Bearcats are in Ohio for NCAA National Championships

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

HIGHLAND HILLS, OHIO -- The Willamette University men's cross country team will compete at the NCAA Division III National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Highland Park Golf Course. Willamette received an automatic bid to the event by finishing in second place in the team standings at the West Regional last weekend.

It is the ninth consecutive trip to Nationals for the Bearcat men's team.

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Also competing for Willamette at the National Championships will be Tina Patel (Jr., Bend, OR/Summit HS) in the women's race. Patel was selected for an individual at-large bid after placing ninth at the West Regional.

Approximately 280 runners will compete in each race. The women's 6-kilometer race is scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. (EST)/8 a.m. (PST), with the men's 8-kilometer race to follow at 12 p.m. (EST)/9 a.m. (PST). A total of 32 teams (16 automatic bids and 16 at-large bids) will be eligible for the team title in each race.

The Willamette men's team has eight runners, including one alternate, prepared to compete in Ohio. Seven of the runners will be entered in Saturday's race, with the top five finishers counting toward Willamette's team score.

Members of the WU men's team who have made the trip to the National Championships this week are Matt Parker (Jr., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), Stefan Redfield (Jr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS), Leo Castillo (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS), Chris Platano (Sr., Myrtle Point, OR/Myrtle Point HS), Nick Rebol (Jr., Cottonwood, CA/Red Bluff Union HS), Ryan McLaughlin (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Milwaukie HS), Kevin Aubol (Fr., Ellensburg, WA/Ellensburg HS) and Ben Donovan (So., Minneapolis, MN/South HS).

Parker was WU's top finisher at the West Regional with a time of 25:51.52 for fifth place. Redfield ended the race in eighth place, Castillo cross the finish line in 13th, Platano achieved 20th place and Rebol completed the course in 23rd. The top 35 finishers earned All-Region recognition.

Willamette is one of three teams from the West Region who will compete in the men's race at the National Championships. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the team title at the West Regional and received an automatic bid. Colorado College placed third at the West Regional and was selected for an at-large bid.

Leo Castillo and seven other members of the WU men's cross country team have traveled to the NCAA Championships.

Leo Castillo and seven other members of the WU men's cross country team have traveled to the NCAA Championships.