Washington's four Division II schools--Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Central Washington, and Saint Martin's--are in Spokane for Saturday's NCAA Division II West Regionals at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex where they hope to earn a trip back in two weeks to run in the NCAA national championship race.
Action gets under way at 10:30 with the women's 6k championship race, followed by the men's 10k at 11:30.
At stake are five men's team berths and five women's team berths in the NCAA Division II National Championships, Nov. 23 at Plantes Ferry. In addition, the top three male and female athletes not on one of the qualifying teams will also return to Spokane for the national meet.
Chico State is the defending men's and women's team champion, but GNAC champion Alaska Anchorage swept both titles two years ago at Plantes Ferry.
Westen Washington's men's squad and Seattle Pacific's women's team are the two squads with the best chances to return to Spokane.
The WWU men placed second two weeks ago at the GNAC Championships, being outscored by just three points, 32 to 35, after having a perfect score at its own invitational two weeks before.
The Vikings are led by senior Chip Jackson (above, #90/photo courtesy GNAC), who led the team at conference by placing fourth.
He's joined by Tanner Boyd, Tabor Reedy, Nathan Richards, and Jonathan Quimby, all of whom finished in the top ten at the GNAC championships two weeks ago in Monmouth, Oregon.
Western is looking to make a seventh straight trip to the NCAA title meet.
For the Seattle Pacific women's team, it's all about finishing among the top five teams. Realistically, that means going for the No. 4 or No. 5 spot, because the top three places are likely to be occupied by Alaska Anchorage, Chico State, and Simon Fraser – perhaps, though not necessarily, in that order.
It'll be SPU and essentially four other schools – Cal State Stanislaus, Cal Poly Pomona, UC San Diego, and Western Washington – going for the last two places.
The Falcons are looking to replicate their GNAC performance, in which they had a 1-5 split of 25 seconds, led by soph Anna Patti, senior McKayla Fricker, frosh Sarah Macdonald & Hannah Calvert, and soph Lynelle Decker, all of whom placed in the top 25 at GNACs.
Courtesy of SPU Athletics, here's a video interview with Decker, as she gives her thoughts on Saturday's regional championships.
One individual to look for is CalBaptist's Bryton Reim, as the Mukilteo native, who started at Everett CC, won the PacWest conference title, and earned a USTFCCCA national athlete of the week award for his efforts.
BREWER NAMED HEAD TRACK/CROSS COUNTRY COACH AT SAINT MARTIN'S
Jim Brewer (above/photo courtesy Concordia University-Irvine Athletics) has been named head men's and women's cross country and track & field coach at Saint Martin's University becoming the fourth head coach in program history.
A 20-year veteran of the coaching ranks at both the high school and collegiate level, he joins SMU having served as the head cross country and track & field coach at Concordia University-Irvine, a NAIA Division I program in California, for the past two years.
During his time coaching at CUI, Brewer coached the women's cross country team to an 11th place finish at the 2012 NAIA Championships. In two years with the Eagles he had 42 national qualifiers and nine All-Americans. Most notably last spring a total of 16 athletes qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Brewer worked at the Division II level as a volunteer assistant coach at Western Washington on two separate occasions: 1996-97 and 2003-07. He was a part of helping coach three cross country teams to the national championships.
A successful collegiate runner in his own right he competed at Western Washington from 1993 to 1996. During that time he earned All-American honors at the 1994 NAIA Cross Country Championships and was a five-time national qualifier (3 cross country, 2 track & field).
NOTE: The GNAC, and the sports information offices of Western Washington, Saint Martin's and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.