Willamette University

The Sports Page

Chris Platano ‘10

Willamette Runner has Top GPA at NCAA Cross Country Championships

The NCAA has named men’s cross country runner Chris Platano ‘10 an Elite 88 award winner for the fall 2009 season. The Elite 88 award is presented at each NCAA national championship event to the competing athlete with the highest grade point average. The NCAA sponsors a total of 88 national team titles in its three divisions.

Platano, who earned a 4.0 cumulative GPA according to the award’s criteria, had the highest academic average among the 280 runners in the men’s race at the NCAA Division III cross country championships last fall.

“He’s just outstanding,” Willamette Head Coach Matt McGuirk said. “He already has a job lined up for next fall. He’s been a model team member on and off the course, in and out of the classroom.”

Rugby Club

Willamette Rugby Club Travels and Competes in Europe

This spring break, the Willamette Rugby Football Club (WRFC), the largest club of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, will travel to Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh for a rare chance to represent Willamette in international competition.

Before challenging several Irish and Scottish teams to friendly matches, the Willamette team will take in an international professional rugby match in Dublin’s Croke Park.

WRFC Captain Stephen Scott’s ’10 experience playing abroad led the team to pursue the upcoming matches. “While abroad, I was privy to play for the Belfast Instonians. They called me ‘Yank’ or ‘Obama’ and always wanted to know when I would bring the mighty Bearcats to face the Instonians,” he said.

Competition starts at 7:30 p.m., Belfast time, March 22.

Bearcats Host Girls & Women in Sport Day

Willamette hosted National Girls & Women in Sport Day in February, in connection with the women’s basketball game versus Pacific University. The Salem Swish, a local youth girls’ basketball team, joined 15 female Willamette athletes for an educational night of fun on campus.

During the basketball game, members of the Salem Swish sat with current Bearcat players to watch the action. At halftime, student-athletes from all sports joined them on the court for a shoot-around. Some of those from Willamette even found themselves signing their first autographs.

“It was great for the young girls to interact with our student-athletes and learn about sports they may not have been introduced to previously,” said Leslie Shevlin, head swimming coach at Willamette and organizer of the event. “For our student-athletes, it was a good reminder of one of the reasons they do what they do: to set a good example.”