Willamette Cross Country Teams are Ready for 2010 Season

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country teams are set for the start of the 2010 season. The Bearcats will compete for the first time on Friday, Sept. 10 at the Pier Park Invitational, hosted by the University of Portland, starting at 4 p.m. (PDT).

Last year, the Willamette men's team won the Northwest Conference title for the eighth time in nine years. The Bearcats also placed second at the NCAA West Regional and finished 20th in the team standings at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Highland Hills, Ohio. Head Coach Matt McGuirk was named NWC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year for the seventh time (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009).

Six of the seven runners who competed for Willamette at the NCAA Championships have returned. Among those returning is Stefan Redfield (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS), who placed 58th in the nation (42nd among scorers).

Also returning for the Bearcats after participating in the NCAA meet in 2009 are Matt Parker (Sr., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), Leo Castillo (Jr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS), Ben Donovan (Jr., Minneapolis, MN/South HS), Nicholas Rebol (Sr., Cottonwood, CA/Red Bluff Union HS) and Ryan McLaughlin (Sr., Milwaukie, OR/Milwaukie HS).

Parker, Redfield, Castillo and Rebol each received All-West Region honors last season. All four earned All-NWC recognition as well, with Castillo, Parker and Redfield on the First Team and Rebol on the Second Team.

The Bearcats have a total of 19 runners on the men's roster. Willamette's overall strength and depth have combined to gain the Bearcats a #17 national ranking in the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). In the West Region rankings, the Willamette men are ranked #2 behind Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Also ranked in the West Region is Willamette's women's team, which currently holds the #4 ranking. The Bearcats have six of seven runners back on the women's team who participated at the NCAA West Regional last season.

WU's top finisher at the Regional, Tina Patel '10 (Bend, OR/Summit HS) graduated after placing ninth in the West Region and competing at the NCAA Championships. The list of returning runners is led by Kimber Mattox (Jr., Bend, OR/Bend HS/Cornell Univ.), who placed sixth in the NWC and 15th at the West Region meet. Mattox was named First Team All-NWC and was chosen All-West Region.

Other athletes on the 2010 WU women's team who competed at the West Regional last year are Kaitlin Greene (Jr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS), Amanda Tamanaha (So., Honolulu, HI/St. Andrews Priory), Alisha Till (So., Richland, WA/Richland HS), Theresa Edwards (So., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) and Megan Horning (Sr., Page, AZ/Page HS). Overall, there are 16 runners on the Bearcat women's team.

The Bearcats have won eight NWC men's titles and eight NWC women's championships since 2000. Willamette also has achieved six NCAA West Region men's championships and five NCAA West Region women's titles since 2002.

Stefan Redfield earned All-West Region honors and was Willamette's top finisher at the NCAA Championships in 2009.

Stefan Redfield earned All-West Region honors and was Willamette's top finisher at the NCAA Championships in 2009.

Kimber Mattox placed sixth in the NWC and 15th at the NCAA West Regional last fall.

Kimber Mattox placed sixth in the NWC and 15th at the NCAA West Regional last fall.