By Carrie Fox
The Willamette University cross country teams hosted one of the largest meets on the West Coast this weekend, the 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational at Bush’s Pasture Park. Runners traveled from Oregon, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana Washington and British Columbia to compete in four races. The races included the Men’s Cardinal 8-kilometer race, the Women’s Cardinal 5-kilometer race, the Women’s Gold race and the Men’s Gold race. Overall, 31 four-year colleges and universities, eight junior colleges and one club team were represented, with over 700 athletes competing and well over 100 competitors in each race. 16 teams entered in the meet were nationally ranked and three teams received votes in their respective national rankings.
The men’s cross country runners placed first among NCAA Division III teams and sixth overall, while the women’s team placed fourth in the Division III standings and was 10th overall.
Senior Hannah Swanson was sixth overall in the Women’s Cardinal 5-kilometer race and second among Division III runners. Her time of 17:56.5 placed her ninth on Willamette’s all-time list at the 5-kilometer distance. In the Men’s Cardinal 8-kilometer race, sophomore Michael Montague placed 14th overall for the Bearcats and was the second Division III finisher with a time of 25:28.3.
The Cardinal races included athletes from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III. In the overall Men’s Cardinal 8K standings, with a total of 17 teams and 155 runners competed in the race Willamette came in sixth. When the race was separated into DI, DII and DIII results, Willamette came in first in Division III.
Montague was one of two Bearcats who placed in the top 25 overall. Junior Keith Carlson took 20th place in 25:52.3. Freshman Morris Wecker came in at 39th with a time of 26:14.0, freshman Cayce Reese came in 46th at 26:21.6 and Kellen Bulger took 62nd in 26:37.1.
In the Women’s Cardinal 5K in which 18 NCAA women’s teams were represented and 166 runners competed, Willamette took 10th place overall. When the scoring was separated for DI, DII and DIII, the Bearcats came in fourth.
Swanson’s sixth place finish led the Bearcat women’s team in the overall standings. Freshman Kyla Shade came in 59th at 19:18.2, while junior Hazel Carr placed 60th in 19:18.5. Junior Emily Evans earned 68th place with a time of 19:22.3, and sophomore Jamie Smith came in 78th in 19:30.3.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams are scheduled to compete again on Saturday, Oct. 14 at two locations. Many of the Bearcats will compete at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Meet at the Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin which starts at 8:30 a.m. (PDT). The others will participate in the Lewis & Clark Invitational at McIver Park in Estacada, Oregon which is set to begin at 11 a.m. (PDT).