Bearcat Runners to Compete at NCAA Cross Country Championships

Races Set for Saturday, Nov. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind.

By John Lind, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's cross country team, plus one runner from the Bearcat men's cross country team, will compete at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is hosting the championships at the Lavern Gibson Course.

Willamette's women earned an at-large team bid to the NCAA Championships after taking third place at the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 10 at Oak Knoll Golf Course near Independence, Ore. Michaela Freeby (So., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) was the top finisher for the Bearcats with a ninth place finish. The top two men's teams and the top two women's teams from each of the eight regionals earned automatic bids.

The Bearcat men's team placed fourth at the West Regional and did not receive an at-large bid to the championships. Willamette's men will still be represented during the championship race, however, by junior Parker Bennett (Sisters, OR/Sisters HS). Bennett qualified for nationals after finishing sixth in the West Regional. The top seven runners in each regional who were not on teams chosen for the NCAA Championships earned individual bids.

This trip to nationals will be Bennett's second time. He first qualified as part of the men's team in 2010, when the Bearcats placed 23rd in the overall men's standings.

The Willamette women are ranked #34 in the nation in the NCAA Division III Poll released this week. They sit at the #3 ranking in the West Region. The Bearcat men are ranked #2 in the West Region.

Willamette will have seven runners in the women's race. The first five Bearcats to complete the 6-kilometer course will contribute to Willamette's team score.

Running for the Bearcats in the women's championship race likely will be Freeby, Theresa Edwards (Sr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS), Juliet Farnan (Fr., Lafayette, CA/Campolindo High School), Stevie Gildehaus (Jr., Spokane Valley, WA/University HS), Amanda Tamanaha (Sr., Honolulu, HI/Saint Andrews Priory School), Annette Marinello (So, Corvallis, OR/Philomath HS), and Taylor Ostrander (Fr., Soldotna, AK/Kenai Central High School).

Freeby, Edwards, and Tamanaha all qualified for nationals in 2011 as part of the women's team. Last year, the Bearcat women finished in 29th place in the team standings.

The NCAA Championships are scheduled to begin on Saturday with the men's 8-kilometer race at 11 a.m. EST/8 a.m. PST. The women's race is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE

NCAA Division III
National Championships
Hosted by Rose-Hulman
At LaVern Gibson Course
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012

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Michaela Freeby took ninth place at the NCAA West Region Championships on Nov. 10.

Michaela Freeby took ninth place at the NCAA West Region Championships on Nov. 10.