Bearcats Look To Repeat As Regional Champs on Home Turf

SALEM, OR — Defending champion Willamette University hosts the 2005 NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country Championships, as both the Bearcat men and women teams run to defend last year’s regional victories on their home course at Bush Park Saturday morning.

The women’s 6K race kicks off at 11 a.m. The men’s 8K follows at noon.

In the women’s race, Lewis & Clark’s Carla McHattie, the NWC champ at this same course two weeks ago, ran a 22:05.40. She’ll be challenged by Redlands freshman Avery Kelly. Kelly ran away with the SCIAC Championships three weeks ago, winning with a time of 22:01.10.

Willamette’s Sarah Zerzan, Lewis and Clark’s Tamma Carleton and Whitworth’s Kristi Dickey are all expected to challenge for the top spot. And don’t count out last year’s champ, Pacific University’s Sarah Smith. She finished 15th at the NWC meet on November 5.

The team battle pits the Bearcats, ranked No. 14 in the nation and No. 1 in the West Region against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, No. 22 in the country and No. 2 in the West Region. Colorado College is third in the West, followed by a surprising Lewis and Clark team which had three of the top seven finishers at the NWC championships.

On the men’s side, Willamette’s depth should carry the Bearcats to their third straight regional title. Nick Symmonds, a five-time NCAA DIII Track and Field All-American won the NWC championships on Nov. 5, running the 8K course at Bush Park in 25:18.10.

Two runners in the SCIAC championships posted better times. Pomona-Pitzer senior Crosby Freeman, a two-time All-American who finished fifth at nationals a year ago, won the SCIAC in 25:04.50, followed by teammate, junior Will Leer in 25:16.20.

Puget Sound’s Frank Prince won this race a year ago and went on to place 34th at nationals. He finished second to Symmonds at the NWC championships, followed by Whitworth’s Doug Blackburn and Willamette’s Ian Batch.

In the team competition, the Bearcats come into the race ranked No. 7 in the nation. Pomona is No. 14 and follows the Bearcats in the West Region. Puget Sound and Occidental at next in the West Region rankings.

Coach Matt McGuirk has named the following runners as eligible to run in Saturday’s meet. Seven of the ten listed below will get to run for the women and the men.

The number listed next to their name is the bib number they will be wearing in the race.

Bearcat Women:

258 Coffman, Maddie Willamette
259 Engle, Mara Willamette
260 Hart, Elizabeth Willamette
261 Maki, Alison Willamette
262 Muren, Natalie Willamette
263 Phimister, Molly Willamette
264 Sharratt, Ashley Willamette
265 Sherwood, Lauren Willamette
266 Wright, Bobbi Willamette
267 Zerzan, Sarah Willamette

Bearcat Men:

268 Batch, Ian Willamette
269 Boyd, Wyatt Willamette
270 Clough, Josh Willamette
271 Edson, Josh Willamette
272 Harris, Travis Willamette
273 Knutson-Lombardo, Tristan Willamette
274 Overby, Scott Willamette
275 Ruiz, Carlos Willamette
276 Symmonds, Nick Willamette
277 Vieyra, Julio Willamette