Bearcat Men's Cross Country Team is Ranked #17 in the Nation in NCAA Division III

Willamette Men are #2 and WU Women are #4 in West Region

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's cross country team is ranked #17 in the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country National Coaches' Preseason Poll for the 2010 season. Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., is #1 in the poll with four of eight first place votes.

Willamette placed 20th at the 2009 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships and the Bearcats return many of their top runners. It was Willamette's seventh Top 20 finish since 2001.

Washington (Mo.), which placed seventh in the NCAA last year, leads the men's Preseason Poll with 271 points. North Central College (Illinois) is second with three first place votes and 267 points. NCC won the men's Division III championship in 2009.

Allegheny College (Pa.) holds the #3 ranking with one first place vote and 260 points. Haverford College (Pa.) is listed at #4 with 255 points, while New York University follows at #5 with 249 points.

Rounding out the Top 10 are SUNY Geneseo (N.Y) at #67 with 245 points, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville at #7 with 228 points, Calvin College (Mich) in #8 with 224 points, Brandeis University (Mass.) in #9 with 209 points, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at #10 with 207 points.

Willamette is ranked #17 with 138 points in the poll. The Bearcats are one pont in front of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which is #18.

The Men's National Preseason Poll includes two teams for the West Region in addition to the Bearcats. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) is listed at #14 with 181 points in the poll. Colorado College is ranked #26 with 84 points.

In the West Region Rankings, the Willamette men's team is #2. The WU women's team is ranked #4 in the West Region.

Willamette's cross country teams will open the season on Friday, Sept. 10 at the Pier Park Invitational, hosted by the University of Portland at 4 p.m. (PDT). WU's first home meet is the Willamette Grass Course, set for Friday, Sept. 17 at Bush's Pasture Park. The action will get underway at 2 p.m. (PDT).

The NCAA West Region Cross Country Championships for 2010 will be hosted by Willamette at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Ore., on Saturday, Nov. 13. The women's Regional race will start at 11 a.m. (PDT) and will be followed by the men's race at 12 p.m. (PDT). This year's NCAA National Championships are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20 in Waverly, Iowa.

Senior Stefan Redfield is one of Willamette's top returning cross country runners.

Senior Stefan Redfield is one of Willamette's top returning cross country runners.