Bearcat Men's Cross Country Team Reaches #15 in National Poll

Willamette Men are #1 and 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 advanced three more positions to #15 in this week's NCAA Division III National Coaches Poll, released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Bearcat moved up 14 spots a week ago to take the #18 ranking.

In addition to begin nationally ranked, the WU men's team also holds the #1 ranking in the West Region. The Willamette women's cross country team is ranked #4 in the West Region.

North Central College (Illinois) continued to hold the #1 ranking and received all eight first place votes in the men's poll for a unanimous score of 280. Washington University (Mo.) stayed at #2 position with 268 points. Allegheny College (Pa.) dropped from a tie for #2 into sole possession of the #3 ranking with 266 points. SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) maintained its #4 ranking and received 256 points. St. Lawrence University (N.Y.) was listed at #5 with 246 points.

Haverford College (Pa.) retained the #6 ranking with 241 points. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point advanced one position to take #7 in the poll with 229 points. Following at #8 was Calvin College (Mich.), which moved up two places from #10 a week ago. Calvin was credited with 219 points.

New York University was #9 with 207 points, while the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was #10 with 206 points. NYU went up two spots and UW-Whitewater made a leap of six spots this week. The largest upward change this week was registered by Williams College (Mass.), which changed from #24 a week ago to #11 now.

Willamette was one of three West Region men's teams included in the national rankings. Claremont-Mudd Scripps (Calif.) moved up two positions to #21 and Colorado College returned to the poll at #24 after not receiving enough votes to be in the Top 35 last week.

In the West Region Men's Rankings, Willamette remained the #1-ranked team. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps continued to be listed at #2, while Colorado College jumped one spot to claim the #3 position. Whitworth University fell one place into the #4 ranking. Lewis & Clark College was ranked #5.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps held the top spot in the West Region Women's Rankings. Whitworth was ranked #2 and Lewis & Clark followed at #3. Willamette was listed as the #4 team with Whittier College (Calif.) ranked #5.

Willamette will split its overall squad in order to compete at the Mike Hodges Invitational at Clackamas Community College on Friday, Oct. 15 as well as the Bill Dellinger Invitational at the University of Oregon on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The Mike Hodges Invitational is set for 3:30 p.m. (PDT) in Oregon City, Ore. The Bill Dellinger Invitational will be held in Eugene, Ore., and will start at 11:45 a.m. (PDT) at Pre’s Trail in Alton Baker Park.

Several of WU's top men's runners will compete in Eugene. The men's 8-kilometer race will include the Bearcats, along with Oregon (#3, NCAA I), University of Portland (#8, NCAA I), University of Wisconsin (#11, NCAA I), Portland State University and University of Guelph from Ontario, Canada. WU will be represented in Oregon City by members of both the men's and women's teams.

Leo Castillo has helped WU earn a #15 national ranking in the NCAA Division III Coaches Poll.

Leo Castillo has helped WU earn a #15 national ranking in the NCAA Division III Coaches Poll.