Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Athletics News

Platano Receives NCAA Elite 88 Award

The NCAA has named Willamette University men's cross country runner Chris Platano (Sr., Myrtle Point, OR/Myrtle Point HS) as an Elite 88 Award winner for the fall 2009 season. The Elite 88 Award is presented at each NCAA national championship event to the competing athlete with the highest grade point average. The NCAA sponsors a total of 88 national team titles in its three divisions.

Platano, who owns a 4.0 cumulative GPA according to the award's criteria, had the highest academic average among the 280 runners in the men's race at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Nov. 21, 2009.

“He’s just outstanding,” Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk said. “He already has a job lined up for next fall. That’s how exceptional he is. He’s been a model team member on and off the course, in and out of the classroom”

Pineda Earns First Team All-West Region Recognition

Hirschberger, Penkala, Carter Receive Third Team Honors

Inside linebacker Ralph Pineda (Jr., Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.) has been chosen First Team All-West Region by D3Football.com. The Bearcats also have three players -- senior center Scott Hirschberger (Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS), senior offensive tackle Joe Penkala (Niles, Illinois/Loyola Academy) and sophomore defensive tackle Ron Carter (Atwater, CA/Buhach Colony HS) -- who have been named Third Team All-Region.

Pineda's selection to the All-West Region Team adds to his list of honors this season. Earlier, he was named First Team All-Northwest Conference and was chosen NWC Defensive Player of the Year.

During the season, Pineda recorded 81 total tackles for the Bearcats. He earned 31 solo tackles and registered 51 assists. He also provided WU with 5.5 tackles for losses.