WU Women's Cross Country is Second at West Regional, Qualifies for Nationals

Castillo Places Fourth in Men's Race, Freeby is Ninth in Women's Race

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- The Willamette University women's cross country team took second place at the NCAA Division III West Regional on Saturday, Nov. 12 to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships in Winneconne, Wis., next weekend. Michaela Freeby (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) led Willamette with a ninth place finish.

Runners on the Willamette men's team combined to take fourth place in the team standings. The Bearcats will have to wait until Sunday to find out they receive an at-large team bid to the NCAA Championships.

Leo Castillo (Sr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) of Willamette took fourth place in the individual standings and has clinched at least an individual berth into next week's title race.

The Bearcat women continued their late-season surge.

Two week ago, Willamette took second place at the Northwest Conference Championships, finishing just two points behind Lewis & Clark College. At the time, Willamette was ranked #5 in the West Region, while L&C was #2 and Whitman College was #3. After almost catching L&C at the NWC meet, the Bearcats are now ranked #28 in the nation in NCAA Division III and hold the #3 ranking in the West Region.

At Saturday's West Regional, the Bearcats finished in front of Lewis & Clark and trailed only the Region's #1-ranked team, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.). CMS took first place with a score of 39 to secure one of the two automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Willamette followed in second place with a score of 131 and Whittier College (Calif.) was third at 142. Occidental College (Calif.) placed fourth at 155 and Linfield College rounded out the top five at 160.

Annie Lydens from Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) won the women's individual title with a time of 21:26.11 for the 6-kilometer course. Illana Livstrom of Lewis & Clark was second at 21:33.02 and Breanna Deutsch of CMS was third at 21:37.65. Fourth place went to Emily Thomas from L&C, who completed the race in 21:44.82. Joy Shufeldt from Whitworth was fifth in 21:48.95.

Freeby achieved her ninth place finish with a time of 21:54.12. Kaitlin Greene (Sr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) of Willamette took 14th place as the Bearcats' second finisher in 22:12.83. Theresa Edwards (Jr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) of WU earned 15th place in 22:18.68.

Completing the Bearcats' team score were Amanda Tamanaha (Jr., Honolulu, HI/Saint Andrews Priory School) in 45th place at 23:19.19 and Sarah McSweeney (Sr., Petaluma, CA/Casa Grande HS) in 48th place at 23:20.17. One of the top 12 runners in the race was competing as an individual, so WU's official team scoring was 9-13-14-44-47.

Colorado College and Occidental College tied for first place in the men's race with scores of 76. Both teams received automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps took third with a score of 83. Willamette was fourth at 95 and Pomona-Pitzer completed the top five with a score of 130. Whitworth, which won the NWC team title earlier this fall, placed sixth at the Regional.

Jackson Brainerd from Colorado College won his third consecutive West Region individual title in the men's race. He registered a time of 24:43.38. Rafer Dannenhauer from CMS was second at 24:59.65 and Eric Kleinsasser of Occidental was third at 25:02.04. Castillo of Willamette claimed fourth place in 25:09.68, while Robby Casseria of Colorado College took fifth place in 25:12.75.

Finishing next for the Bearcats was Kevin Aubol (Jr., Ellensburg, WA/Ellensburg HS), who achieved 13th place with a time of 25:41.42. Aubol will find out on Sunday if he receives an individual berth to the NCAA Championships if Willamette does not receive an at-large team bid.

Ben Donovan (Sr., Minneapolis, MN/South HS) of Willamette placed 21st overall in 26:11.77 while teammate Kit Kingstad (So., Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS) took 23rd in 26:17.10. Parker Bennett (So., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) finished 34th at 26:17.19.

RESULTS

NCAA Division III
West Regional Cross Country
At Claremont, Calif.
Nov. 12, 2011

Michaela Freeby placed ninth in the women's race to lead the Bearcats to a second place finish.

Michaela Freeby placed ninth in the women's race to lead the Bearcats to a second place finish.

Leo Castillo took fourth place in the men's race and will compete at the NCAA Championships.

Leo Castillo took fourth place in the men's race and will compete at the NCAA Championships.