Zerzan Wins Cardinal Women's 5K Race, Batch Takes 11th in Cardinal Men's 8K Race, at 32nd Annual Charles Bowles Invitational

SALEM, OR -- Willamette University women’s cross country runner Sarah Zerzan (Jr., San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) took first place with a school-record time of 17:11.0 in the Cardinal Women’s 5K Race at the 32nd Annual Charles Bowles Invitational, hosted by Willamette on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Bush’s Pasture Park. Willamette’s Ian Batch (Jr., Eagle, ID/Capital HS) finished in 11th place in the Cardinal Men’s 8K Race with a time of 24:54.05. Overall, the event featured four races with a total of more than 1,000 entries.

Zerzan’s winning effort helped Willamette’s women take second place in the Cardinal 5K team standings. The women’s team title was claimed by Concordia University of California with a score of 52, after the Eagles’ placed five runners in the Top 20. Willamette’s team score was 129, while the University of Puget Sound took third place with a score of 194. Concordia is ranked #4 in the NAIA, while Willamette is #13 and UPS is #26 in NCAA Division III.

Completing the Top 10 women’s teams were: 4th - Azusa Pacific, 208; 5th - Point Loma Nazarene, 239; 6th - British Columbia, 248; 7th - Lewis-Clark State, 255; 8th - Alaska-Anchorage, 263; 9th - Westmont, 277; 10th - Central Washington, 286.

Zerzan won by more than 40 yards, as she easily outraced the field of NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA runners. She broke the previous Willamette women’s 5K record of 17:27.0, set more than 20 years ago by Kara Crisifulli in 1985. Taking second place was Grace Jepngetich of Vanguard University from California. Jepngetich crossed the finish line in 17:20.15. Third place was earned by Sara Powell of Concordia (Calif.), who clocked in at 17:41.05.

Willamette finished the women’s race with five runners in the Top 40. The seven Bearcat runners included in the official scoring (the top five formed the team score) were Zerzan, followed by Maddie Coffman (So., Boise, ID/Boise HS) in 23rd at 18:34.05; Elizabeth Hart (Jr., Spokane, WA/Lewis & Clark HS) in 28th at 18:36.6; Edith Polanco (So., Salem, OR/McKay HS) in 37th at 18:46.5; Jena Winter (So., Bonney Lake, WA/Sumner HS) in 40th at 18:52.8; Hanna Vietmeier (Fr., Shoreline, WA/Shorewood HS) in 45th at 18:59.5; and Maya Velez (Fr., Oakland, CA/Skyline HS) in 56th at 19:13.1.

A total of 14 runners represented Willamette in the Cardinal Women’s 5K. Overall, 298 runners finished the race, while 26 colleges and universities recorded team scores.

Batch led the Bearcat men’s team to a sixth place finish in the Cardinal 8K team standings. Concordia of California began a sweep of the Cardinal team titles when its men’s squad took first place with a score of 37. Westmont College, also from California, earned second place with a score of 149. The Concordia men’s squad is ranked #2 in the NAIA and Westmont is ranked #14 in the NAIA. Willamette is #15 in the NCAA Division III rankings for men’s cross country.

Other Top 10 team scores in the men’s race were: 3rd - Alaska-Anchorage, 152; 4th - Western Washington, 184; 5th - Azusa Pacific, 187; 6th - Willamette, 195; 7th - BYU-Hawaii, 221; 8th - Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 245; 9th - Concordia (Ore.), 256; 10th - Puget Sound, 299.

The individual champion in the Cardinal Men’s 8K was Aron Rono of Azusa Pacific, who completed the course in 23:43.35. David Kiplagat of Alaska-Anchorage finished in second place with a time of 24:06.25 and Carlos Handler of Concordia (Calif.) claimed third place in 24:13.55.

In the Cardinal Men’s 8K Race, Willamette placed three runners in the Top 50 and six in the Top 60. Batch led the way with his 11th place finish. Other runners included in the official scoring (seven total, five in the team score) were Taylor Roholt (Fr., Albuquerque, NM/Sandia Prep) in 26th at 25:22.5; Lucas Nebert (Jr., Cincinnati, OH/Wyoming HS) in 43rd at 25:32.8; Josh Clough (So,., Auburn, WA/Auburn Riverside HS) in 57th at 25:54.15; Tristan Knutson-Lombardo (So., Juneau, AK/Juneau-Douglas HS) in 58th at 25:54.65; Alez Jimenez (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) in 59th at 25:56.3; and Chris Platano (Fr., Myrtle Point, OR/ Myrtle Point HS) in 66th at 25:59.7.

Overall, Willamette entered 22 runners in the Cardinal Men’s 8K. The race was the first of the day and featured a total of 305 runners, with 31 colleges and universities registering team scores.

The list of races concluded with the Gold Men’s 8K Race and the Gold Women’s 5K Race. The Gold Races involved NCAA Division I teams, plus junior colleges, club teams and unattached runners.

Winning the team title in the Gold Men’s 8K was the University of California-Davis, with four runners in the Top 20 and a team score of 70. Team XO was second with a score of 92. Third place went to the University of Washington with a score of 97. The individual medalist was Forest Braden of Boise State University, who clocked in at 23:52.45. Ty Axtman, also from Boise State, took second place in 24:11.15.
UC-Davis held third place, as Chris Ferren-Cirino crossed the finish line in 24:13.01.

The Gold Women’s 5K team championship went to Oregon State University, which finished the race with three athletes in the Top 10 and six in the Top 20. The Beavers recorded a score of 40 to finish well ahead of Boise State at 120. Third place went to the University of Idaho with a score of 121, just one point behind BSU. The individual winner of the race was Dee Olson running unattached in 17:01.4. Second place went to Tiffany Beachy of Team Eugene with a time of 17:34.9 and third place was taken by Rhea Richter of Idaho in 17:37.7

There were 408 runners, including unattached entries, in the two Gold Races. In the Gold Men’s 8K, a total of 228 athletes were included in the field. In the Gold Women’s 5K, 180 competitors reached the finish line. Eighteen men’s collegiate teams, two men’s club teams, 19 women’s collegiate teams and one women’s club team received scores in the Gold Races.

Willamette’s next cross country action is set for Oct. 14 at the Bob Hodges Invitational in Oregon City, Ore. The event will be hosted by Clackamas Community College.