Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Willamette women place 29th at national cross country championships

Nine Willamette runners competed at the 2011 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 19; the university was represented by a full team entry of seven athletes in the women's race, plus two athletes from the Bearcat men's team who earned individual bids to the NCAA Championships.

Michaela Freeby was the top Bearcat finisher in the women's 6-kilometer race as she earned a time of 22:22.27. She placed 109th out of 277 runners and was 73rd among scorers. Willamette's women took 29th place in the team standings.

Washington University (Mo.) claimed the women's team title with a score of 70. Second place went to Middlebury College (Vt.) with a score of 111, while Williams College (Mass.) was third at 153.

The women's individual champion was Chiara Del Piccolo from Williams. She crossed the finish line at 20:52.08 to win by 5.62 seconds. Christy Cazzola from the host team at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, finished second in 20:57.70. Annie Lydens of Pomona-Pitzer, the West Region's individual title winner, took third place at 21:02.84.

Overall, the men's race included 279 runners. The men's team championship was earned by North Central College (Ill.) with a score of 110. Haverford College (Pa.) placed second with a score of 172. Washington University was third at 206, SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) was fourth at 235 and Wisconsin-Oshkosh was fifth at 277.

Skelly selected for first-team academic all-American

Stephanie Skelly scored 35 goals and earned 7 assists during her Willamette career.

Stephanie Skelly scored 35 goals and earned 7 assists during her Willamette career. Now, the senior midfielder from Poulsbo, Wash., has been selected First Team Capital One Academic All-America in NCAA Division III women's soccer for the 2011 season, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Only 12 players nationwide were chosen for the First Team, with 11 named to the Second Team and 10 on the Third Team.

Earlier this month, Skelly was chosen First Team Academic All-District VIII for the second consecutive year.

Skelly is majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Willamette. She entered the fall semester with a 3.877 cumulative grade point average.

"Stephanie Skelly has time and time again proven that she is truly a scholar-athlete, excelling both in the classroom and on the field. Stephanie's commitment to pursuing success and achieving her goals speaks loudly to the nature of her character," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur said.

"Stephanie is one of those players you build your team around, knowing that she would give anything for her team," Arthur noted. "Her ability to lead, encourage and inspire her teammates to play at their best was what most people didn't see. What people did see was an amazingly skilled and passionate player who worked hard for her team and put the ball in the net."

This fall, Skelly led the Northwest Conference in goals and overall scoring, while playing in key role as Willamette went 11-8-1 overall and took third place in the NWC with a 10-5-1 record. She produced 16 goals and earned 5 assists for 37 total points. She scored two goals in the same game six times.

During her career, Skelly scored 35 goals and achieved 7 assists for 77 points. She provided Willamette with 10 game-winning goals, including three in each of her final three seasons as a Bearcats. She played in 75 games with 70 starts.

Skelly was named First Team All-Northwest Conference in 2009 and 2011, and was chosen Second Team All-NWC in 2010. She was named NWC Women's Soccer Offensive Player of the Year this fall.

She increased her goal-scoring each season, from two goals as a freshman and six goals as a sophomore to 11 goals during her junior season and 16 goals this year. During her career, Skelly blasted 196 total shots, including 97 shots on goal.

"Stephanie had a great senior year and playing career as a Bearcat," Arthur said. "Being selected First Team Academic All-America is a great honor and well deserved. It's what Bearcat Soccer is all about: commitment to pursuing success and the ability to excel in the classroom and on the field."

Athletes nominated for the Capitol One Academic All-America Team were starters or key reserves with cumulative GPAs of 3.3 or higher (4.0 scale). Each athlete was at her current college or university for at least one academic year.