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Bearcat Athletics News

Bearcat Women's Tennis is Ranked #13 in ITA West Region Rankings

Poltavski Earns #12 Ranking in the West Region in Singles Willamette sophomore Denise Poltavski is the #12 singles player in the West Region Rankings released by the ITA.

By John Lind, Assistant Athletics Communications Director 

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette women's tennis team is garnering some hype for the Bearcats' upcoming spring season. In the first NCAA Division III Women's West Region Rankings for 2012-13, released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the Bearcats were listed as the #13 team.

Denise Poltavski (So., Woodland Hills, CA/El Camino Real HS) earned additional accolades, scoring a #12 ranking in the West Region in singles.

Willamette is the fourth-highest Northwest Conference team in the poll. Whitman College is listed at #6, the best for the NWC. Linfield College is close behind at #8, and Whitworth University is at #10. Beneath Willamette are Pacific University at #15 and the University of Puget Sound at #17.

Traditional SCIAC powers Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer sit atop the poll at #1 and #2, respectively. CMS also earned a #8 ranking in the NCAA Division III National Rankings, while Pomona-Pitzer was listed at #12 nationally.

In just her second year of Bearcat tennis, Poltavski is already attracting some recognition as one of the players to watch this year in the NWC. Earlier this fall, Poltavski made waves with a solid run during the USTA/ITA Northwest Small College Championships. Entering the tournament as the #7 seed, Poltavski won four consecutive matches in straight sets en route to a hard-fought loss in the semifinals.

Among NWC athletes, only Whitman's Courtney Lawless, who defeated Poltavski in that semifinal match, and Lewis & Clark College's Olivia Cornell are ranked above Poltavski in the West Region singles poll. Lawless is #3, while Cornell is one spot ahead of Poltavski at #11.

Three more NWC athletes are included in the Top 25 of the West Region in singles. Lewis & Clark's Aurora Gibson (#21), Whitman's Jenna Dobrin (#22), and Linfield's Caroline Brigham (#23) all made the cut. Mary Hardin Baylor's Brittni Fausett earned the top spot in the rankings.

The ITA rankings will be released five more times throughout the spring season, with a final poll on June 6th. All rankings can be found at www.itatennis.com.

Three Bearcats Reach Finals in Two Events on Last Full Day of CAT Open

Willamette Finishes 6.5 points in front of NWC rival Pacific in Team Standings The Bearcats concluded competition at the CAT Open with action on Saturday afternoon and evening, as well as Sunday morning.

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

CORVALLIS, ORE. -- Three athletes on the Willamette University swimming teams reached the "A", "B" or "C" finals in two individual events on the final full day of the Corvallis Aquatic Team (CAT) Open on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Osborn Aquatic Center. The meet concluded on Sunday, Dec. 2 with the 1,650-yard freestyle events.

In the process, Willamette finished 13th out of 30 club and college teams in the overall standings with 182.5 points to edge out Northwest Conference rival Pacific University, which finished in 14th place with 176 points. Tualatin Hill claimed the team title with 594 points.

The WU swimmers who each qualified for a pair of finals in individual events on Saturday were Sean Piper (So, Normandy Park, WA/John F. Kennedy HS), Alex Guffey (Fr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) and Annette Marinello (Fr., Corvallis, OR/Philomath HS).

Piper reached the "B" final in both the 400-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke on Saturday. He won the "B" final in the 100 backstroke with a time of 54.39 seconds to place ninth overall. Piper was 11th in the prelims with a time of 55.47 seconds. In the 400 I.M., Piper took 11th overall. His time in the "B" final was 4:26.36.

Guffey qualified for the "B" final in the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle. In the 50 free, Guffey attained a time of 22.64 seconds to place second in the "B" final and 10th overall. In the 200 free, he was clocked at 1:50.19 to take 13th place. He registered a time of 1:48.33 during the preliminary heats.

Marinello placed 20th in the 200-yard freestyle after completing the "C" final in 2:01.71. She improved by two places over the prelims, where she recorded a slightly faster time  at 2:01.53. Marinello was 22nd in the 400-yard individual medley after earning a time of 4:54.40 in the "C" final.

Several other Bearcats reached finals competition on Saturday.

Andrew Lum (Fr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) achieved 17th place in the 200-yard butterfly by winning the "C" final in 2:05.93. He improved by six places after finishing 23rd in the prelims.

Chris Whitehead (Jr., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) was 20th overall in the 100-yard breaststroke, as he earned a time of 1:05.96 in the "C" final. Kulananalu Tarnas (Fr., Kamuela, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy) also competed in the "C" final of the 100 breaststroke. He took 24th place in 1:07.09.

Hope Nelson (So., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS) placed 24th in the 200-yard freestyle. She swam in the "C" final, earning a time of 2:04.26.

On Sunday, Zander Le Bel (So., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS) was 23rd in the 1,650-yard freestyle. His time was 18:09.08.

Willamette also had success in the relays on Saturday.

The Bearcat men's team placed third in the 400-yard medley relay in 3:46.19, after taking fourth place in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:23.64 on Friday. Swimming on the 400 medley relay team were Piper, Whitehead, Lum and Guffey. In the 400 free relay, WU's team included Le Bel, Piper, Tarnas and Guffey.

Willamette achieved seventh place in the women's 400-yard medley relay. The Bearcats earned a time of 4:16.82 behind the efforts of Michaela Zuber (Fr., Sacramento, CA/Sheldon HS), Marinello, Malia Santos (Fr., Kailua-Kona, HI/Kealakehe HS) and Nelson.

The next scheduled action for the Bearcats will be the team's Winter Training trip to San Diego, Calif., in early January. Willamette will take on Soka University from Aliso Viejo during the team's stay in Southern California.