Willamette to Host Grass Course Meet at Bush's Pasture Park

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University’s cross country teams will open their 2008 season by hosting the Willamette Grass Course Meet on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Ore. The men’s and women’s teams from Willamette placed first in this meet last year and look to be successful again this year, as they return key runners on each team.

The Bearcat women will look to pick up where they left off last season, after winning their sixth consecutive NWC Championship and their fifth consecutive NCAA West Region Championship. WU’s women also took ninth place at the NCAA Division III National Championship. The team starts this season ranked 18th in the nation.

Maddie Coffman, a returning senior All-American, will lead the way for the Bearcats. Last year, Coffman was second at the West Regional and placed eleventh at the NCAA National Championships. Coffman is majoring in Biology.

Also returning for the women’s team is senior Jena Winger. Winger, an Exercise Science major, was named Second Team All-NWC last season after finishing ninth at the NWC Championship meet.

Tristan Knutson-Lombardo and Josh Clough will lead a strong Bearcat men’s team, ranked 26th nationally, in their quest for NWC and NCAA West Region titles. WU has won seven consecutive NWC championships and six consecutive NCAA West Region championships.

Knutson-Lombardo, a senior who is pursuing a degree in American Ethnic Studies, was the Northwest Conference Champion in 2007 and received First Team All-NWC honors for his efforts.

Clough also returns after earning First Team All-NWC recognition. Clough, who is majoring in sociology, placed sixth at last season’s conference meet and looks to build on that strong performance in 2008.

The Grass Course Meet will feature a 5-kilometer race for the women with seven college teams participating and one club team. On the men’s side, seven college teams and two club teams will compete on a 7.1-kilometer course. In addition to the two college races, there will be a high school 5-kilometer race. The action is set to begin at 10 a.m. (PDT).

Maddie Coffman placed 11th at the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2007.

Maddie Coffman placed 11th at the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2007.