Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Bearcat Athletics News

Bearcats Edge Willamette Alumni, 91-89

Manu Scores 29 Points for WU; Meehan Tallies 19 Points for Alums

The Willamette University men's basketball team pulled into the lead for the final time with less than four minutes remaining, and hit several baskets and free throws in the closing minutes, to hold off the Willamette Alumni, 91-89, in the annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Nov. 2. The game was played on Gordie James Court in Cone Field House.

Although the game was fun for players and fans, it also was competitive, as the Alumni fielded a very strong team with more than 15 athletes. Most of the former Bearcats played at WU in the past two to eight years, and many of the players were among the top scorers and rebounders during their Willamette careers.

Avery Manu (Sr., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) topped all scorers with 29 points for the varsity Bearcats. He also grabbed five rebound and provided three assists.

Brandon Luedtke (So., F, Meridian, ID/Mt. View HS) tacked on 17 points for Willamette, to go along with five boards and two assists. Alex Brown (Jr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) contributed 10 points and hauled down two boards for the Bearcats.

The Alumni were led by Ryan Meehan '12, who scored 19 points and connected on six 3-point baskets. Cameron Mitchell '10 provided the Alumni with 17 points and 11 rebounds. John Olinger '05 MBA '07 hit the nets for 11 points during the game.

Willamette will play an exhibition game at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, on Monday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats are set to open the regular season at Cal Tech in Pomona, Calif., at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Bearcats Sweep the NWC Championships

The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams entered the Northwest Conference Championships as the favorite to win. At the end of the day, the Bearcat teams won both individual titles and both team titles.

The first race of the day was the women’s 6k. Michaela Freeby (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) dominated the competition winning her first Northwest Conference cross country title in a time of 21:42.2. Finishing in second was Taylor Ostrander (So., Soldotna, AK/Kenai Central HS) who ran a 21:59.7, a new personal best. Olivia Mancl (Fr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) finished seventh in her first NWC Championship with a 22:42.8. Just two spots back, Juliet Farnan (So., Lafayette, CA/Campolindo HS) ran a 22:54.0. Rounding out the Bearcat top-five was Annie Marinello (Jr., Corvallis, OR/Philomath HS) finishing in 23:15.2, a new PR.

With a team score of 37, the Bearcat Women finished well ahead of second place Whitworth who scored 52. This is the first NWC Cross Country Championship for the women since 2008. The women’s team won seven titles in a row from 2002 through 2008.

Freeby, Ostrander and Mancl all received First-Team All-Northwest Conference Honors, while Farnan was Second-Team All-Northwest Conference.

In the Men’s 8k, Parker Bennett (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) successfully defended his Northwest Conference title. With 3k remaining Bennett pulled away from the field. He finished in 24:30.7, 30 seconds ahead of second place. Jacob Shafi (So., Pleasanton, CA/Amador Valley HS) finished in 25:19.1, a new PR and good for fifth place. Yonny Castillo (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) and Nathan Conrad (So., Bothell, WA/Bothell HS) finished 12th and 13th, respectively. Conrad ran 25:48.4 and Castillo ran a new best of 25:45.9. Daniel Swanson (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) was the fifth man, finishing in 26:08.4, a new PR for 18th.

The men defended their Northwest Conference title with 49 points, 20 ahead of second place Puget Sound. This is the 21st conference championship for the men’s team, including ten of the last 13.

Bennett and Shafi both earned First-Team All-Northwest Conference Honors while Castillo and Conrad were Second-Team All-Northwest Conference.

Next up for the Bearcat squad is the NCAA DIII West Region Championships, set for November 16 in Claremont, California.