By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country schedule for the 2018 season has been released by Head Coach Matt McGuirk. The schedule includes the 44th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational that the Bearcats will host on Sept. 29. Overall, the schedule includes five regular season meets followed by the Northwest Conference Championships, the NCAA Division III West Regional, and hopefully, the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Bearcats will be seeking their 26th NWC team championship in men's cross country as well as their 11th NWC team title in women's cross country. Willamette has won six consecutive NWC men's titles (2012-17). The Bearcats most recently earned NWC women's championships in 2013 and 2014.
Willamette has consistently been represented by teams or individuals at the NCAA Championships. Last year, senior Hannah Swanson (Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS), junior Keith Carlson (Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) and sophomore Michael Montague (San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) competed at the NCAA Championships. Carlson, now a senior, and Montague, now a junior, are back to lead the Willamette men's team.
This year, the Bearcats will open the season at the Ash Creek Preserve Invitational, hosted by Western Oregon University on Friday, Sept. 7. The first race is set for 5 p.m. (PDT).
Up next will be a trip to the Augsburg University Invitational in Bloomington, Minnesota. The meet will be held at the Highland Greens Golf Course on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The 44th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational with the Men's Cardinal 8-kilometer race will begin at 9:30 a.m. (PDT) on Sept. 29 , followed by the Women's Cardinal 5-kilometer race. The Cardinal races will include teams from all three NCAA divisions. The meet will conclude with the Gold races for NAIA and two-year college teams, plus club teams and unattached runners. The Men's Gold 8-kilometer race will be held before the Women's Gold 5-kilometer race.
Willamette runners will represent the Bearcats at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin. Willamette has competed at this large and prestigious meet several times in recent seasons. This year, the Lake Breeze Golf Course also will host the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Bearcats' schedule for Oct. 13 also includes the Lewis & Clark Invitational at McIver Park in Estacada, Oregon.
Willamette will defend its six consecutive men's titles and will go after another women's title at the Northwest Conference Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27. Lewis & Clark College will host the meet at McIver Park just two weeks after the L&C Invitational. All nine NWC men's and women's teams are expected to compete.
The NCAA Division III West Regional is set for Saturday, Nov. 10 at Veterans Memorial Golf Course in Walla Walla, Washington. Whitman College will be the host.
On Nov. 17, teams and individuals who have qualified for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will compete for national titles in Winneconne, Wisconsin. Qualifying for the NCAA Championships is determined by performances during NCAA regional competition.