Willamette Men's Cross Country Team is Ranked #28 in NCAA Division III

Bearcat Men Move up to #2 in West Region; Women's Team is #3 in West Region

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. --The Willamette University men's cross country team, which won the Northwest Conference team and individual titles this past weekend, has returned to the NCAA Division III Poll at #28, as released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

The Bearcats moved up to #2 in the West Region men's rankings, while the Willamette women's cross country team remained #3 in the West Region.

At the NWC Championships on Oct. 27, the Willamette men's team registered a score of 40 to win the title by a 50-point margin. Parker Bennett (Jr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) achieved the individual men's championship with a time of 25:48 over the 8-kilometer course.

Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk was named NWC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the eighth time since 2001.

Bennett and Nathan Conrad (Fr., Bothell, WA/Bothell HS), who finished fourth in 26:28, earned First Team All-NWC honors.

Three other Bearcats received Second Team All-NWC recognition. They were Yonny Castillo (Fr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) in eighth place, Kit Kingstad (Jr., Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS) in 13th and Ben Beeler (So., San Francisco, CA/Archbishop Riordan HS) in 14th.

Willamette placed second at the NWC Championships in the women's team standings. Michaela Freeby (So. Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) took third place out of 82 runners, as she achieved a time of 22:58 while completing the 6-kilometer course.

Freeby and Theresa Edwards (Sr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) were named First Team All-NWC. Edwards finished seventh with a time of 23:19. Second Team All-NWC honors went to Juliet Farnan (Fr., Lafayette, CA/Campolindo HS) in 11th, Amanda Tamanaha (Sr., Honolulu, HI/Saint Andrews Priory School) in 13th and Stevie Gildehaus (Jr., Spokane Valley, WA/University HS) in 14th.

National and Regional Rankings

In this week's men's National Poll, Haverford College (Pa.) remained #1, while receiving six of eight first place votes and 278 points. Calvin College (Mich.) stayed at #2 with two first place votes and six second place votes for 274 points. North Central College (Illinois) also maintained its position, holding at #3 with 264 points.

SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) moved up one spot to #4 with 254 points, while Tufts University (Mass.) advanced two spots into the #5 spot.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) continued to own the #1 ranking in the women's National Poll. MIT received five of eight first place votes and a total of 277 points. All of the top five teams remained the same from the previous poll on Oct. 17.

Johns Hopkins University (Md.) kept the #2 ranking with three first place votes and 275 points. Williams College (Mass.) was #3 at 261, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) was #4 at 259 and Middlebury College (Vt.) held #5 in the poll at 242. The Willamette women's team, which was #32 in the previous poll, fell out of the Top 35, but continued to receive votes.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps remained #1 in the men's West Region rankings. Willamette was rewarded for its NWC Championship with an improvement of one position up to #2. Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) fell one spot to #3, while Lewis & Clark College rose five positions from #9 all the way to #4. The University of Puget Sound dropped one position from #4 to #5.

Willamette, Lewis & Clark and Puget Sound were joined on the men's West Region list by two additional teams from the NWC. Whitworth University was included at #8 and George Fox University was recorded at #9.

The #1 team in the women's West Region rankings continued to be Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Lewis & Clark held its position at #2, as did Willamette at #3. Occidental College (Calif.) advanced from #5 to #4. Whitworth moved from #7 up two spots into the #5 position.

Lewis & Clark plus Willamette and Whitworth provided the NWC with a good start to the women's regional rankings. Also featured in the Top 10 of the West Region were Linfield College at #6 and Whitman College at #7.

Bearcats to Host West Regional

Willamette will not compete this weekend, but will host and compete in the NCAA West Regional on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Oak Knoll Golf Course near Independence, Ore. The men's 8-kilometer race will start at 11 a.m. (PDT), with the women's 6-kilometer race set for 12 p.m.

USTFCCCA Cross Country Polls/Rankings

National Polls
NCAA Division III

Regional Rankings

NCAA Division III

Parker Bennett won the NWC men's cross country individual title, helping Willamette win the team title and earn a #28 ranking in NCAA Division III.

Parker Bennett won the NWC men's cross country individual title, helping Willamette win the team title and earn a #28 ranking in NCAA Division III.