Batch and Zerzan are Chosen NWC Runners of the Week

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University senior cross country athletes Ian Batch (Eagle, ID/Capital HS) and Sarah Zerzan (San Carlos, CA/Notre Dame HS) have been selected as the Northwest Conference Men's and Women's Runners of the Week for action on Saturday, Sept. 29. Batch and Zerzan led the way, as Willamette won the Men's Cardinal team championship and the Women's Cardinal team championship at the 33rd Annual Charles Bowles Invitational Cross Country Meet at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Ore.

Batch achieved fourth place out of 268 runners in the Men's 8k Cardinal Race with a time of 24:36.95. He finished less than 27 seconds behind the winner, Chris Erichsen of St. John's University (Minn.), who recorded a time of 24:10.65. Batch led five Willamette runners in the top 20, as the Bearcats registered a team score of 63, to easily distance themselves from Aquinas College (Mich.) in second place at 123 and St. John's in third place at 127.

Willamette's men entered the highly-competitive meet ranked #10 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Poll for NCAA Division III. Aquinas was ranked #2 in the NAIA and St. John's was ranked #5 in NCAA Division III. The men's race featured 27 fully-entered teams.

Zerzan won the Women's 5K Cardinal Race for the second year in a row, as she earned a time of 17:20.15. She crossed the finish line with a lead of 10.95 seconds over Elizabeth Chepkosgei from the University of Alaska-Anchorage, who took second in 17:31.10. The WU women's team placed three runners in the top 20 and six in the top 40. WU's winning score was 101, as the Bearcats held off the University of British Columbia, which took second place at 115. Point Loma Nazarene University finished a distant third at 175.

The Bearcats were ranked #11 in the USTFCCCA Poll for NCAA Division III women's cross country prior to the meet. British Columbia was ranked #8 in the NAIA, A total of 26 full teams competed in the women's race.

Willamette's next action is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Mike Hodges Invitational, hosted in Oregon City, Ore., by Clackamas Community College. Races are set to begin at 11 a.m. (PDT).

Ian Batch placed fourth in the Men's 8K Cardinal Race at the 33rd Annual Charles Bowles Invitational after placing 11th last year (photo from 2006).

Ian Batch placed fourth in the Men's 8K Cardinal Race at the 33rd Annual Charles Bowles Invitational after placing 11th last year (photo from 2006).

Sarah Zerzan

Sarah Zerzan