They're BAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKKK! Bearcat Athletes Return to Campus to Begin Fall Practice

SALEM — Beginning last Saturday with football players, Willamette University athletes will be back on campus preparing for the fall season.

Official football practice began over the weekend, according to Head Coach Mark Speckman. Right behind next week will be men’s and women soccer teams, volleyball and cross-country.

In soccer, the men will get a new head coach in Jeff Enquist, a former Pacific University coach who expects to see rapid improvements in his team throughout the season.

On the women’s side, head coach Jim Tursi and a solid core of returning players will put the Bearcats 72-game home-unbeaten streak on the line. Despite the loss of two-time All American Anne Merten, the Bearcats will be loaded with depth including forwards Nicole Dahl ands Brenna Hindman, defender Kara Forsyth and midfielders Susan Butler, Jessica Lammers and Laura Uhlmansiek.

Cross-country athletes, under the direction of Head Coach Matt McGuirk (National Men’s Coach of the Year in Track and Field last year) and new assistant Coach Jimmy Bean will lead the squad. The biggest change from last season in the departure of former Head Coach Kelly Sullivan, who left for a head coaching position at Oregon State University.

The Bearcat volleyball program continues to improve under fourth year head coach Tricia Wright. Led by returning All-American Kristen Halleck, the Bearcats return five starters, a solid core of returning players from last season and a very competitive group of freshman.

Four of the five Bearcat fall sports teams have been picked to finish second in the conference.