WILLAMETTE CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS SWEEP REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Prado Park CA --All seven Willamette men’s runners finished in the top 21, and Kari Holbert and Sarah Zerzan finished in the top 10 for the women, as both Willamette University cross country teams won the NCAA Regional Championships Saturday in Chino Hill CA.

Both teams now qualify for the NCAA Championships next Saturday in Eau Claire, Wisc.

Aaron Hollingshead (25:46.10, 17 seconds off the winning time) finished fourth overall and led the Bearcat pack for most of the 8k race through Prado Park.

Ian Batch (26:17.40) finished 10th and Trevor Harris (26:30.60) was 12th. Then came a trio of Bearcats runners — Nick Symonds (26:40.20), Brendan Brown (26:41.70) and Carlos Ruiz (26:45.10) — finishing 16,17 and 18. Nathan O’Brien (26:52.20) came in 21st.

For the women, Holbert nailed down a fifth place finish in a time of 23:04.00 in the 6k run. Sarah Zerzan (23:13.70) finished 8th. Molly Phimister (23:41.60) finished 15th and Katie Pierce (23:42.80) was right behind at 17th.

Elizabeth Hart (21st, 23:49.60), Carly Killam (27th, 24:10.90) and Bobbi Wright (40th, 24.33.90) made sure the Bearcats would get the automatic team bid, despite running without two of their top runners, Danya Roumore and Natalie Muren.

It was the second straight year both teams won the regional championship. The Bearcats are coached by Matt McGuirk. He is assisted by Jimmy Bean and Amber Emery.