Bearcats Improve Ranking to #32 in Women's Cross Country

Men Receive National Votes; Both WU Teams Maintain #3 Ranking in West Region

By Brandon Chinn, Athletics Communications Writer

SALEM, ORE. -- After maintaining the #34 national ranking for two consecutive weeks, the Willamette University women's cross country team has moved up two spots to #32 this week in the NCAA Division III Poll released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Both the Willamette men's and women's cross country teams held onto the #3 rankings in the West Region.

Paced by Michaela Freeby (So. Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS), who finished 20th out of 500 runners, the women's cross country team finished in eighth place out of a field of 37 teams at the Brooks Invitational in Wisconsin this past weekend. The men's team achieved an 11th place finish out of 38 teams.

There was a changing of the guard atop the men's National Poll this week, as Haverford College (Pa.) gained control of first place with 276 points and five first place votes. Calvin College (Mich.) jumped from the sixth spot all the way to #2, having received 274 points and the remaining three first place votes.

Previously ranked number one with all eight first place votes, North Central College (Illinois) fell to #3 this week with 264 points. Bates College (Maine) earned 254 points and SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) slotted right behind with 251 points to round out the top five.

With their performance over the weekend, the Bearcats remain in contention for the Top 35 and are one of two unranked teams receiving the most votes.

After movement reordered the top five of the women's National Poll last week, all five teams maintained their respective spots this week. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) still held the top ranking with 277 points and five first place votes. Johns Hopkins remained close behind with 275 points and three first place votes in the #2 spot.

Williams College (Mass.) lined up at #3 with 262 points, while Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) with 257 points and Middlebury College from Vermont with 249 points remained fourth and fifth, respectively.

Having owned the 34th ranking for consecutive weeks, the Bearcats improved that ranking to #32 over the weekend. They now have 30 points in the poll and are positioned only ten points behind the University of Rochester (N.Y.), which is ranked #31 with 40 points. Other than Willamette, Lewis & Clark College -- ranked #22 with 100 points -- is the only other Northwest Conference team within the Top 35.

The top five in the men's West Region rankings remained the same yet again, with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in place as the #1 team. Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) stayed at #2, and Willamette continued to maintain the #3 spot. After jumping one spot last week, the University of Puget Sound held its #4 ranking, while Whitworth University rounded out the top #5.

Willamette, Puget Sound and Whitworth represent the Northwest Conference as three members ranked in the top 5. Other NWC teams ranked in the top ten were newly added Lewis & Clark at #9 and George Fox University, which dropped one spot down to #10.

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's team retained the #1 spot in the West Region for the second week in a row. Lewis & Clark continued at #2 and Willamette kept its spot at #3. Pomona-Pitzer regained the #4 ranking it lost to Linfield last week, as the Wildcats fell to #6. Occidental College jumped an impressive five spots from #10 to #5.

The NWC was well represented in the women's West Region rankings. In addition to Lewis & Clark, Willamette and Linfield, other NWC teams in the regional rankings were Whitworth at #7 and Whitman College at #9. The Pirates and the Missionaries each dropped one spot from last week's poll.

Willamette will not compete this weekend, but the Bearcats will travel to Forest Grove, Ore., to compete in the NWC Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27. The meet will be hosted by Pacific University at the Sunset Grove Golf Course. The first race will begin at 10 a.m. (PDT).

The Bearcats will host and participate in the NCAA Division III West Regional at Oak Knoll Golf Course in Independence, Ore., on Saturday, Nov. 10.

USTFCCCA Cross Country Polls/Rankings

National Polls
NCAA Division III

Regional Rankings

NCAA Division III

The Willamette women's team moved up two spots to #32 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll.

The Willamette women's team moved up two spots to #32 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll.