Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Bearcat Athletics News

Freeby '15 earns titles and recognition

Michaela Freeby '15Michaela Freeby '15

After finishing ahead of the pack during last week's NCAA Division III West Regional in cross country, Michaela Freeby '15 was named the West Region Women's Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Freeby became the first Bearcat to receive the award since Maddie Coffman '09 was selected in 2008. Sarah Zerzan '08 was the West Region Women's Athlete of the Year in 2006 and in 2007 on her way to earning National Women's Athlete of the Year honors.

For Freeby, the award comes after finishing the 6-kilometer course at the West Regional, hosted by Pomona-Pitzer, in a time of 21:37.66 on Nov. 16. She finished 11 seconds in front of California Lutheran University's Melissa Skiba, who came in second.

The West Regional victory marked Freeby's fourth win of the season. She won the Northwest Conference Championship meet on Nov. 2 to go along with victories at the Oak Knoll Loop run on Sept. 21 and at the 39th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational on Oct. 5. She finished third at the prestigious Brooks Invitational in Winneconne, Wisc., on Oct. 19.

Freeby will compete at the NCAA Championships as part of a full Willamette squad, as the Bearcats earned a team automatic bid after finishing second in the standings at the West Regional.

Parker Bennett finished the 8-kilometer men's race at the West Regional in a time of 24:52.14. His second place finish earned him an individual automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

After success at the NCAA West Regional event, the Bearcats will  set their sights on the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23. The meet will be hosted by Hanover College, with the women's race set to start at 11 a.m. (EST) followed by the men's race at 12 p.m.

Willamette Athletes Named to NWC All-Sportsmanship Team for Fall 2013

Six Willamette athletes -- one from each fall sport -- have been named to the 2013 Northwest Conference All-Sportsmanship Team. One player from each NWC team in cross country, football, volleyball and soccer was selected by his or her coach to be included on the team. Athletes were chosen because they have exhibited good sportsmanship throughout the season.

Willamette athletes named to the NWC All-Sportsmanship Team were Parker Bennett (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) in men's cross country, Michaela Freeby (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) in women's cross country, Josh Dean (Sr., QB, Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) in football, Robin Hryciuk (Sr., MF, Snohomish, WA/Glacier Peak HS) in men's soccer, Sarah Desautels (Jr., MF/F, Snohomish, WA/Glacier Park HS) in women's soccer and Taylor Gee (Jr., MH, San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo HS) in volleyball.

Bennett won the Northwest Conference individual title in men's cross country for the second year in a row. He went on to take second place at the NCAA West Regional and earn an individual bid to the 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Bennett placed 32nd at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors.

Freeby took first place in the women's race at the NWC Championships. She also won the individual title at the NCAA Regional, as she helped the Bearcats earn a team bid to the NCAA Championships. She earned a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships to gain All-America status.

Dean led the Willamette offense by completing 192 of 303 passes (63.4%) for 2,489 yards and 28 touchdowns. He set a WU record with seven touchdown passes against Lewis & Clark College on Oct. 19. He was named Second Team All-NWC for the second season in a row. He concluded his Bearcat career after completing 468 of 729 passes for 5,877 yards and 62 touchdowns.

Hryciuk started all 19 games this season for the Bearcat men's soccer team and ranked second with 1,583 minutes played. He provided strong work as a defensive midfielder and also contributed on set plays. During his career at WU, he played in 59 games while recording one goal and four assists. He was a defender for three years before moving into the midfield this season.

Desautels played in all 20 games with 19 starts for the WU women's soccer team this year. She was the Bearcats' leading scorer with four goals and two assists for 10 points. She also led Willamette with 72 shots, 37 shots on goal and 1,740 minutes played. In three years at WU, she has seen action in all 60 games, while scoring 12 goals and four assists for 28 points.

Gee has played in 36 matches and 75 sets in three seasons at Willamette. She has earned 96 digs, 38 kills, 10 blocks and seven service aces. She played in 20 matches and 55 sets as a freshman in 2011. She was effective in limited action this season, as she hit .250 on 12 total attacks, while playing in six matches for the Bearcats.