.m. PST. Principia College (Ill.) is hosting the NCAA Championships.