Willamette Men's Cross Country Team is Ranked #27 in the Nation

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University is tied for #27 in the nation this week in the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Top 35 Coaches' Poll released by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Bearcats also are ranked #3 in the NCAA West Region. The Willamette women's cross country team is ranked #5 in the West Region.

The top-ranked men's team in the nation is North Central College (Illinois), which received 279 points in this week's poll. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is ranked #2 with 271 points. Cortland State (N.Y.) holds the #3 spot with 266 points, while Williams College (Mass.) is listed at #4 with 254 points. Allegheny College (Pa.) is ranked #5 with 244 points.

Willamette is one of two Northwest Conference teams in the men's Top 35. Whitworth University, ranked #1 in the West Region, is #22 in the national poll.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) is ranked #2 in the West, but is behind Willamette in the national poll. CMS is listed at #30 in the Top 35.

In the West Region women's rankings, Whitworth is #1, with Whitman College at #2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is #3, Lewis & Clark College is #4 and Willamette is #5.

The Bearcats are off to a solid start despite running at less than full strength so far this season. Senior Kyle Kotaich (Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS) has not yet competed for the men's team. The WU women's team has not had its top three runners all available at the same meet.

Leading the way for Willamette during its first two meets was junior Matt Parker (Portland, OR/Lincoln HS). He was the top collegiate finisher, and took third place overall, at the West Coast Preview at Pier Park in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 11. He claimed second place at the Willamette Grass Course Meet on Sept. 18.

Willamette will host the 35th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Ore. The Charles Bowles Invitational is one of the largest collegiate cross country meets on the West Coast each season. The first race is set to get underway at 9:30 a.m. (PDT).

Matt Parker was the top collegiate finisher at the West Coast Preview at Pier Park and took second place at the WU Grass Course Meet.

Matt Parker was the top collegiate finisher at the West Coast Preview at Pier Park and took second place at the WU Grass Course Meet.