Bearcats to Battle for West Region Titles in Cross Country

Races will be Held in Claremont, Calif., on Saturday

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University cross country teams are set to battle for West Region championships this weekend on the Pomona-Pitzer campus in Claremont, Calif. The Bearcat men will be out to win their second consecutive West Region title and eighth title since 2002. Willamette will be seeking its sixth West Region women's title since 2003.

Last year, the Willamette men's team edged out Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by two points to win the West Regional and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships. WU achieved a score of 65, while CMS registered a score of 65.

Stefan Redfield, who graduated this past spring, was Willamette's top finisher at the 20110 West Regional, as he took second place. Returning runner Leo Castillo (Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS), now a senior, earned seventh place and Kevin Aubol (Ellensburg, WA/Ellensburg HS), now a junior, claimed eighth place.

Jackson Brainerd from Colorado College is the defending West Region individual champion. He won the title in 2009 and 2010.

Castillo, Aubol and Ben Donovan (Sr., Minneapolis, MN/South HS) give Willamette a formidable group of top runners. Castillo recently won his second consecutive Northwest Conference individual cross country title, while Donovan placed sixth and Aubol was eighth. Those three runners, along with Parker Bennett (So., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS), all competed at the NCAA National Championships last fall.

The Bearcat men, who finished second in this year's NWC team standings just four points behind Whitworth University, hope to accomplish a repeat of 2010. Last year, Willamette finished behind Whitworth at the NWC Championships, but surged to the West Region title, while the Pirates placed third.

In the current West Region men's rankings, Occidental College holds the #1 position. Whitworth is ranked #2, with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at #3 and Willamette at #4.

The Willamette women's team is ranked #28 in NCAA Division III and will be looking to vault over the other top teams in the West Region. In the most recent Regional Rankings, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was ranked #1, Lewis & Clark College held the #2 spot and Willamette was ranked #3.

Willamette recently finished second behind L&C at the NWC Championships, but the Pioneers won by a slim two-point margin. Theresa Edwards (Jr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) of WU placed third at the NWC meet, while Michaela Freeby (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) was fifth and Kaitlin Greene (Sr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) took sixth.

At last year's West Regional, the Bearcat women's team finished in sixth place. Kimber Mattox (Bend, OR/Bend HS/Cornell Univ.) placed seventh for the Bearcats and is now competing at the University of Oregon as a graduate student. Edwards achieved a 13th place finish. Mattox and Edwards both competes at the 2010 NCAA National Championships.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the 2010 women's team title. The defending women's individual champion is Annie Lydens from Pomona-Pitzer.

For additional information about the West Region, go to the West Regional Cross Country Championships page. You also can go to the Cross Country Championships page at Occidental College, which is hosting the event.

WEST REGIONAL

NCAA Division III
Cross Country
West Region Information

Theresa Edwards took third place at the NWC Championships. Last year, she was 13th at the West Regional.

Theresa Edwards took third place at the NWC Championships. Last year, she was 13th at the West Regional.

Leo Castillo won his second straight NWC title this fall. He placed seventh at last year's West Regional.

Leo Castillo won his second straight NWC title this fall. He placed seventh at last year's West Regional.