NCAA Completes the Field for National Cross Country Championships

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

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has chosen the at-large teams and individuals in order to complete the field for the 2009 Division III Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, set for Nov. 21 in Highland Hills, Ohio. The Championships will be held at Highland Hills Golf Course and will be hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College.

NCAA National Championships
Set for Highland Hills Golf Course
Highland Hills, Ohio
Nov. 21, 2009

Willamette University's men's cross country team achieved an automatic bid to the National Championships by placing second at the NCAA Division III West Regional on Saturday (Nov. 14). The top two teams in each of eight Regional meets received automatic bids.

An additional 16 teams were selected for at-large bids. The top seven athletes at each Regional who were not on a qualifying team where chosen for individual at-large berths.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which won the West Region men's title, also received an automatic bid. Colorado College, which placed third at the West Regional, was chosen for an at-large berth.

WU will be the only Northwest Conference team with a complete men's team running at Highland Hills. Four NWC teams will have athletes competing who received individual at-large entries into the event.

Francis Reynolds will compete for the University of Puget Sound, while Shawn Fisher will represent Linfield College, Karl Dickman will run for Lewis & Clark College, and Aaron Jenkins and Nick Gallagher will run for Whitworth University.

Running for Willamette in the women's race at the National Championships will be Tina Patel (Sr., Bend, OR/Summit HS), who took ninth at the West Regional. Patel earned an individual at-large berth to compete next weekend. Other women's at-large bids received by NWC runners went to Marci Klimek of Linfield and to Hayley Walker from Puget Sound.

Automatic team qualifiers for the women included Whitworth University, which won the the West Regional title, and Whitman College, which finished second. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was chosen for a women's team at-large bid.

The National Championships will feature approximately 280 runners in each race. The women's race is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. (EST)/8 a.m. (PST), with the men's race set for 12 p.m. (EST)/9 a.m. (PST).

Matt Parker, who took fifth at the NCAA West Regional, helped Willamette earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

Matt Parker, who took fifth at the NCAA West Regional, helped Willamette earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.