Bearcats Set to Host 39th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational

Meet Features 830 Entries and 14 Nationally Ranked Teams

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- This weekend, Willamette University will host one of the largest college cross country meets on the West Coast for the 39th time since 1974. On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Charles Bowles Invitational will be held by the Bearcats at Bush's Pasture Park.

Although Charles Bowles passed away in 2005, this weekend's meet will continue his legacy of success, integrity and commitment to the sport. What was once known as the Willamette Invitational now bears his name.

The huge cross country meet has 830 entrants representing teams from eight states and one Canadian province. Competitors represent teams from Oregon, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Texas, Washington, and British Columbia.

Overall, the Charles Bowles Invitational will feature 34 four-year colleges and universities, eight junior colleges, and three club teams, in addition to unattached athletes. Most of the colleges and universities are bringing men's and women's teams, with the exceptions of Mills College, Oregon State University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Texas Wesleyan University (women's team only).

A total of 14 teams are ranked in their respective national rankings this week.

Action on Saturday will open with the Men's Cardinal 8-kilometer race, featuring teams and runners from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III, starting at 9:30 a.m. (PDT). The Women's Cardinal 5-kilometer race, also with runners from all three divisions of the NCAA, will follow at 10:15 a.m.

The Men's Gold 8-kilometer race, with runners from the NAIA, junior colleges and club teams, plus unattached runners, is scheduled to begin at 10:50 a.m. The Women's Gold 5-kilometer race, which also will include NAIA, junior college and non-collegiate runners, is set to get underway at 11:35 a.m.

In the first race of the day, the Men's Cardinal 8K, there will be two nationally ranked teams. The University of Portland is ranked #8 in NCAA Division I, while the University of Alaska Anchorage is ranked #10 in NCAA Division II.

Top returning runners for Willamette are Parker Bennett (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS), Nathan Conrad (So., Bothell, WA, Bothell HS), Yonny Castillo (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS), and Kit Kingstad (Sr., Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS). Bennett, whose individual Northwest Conference championship helped lead Willamette to its 20th NWC team title in 2012, also competed at the NCAA Division III National Championships.

The Women’s Cardinal 5-kilometer race will include three nationally ranked teams. They are Alaska Anchorage, ranked #5 in NCAA Division II, the host Willamette Bearcats, ranked #27 in NCAA Division III, and Whitworth University, ranked #35 in Division III.

Willamette's top returning runner on the women's team is Michaela Freeby (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS). Freeby claimed third place at the 2012 NWC Championships and finished ninth at the NCAA West Regional, helping the Bearcats earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

The Men’s Gold 8-kilometer race will include five nationally ranked NAIA teams: the University of British Columbia at #4, Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) at #9, Eastern Oregon University at #12, Northwest Christian University at #15, and Oregon Institute of Technology at #20.

Nationally ranked NAIA teams set to run in the Women's Gold 5-kilometer race are British Columbia at #1, Northwest Christian University (Ore.) at #9, Texas Wesleyan at #10, and Lewis-Clark State at #17.

Admission to the Charles Bowles Invitational is free. Spectators are asked to be cautious near the course and to avoid interfering with participants. Although most of the course will take runners throughout Bush's Pasture Park, all of the races will finish inside McCulloch Stadium.

39th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2012
At Bush's Pasture Park, Salem, Ore.

Schedule of Events
9:30 a.m. - Men's Cardinal 8K Race, NCAA Divisions I, II, III
10:15 a.m. - Women's Cardinal 5K Race, NCAA Divisions I, II, III
10:50 a.m. - Men's Gold 8K Race, NAIA, Junior Colleges, Open
11:35 a.m. - Women's Gold 5K Race, NAIA, Junior Colleges, Open

COURSE MAPS

39th Annual
Charles Bowles Invitational
Bush's Pasture Park
Salem, Ore.
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013

Last year's Charles Bowles Invitational featured the dedication of a statute of Bowles, Willamette's legendary cross country and track and field coach.

Last year's Charles Bowles Invitational featured the dedication of a statute of Bowles, Willamette's legendary cross country and track and field coach.

Willamette's Parker Bennett is the defending Northwest Conference cross country champion.

Willamette's Parker Bennett is the defending Northwest Conference cross country champion.