Willamette Men Finish Second at West Regional, will Compete at NCAA Championships

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- Led by a fifth place individual finish from junior Matt Parker (Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), the Willamette University men's cross country team took second place at the NCAA Division III West Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 14. With the second place finish, Willamette's men received an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III National Championships next weekend (Nov. 21) in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Willamette women's team took seventh place at the West Regional. Tina Patel (Jr., Bend, OR/Summit HS) of Willamette, who placed ninth at the Regional, clinched an individual at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

Parker earned his fifth place finish (fourth among scorers) with a time of 25:51.52 over the 8-kilometer men's course. He was just 5.03 seconds out of third place and about 25 seconds out of the lead.

The individual men's champion was Jackson Brainerd of Colorado College, who won by 0.16 seconds over Eric Kleinsasser of Occidental College (Calif.), who took second. Brainerd was timed at 25:26.65 and Kleinsasser crossed the finish line in 25:26.81.

Francis Reynolds, the Northwest Conference champion from the University of Puget Sound, placed third with a time of 25:46.49. Kramer Straube of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was fourth at 25:49.09.

In addition to Parker, Willamette runners in the top 15 for the Bearcats were Stefan Redfield (Jr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) in eighth place at 26:00.05 and Leo Castillo (So., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) in 13th place in 26:16.52.

Chris Platano (Sr., Myrtle Point, OR/Myrtle Point HS) of Willamette placed 20th with a time of 26:29.85. Nick Rebol (Jr., Cottonwood, CA/Red Bluff Union HS) was 23rd in 26:41.82. Ryan McLaughlin (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Milwaukie HS) placed 36th, as he clocked in at 27:12.24. The top 35 finishers in each race earned All-West Region honors.

In the race for the men's team title, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps finished first with a score of 50 points. Willamette followed 14 points behind with a score of 64. Among scorers, WU's top five runners placed 4-7-12-19-22.

Colorado College was third at 93 points, while Whitworth University placed fourth with 95 and Pomona-Pitzer took fifth with 121. The top two teams earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, while the third through fifth place teams are still alive for at-large berths.

In the women's race, the champion was Alicia Freese from Pomona-Pitzer with a time of 22:07.60 over the 6-kilometer course. Jennifer Tave of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps placed second in 22:10.70, just barely edging out Dana Misterek of Whitworth, who took third in 22:10.74. Marci Klimak of Linfield College was fourth at 22:23.08 and Michele Callaway of Whittier was fifth at 22:27.77.

Patel recorded ninth place with a time of 22:54.23. Kimber Mattox (So., Bend, OR/Bend HS/Cornell Univ.) was Willamette's second runner to cross the finish line. She took 15th place in 23:13.81. Patel and Mattox received All-West Region recognition.

Kaitlin Greene (So., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) was 40th in 24:12.17 and Amanda Tamanaha (Fr., Honolulu, HI/St. Andrews Priory) was 44th in 24:15.54. Alisha Till (Fr., Richland, WA/Richland HS) placed 57th with a time of 24:43.25.

Whitworth won the women's team title with a score of 49. Whitman College placed second at 108. Whitworth and Whitman earned automatic bids to the NCAA National Championships.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was third at 128, Pomona-Pitzer was fourth with a score of 130 and Occidental was fifth with a score of 132. Linfield took sixth at 144 and Willamette was seventh at 161.

After the team at-large berths are filled on Sunday, Nov. 15, the top seven runners from each Regional who are not on selected teams will receive individual bids. If CMS and Pomona earn women's team at-large bids, Mattox will join Patel as a national qualifier for the Bearcats.

NCAA West Regional Championships
Pomona-Pitzer, Claremont, Calif.
Nov. 14, 2009
Matt Parker of Willamette took fifth place in the men's race, helping the Bearcats finish second in the team standings.

Matt Parker of Willamette took fifth place in the men's race, helping the Bearcats finish second in the team standings.

Tina Patel secured an individual bid to the NCAA Championships by placing ninth at the West Regional.

Tina Patel secured an individual bid to the NCAA Championships by placing ninth at the West Regional.