Willamette Men's Cross Country Returns to #14 National Ranking

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's cross country team is ranked #14 in NCAA Division III for the second time this season, in rankings released by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday, Nov. 15. The Bearcats moved up 15 places after winning the West Regional title at Bush's Pasture Park on Saturday.

North Central College (Illinois) remains the #1 team in the nation with all eight first place votes and 280 points. Haverford College (Pa.) jumped three spots into the #2 position with 269 points. SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.) retained its #3 ranking with 266 points.

Calvin College (Mich.) stayed at #4 in the this week's rankings after receiving 257 points. Moving up one place into the #5 ranking was St. Lawrence University (N.Y.) with 244 points.

Willamette's move into the Top 15 made the Bearcats the highest ranked team from the West Region. Other West Region teams in this week's list of national rankings are Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which advanced seven positions into a tie for #17, Whitworth University, which fell seven spots into a tie for #22, and Colorado College, which dropped nine spots and is now ranked #28.

All four of the nationally ranked West Region men's teams have qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships, which will be held in Waverly, Iowa, on Saturday, Nov. 20. A total of 32 men's teams will compete for the team title, while a maximum of 280 runners will participate in the 8-kilometer men's race. Willamette's men's team is making its 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships under the guidance of Head Coach Matt McGuirk.

Top finishers for Willamette at the West Regional were Stefan Redfield (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS), Leo Castillo (Jr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) and Kevin Aubol (So., Ellensburg, WA/Ellensburg HS). Redfield took second place, Castillo earned seventh place and Aubol completed the course in eighth place. The Bearcats achieved a team score of 63, to edge out Claremont-Mudd Scripps, which finished with a score of 65.

The men's team will be joined at the NCAA Championships by two members of the WU women's cross country team who received individual bids to compete. They are Kimber Mattox (So., Bend, OR/Bend HS/Cornell Univ.) and Theresa Edwards (So., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS). Mattox placed seventh and Edwards was 13th in the 6-kilometer women's race at the West Regional.

Senior Ryan McLaughlin was one of five Bearcats who contributed to WU's winning team score at the West Regional.

Senior Ryan McLaughlin was one of five Bearcats who contributed to WU's winning team score at the West Regional.