Bearcats are Ready to Run at NCAA West Regional in Walla Walla, Washington

Emily Evans (Sr., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS)
Emily Evans (Sr., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country teams are set for this weekend's 2018 NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country Championships, which will be held at Veterans Memorial Golf Course in Walla Walla, Washington, on Saturday, Nov. 10. Action will get underway with the women's 6-kilometer race at 9 a.m. (PST). The men's 8-kilometer race will start at 10 a.m. (PST). Whitman College is hosting the West Region Championships.

Women's 6-kilometer Race Preview

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) is the #1 ranked women's team in the West Region rankings released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Athenas recently won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship with a team score of 34 (4-5-6-8-11).

CMS is ranked #15 in the NCAA Division III National Coaches' Poll. Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.), which earned second place at the SCIAC Championships with a score of 56, is ranked #2 in the West Region and is #20 in the NCAA Division III Poll.

Helen Guo from Pomona-Pitzer won the SCIAC's individual championship with a time of 22:59.3. Lila Gardillo, also from Pomona-Pitzer, was second in 23:27.7, and Maria Ramirez from University of Redlands was third at 23:29.0. Fourth place went to Abby Johnson of CMS with a time of 23:29.2. Malea Martin of CMS was fifth in 23:34.2.

The top finishers in the women's 6-kilometer race at the Northwest Conference Championships also will challenge for top places at the West Region Meet. Marissa Mount from Whitworth University won the individual championship after completing the race in 22:17.7. Courtney Beard from Linfield College was second in 22:33.0, and Serena Wallace of Pacific University placed third in 23:09.1

Krystal Roberts of Whitworth was fourth in the NWC at 23:16.6, while Emily Evans (Sr., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS) from Willamette was fifth at 23:29.3. Kyla Shade (Jr., Snohomish, WA/Snohomish HS) of Willamette took sixth place in 23:29.6.

Willamette won the NWC Championship in women's cross country with a score of 53 (5-6-13-14-15). The Bearcats prevailed by seven points over Whitworth, which placed second with a score of 60. Whitman College was third at 62.

CMS and Pomona-Pitzer are followed on the West Region women's rankings by University of California, Santa Cruz at #3 and Occidental College (Calif.) at #4. Redlands is ranked #5. Willamette is listed at #6, an improvement of three spots after winning the Bearcats' 11th NWC women's cross country title. Colorado College holds the #7 ranking, with Whitworth at #8, Whitman at #9 and Pacific at #10.

Colorado College placed second at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships with a score of 36. Megan Koch was fourth in the individual standings at 23:30.84

Men's 8-Kilometer Race Preview

The top men's team in the West Region rankings released by the USTFCCCA is Pomona-Pitzer. The Sagehens won the SCIAC Championship with a score of 23 (1-4-5-6-7). Pomona-Pitzer is ranked #11 in the NCAA Division III National Coaches' Poll. Occidental took second place in the SCIAC after achieving a score of 74. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was third at 81.

Andy Reischling won his second consecutive SCIAC individual championship with a time of 25:52.6. He was 13th in the SCIAC as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore, before claiming his first SCIAC title in 2017. Benjamin White from Whittier College placed second in the SCIAC this year in 26:11.2. Thomas Robertson of Occidental was third in 26:29.1.

Owen Woo from Pomona-Pitzer was fourth at 26:34.8. Ethan Widlansky, also from Pomona-Pitzer, was fifth at 26:39.3.

The Northwest Conference will be represented by several top runners in the men's 8-kilometer race on Saturday. At the NWC Championships on Oct. 27, freshman Colin Monaghan from University of Puget Sound took first place in 25:39.1. He narrowly edged out Keith Carlson (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) of Willamette, who finished second at 25:39.4. Michael Montague (Jr., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) of Willamette was third in 26:03.0.

Eli Fournier from Whitman took fourth place at 26:09.0. Sean Richardson of Lewis & Clark College was fifth at 26:20.4.

Pacific Lutheran University and George Fox University tied for the NWC Championship in men's cross country with scores of 74. PLU placed 6-9-12-19-28, while GFU finished 7-11-17-18-21.

Following Pomona-Pitzer in the men's West Region rankings is UC Santa Cruz at #2. Occidental is ranked #3, with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at #4. Pacific Lutheran is #5, George Fox holds the #6 ranking, and Redlands is #7. Colorado College is ranked #8, Whitworth is listed at #9, and California Institute of Technology is #10.

Colorado College took second place in the SCAC with a score of 41. The top finisher for the Tigers was Tony Calderon in fourth place at 26:21.18.