Willamette Cross Country Receives USTFCCCA Team Academic Awards

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country teams have been honored for their academic success by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) with both squads receiving All-Academic status for the 2011 season.

A total of 187 women’s track and field teams and 131 men’s track and field teams in NCAA Division III were selected for the All-Academic award. Each squad had to earn at least a 3.1 cumulative team grade point average and compete at an NCAA Regional with at least five runners in order to achieve All-Academic status.

The Bearcat women's team achieved a 3.47 cumulative team GPA. Runners on the Willamette men's team earned a 3.22 cumulative team GPA.

Scholar Team of the Year honors went to the Washington University (Mo.) women's team and to the Haverford College (Pa.) men's team. Each year, the award goes to the teams earning All-Academic status that place highest at the NCAA Championships. The Washington women's team won the NCAA title and earned a 3.70 GPA. Haverford's men finished in second place at the NCAA Championships and achieved a 3.48 GPA.

Both of Willamette's teams placed second in the Northwest Conference. The WU women's team also took second place at the West Regional, and attained 29th place at the NCAA Division III Championships.

Elizabeth Edwards (Jr., Lake Tapps, WA/Bonney Lake HS) placed third in the women's race at the NWC Championships, while Michaela Freeby (Fr., Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) was fifth and Kaitlin Greene (Sr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) took sixth. At the West Regional, Freeby finished in ninth place, Green was 14th and Edwards was 14th.

For the Willamette men's squad, Leo Castillo (Sr., Parkdale, OR/Hood River Valley HS) won his second consecutive NWC individual title. Ben Donovan (Sr., Minneapolis, MN/South HS) placed sixth in the NWC, while Kevin Aubol (Jr., Ellensburg, WA/Ellensburg HS) earned eighth place. Castillo led the Bearcats at the West Regional with a fourth place finish, while Aubol took 13th and Donovan was 21st. Castillo and Aubol competed as individuals at the NCAA Championships.

Leo Castillo won his second straight NWC individual title in 2011. He placed fourth at the West Regional.

Leo Castillo won his second straight NWC individual title in 2011. He placed fourth at the West Regional.