Willamette Wins Northwest Conference Women's Cross Country Championship

2018 NWC Women's Cross Country Champions from Willamette University
2018 NWC Women's Cross Country Champions from Willamette University

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

ESTACADA, Ore. -- Willamette University placed all five of its scoring runners in the top 15, as the Bearcat women's team won the 2018 Northwest Conference Women's Cross Country Championship with a team score of 53 on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Milo McIver State Park. Whitworth University was second with a score of 60 and Whitman College took third at 62. It was Willamette's 11th NWC women's cross country title and the first since claiming back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014.

The top two Bearcats finished close together in fifth and sixth place during the 6-kilometer women's race. Emily Evans (Sr., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS) placed fifth place in 23:29.3. Kyla Shade (Jr., Snohomish, WA/Snohomish HS) of Willamette was sixth in 23:29.6. WU's counting scores were 5-6-13-14-15 (53). Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk was chosen as the NWC Women's Coach of the Year for the sixth time.

For the Willamette men's team, Keith Carlson (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) missed winning the individual title by just 0.3 and took second place with a time of 25:39.4 on the 8-kilometer course. Colin Monaghan from University of Puget Sound won the individual championship in 25:39.1. Michael Montague (Jr., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) of Willamette was third in 26:03.0. Carlson and Montague repeated at First Team All-NWC selections. The Bearcat men's team placed fifth.

"Our guys team went out there with a good mindset and we were ready to fight. I'm very proud of the women's team," Carlson said. "I am very happy with my race. I made my move into first place with two kilometers to go, but Colin of Puget Sound reeled me in. We went into the last 100 meters side-by-side and I gave it all that I had. Even though I did not win, getting the experience of fighting with another very good runner all the way to the end was invaluable."

Marissa Mount from Whitworth took the women's individual title with a time of 22:17.7. She won by 15.3 seconds over Courtney Beard of Linfield, who finished second in 22:33.0. Serena Wallace of Pacific University was third in 23:09.1 and Krystal Roberts of Whitworth was fourth in 23:16.6.

The women's team standings behind Willamette, Whitworth and Whitman, included Pacific in fourth place at 99 and Puget Sound in fifth place at 119. Pacific Lutheran University took sixth place at 152, with George Fox University in seventh at 172, Linfield in eighth at 183 and Lewis & Clark College in ninth at 218.

Also placing in the top 15 for the Bearcats were Hazel Carr (Sr., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School), Maggie Chapin (Jr., Buffalo, WY/Buffalo HS) and Audrey Piacsek (Fr., Ellensburg, WA/Ellensburg HS). Carr placed 13th after completing the course in 24:03.5. Chapin was 14th in 24:04.5 and Piacsek placed 15th in 24:08.7. The top seven finishers, including Evans and Shade, were named First Team All-NWC. The runners placing eighth through 14th, including Carr and Chapin, were chosen Second Team All-NWC.

The NWC men's team championship was shared by Pacific Lutheran and George Fox, as both teams earned scores of 74. PLU's scores were 6-9-12-19-28, while GFU finished at 7-11-17-18-21. Whitworth took third in the team standings at 88. Other competing teams were Puget Sound in fourth at 103, Willamette in fifth at 117, Whitman in sixth at 120, Pacific in seventh at 158 and Lewis & Clark in eighth at 183. Linfield did not enter a full men's team.

Willamette's men's scorers included Carlson, Montague, Cayce Reese (So., Louisville, CO/Monarch HS), Carson Herrick (Fr., Newberg, OR/Newberg HS), and Robbie Melhorn (Sr., Bangkok, Thailand/International School Bangkok). Reese was timed at 28:00.9, while Herrick registered a time of 28:47.8 and Melhorn reached the finish line in 29:03.6.

Following Monaghan, Carlson and Montague in the men's race was Eli Fournier of Whitman in fourth place at 26:09.0. Sean Richardson from Lewis & Clark College was fifth in 26:20.4.

The Bearcats will compete again on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the NCAA West Regional in Walla Walla, Washington. The meet will be held at Veterans Memorial Golf Course.

Keith Carlson (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS)

Big Moment of the Meet for Willamette

Keith Carlson placed second at the NWC Cross Country
Championships for the second year in a row. His time this
weekend over the 8-kilometer course was 25:39.4. He
was second by just 0.3. Prior to earning First Team All-NWC
honors the past two seasons, Carlson was named Second
Team All-NWC twice after placing 1Oth at the NWC meet
in 2015 and finishing eighth in 2016.