By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications, (503) 370-6110
WINNECONNE, Wis. -- Willamette University runners Keith Carlson (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) and Michael Montague (Jr., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) are ready to compete at the 2018 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Lake Breeze Golf Club. The men's 8-kilometer championship race is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. (CST)/10:15 a.m. (PST).
Carlson and Montague earned individual bids to the NCAA Championships after outstanding efforts at the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 10 in Walla Walla, Washington. Carlson took fourth place out of 110 runners in the 8-kilometer men's race with a time of 25:05.4. He finished just 1.3 seconds out of third place and only 16.4 seconds out of first place. Montague followed closely behind Carlson, as he completed the course in fifth place at 25:09.6.
The two Bearcat runners received their individual bids by placing among the top seven runners at the West Regional who were not on full teams selected for the NCAA Championships. Carlson and Montague qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second season in a row. Last year, Montague placed 165th and Carlson was 188th out of 279 runners at the NCAA Championships in Elsah, Illinois.
In addition to being teammates, Carlson and Montague are very good friends. Read their comments about running together as part of the story about the NCAA West Regional.
Each championship race (women's 6k, men's 8k) will include 32 teams and about 280 runners. The top 40 finishers in each race will earn All-America honors. Carlson and Montague both received All-West Region recognition last weekend. They also earned First Team All-Northwest Conference when Carlson placed second in 25:39.4 and Montague grabbed fourth place at 26:03.0 in the men's 8-kilometer race at the NWC Championships on Oct. 27.
Carlson's career-best time for an 8-kilometer race is 24:46.9 which he set this season on Sept. 29 at the 44th Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational. Montague also registered his career-best time of 24:51.4 at this year's Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational.
It is the 20th consecutive season that the Bearcats will have one or more runners competing at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.