Jarin Kobashigawa, Sports Editor
This past Friday, the Willamette cross country team had their first competition in Monmouth, Oregon. They competed in the Ash Creek Invitational which was hosted by Division II college, Western Oregon University.
Highlights from the women’s race include senior, Hazel Carr, from Seattle, Washington taking first place in the five-kilometer race, completing it in 19:30.6. Hannah Clarizo of the rival school, Corban University, achieved second place 24 seconds after Carr. Maggie Chapin, a junior from Buffalo, Wyoming was the next runner to finish for the Bearcats, taking sixth place with a time of 20:11.1. Sophomore, Risa Shutz finished in 22:00:0 on the dot, and first-year Dana Hamilton finished strong in her first race as a Bearcat coming in at 22:05:60. Lastly, junor Kyla Shade completed her run in 22:26:20.
The women’s team effort was cumulatively not enough to capture the title, nonetheless they did compete very well against some quality athletes. Western Oregon took first place with a score of 42 and Corban took second place with 45. WU, with a team score of 86, managed to outdo Concordia University (93), Walla Walla University (110) and Linfield College (119) to claim third place.
For those of you who are not familiar with how cross country is scored, this is how it works. The score represents the points that are accumulated from the top five runners from a school. The objective is to have the lowest combined score. A perfect score would be 15 points where a school’s top five runners place first, second, third, fourth and fifth.
As for the seven-kilometer men’s division, Keith Carlson, the senior from Bainbridge Island, Washington finished first for Willamette and third in the overall race with a time of 21:14:90. Junior Michael Montague finished subsequently to Carlson taking fourth place with a time of 21:33:80. The next runner for WU, Alex Matteson, finished in 13th in 22:27:90 for his first race as a Bearcat. Additionally, senior Robbie Melhorn took 17th in 23:03:20, and first-year Carson Herrick took 19th in 23:13:90.
This past weekend, Western Oregon University’s (WOU) men’s team, given that they were running on their home field, dominated the men’s division. The runners from WOU recorded seven of the top 10 finishers to finalize their score at 21. Willamette placed second, with a score of 46 in front of Clackamas Community College (122), Walla Walla, (131), Concordia (169), Corban, (171) and Clark College (172).
“The Ash Creek Invitational is a rust buster, it was nice to get it out of the way. I think it’s a good learning experience for the freshmen because they can run in a competitive environment that doesn’t necessarily have high stakes,” said junior Michael Montague, in regards to how the race went. “We have a solid coaching staff and an exceptional cross country program that has a formula for success,” Montague said.
“We expect great things from the men’s and women’s teams this year. We set the bar high going into the race, but after our performance I think we can raise the bar even higher,” he explained.
The cross country team will compete in another meet this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Augsburg Invitational in Bloomington, Minnesota. Augsburg University will host the meet at the Highland Greens Golf Course.