Sunday, November 22, 2015

WWU's Guenther earns All-America status & leads Vikings to program-best 6th place finish...

While paulmerca.blogspot.com was frantically scrambling for options after a flight cancellation out of Louisville Saturday night, we neglected to post the results of the Division II and III championship meets Saturday in Joplin, Missouri, and Wausau, Wisconsin, respectively.

Here’s how it went:

In Joplin, Western Washington’s women’s team, which entered the championships ranked #8 in the country among Division II schools in the final USTFCCCA coaches’ poll, scored a program best with their sixth place finish Saturday, led by Taylor Guenther’s (left/photo by Paul Merca) 26th place finish, giving the junior from Vancouver’s Prairie HS All-American status.

Behind her, Tracy Melville finished 52nd (21:41), followed by Brittany Grant in 79th (22:02), Sara Taferre in 104th (22:15), while Lillianna Stelling rounded out the Viking scorers in 114th (22:20) to give the team 307 points.

"I am so proud of how the ladies raced today,” said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell They worked so hard all season and today they left it all out on the course and made history. They ran hard, ran determined and the results show that. What a day to be a Viking!"

"I am so proud of Taylor to end her cross country career as an All-American," added Halsell. "She was the rock of our program and worked so hard to get this point. There was a lot of work that went into this and nobody deserves or earned it more than Taylor."

Seattle Pacific, the country’s #20 team, finished 14th, despite what senior Anna Patti described as a personally disappointing result for herself, as she was the Falcons’ top finisher in 62nd in 21:48.

Behind her was Sarah Macdonald (65, 21:51), Mary Charleston (99, 22:13), Hannah Calvert (128, 22:33), and Lynelle Decker (131, 22:35) to give SPU 398 points.

In a very tight finish, Alexis Zeis won the national crown, as the sophomore from the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) ran 20:04 (20:03.4) to nose out Kendra Foley of Grand Valley State (Michigan), who ran 20:04 (20:03.7).

Adams State (Colorado) took the women’s team crown with a low score of 83 points.

In Winneconne, Wisconsin, just outside of Oshkosh, the Whitworth Pirates women’s team, ranked #14 in the final regular season poll, finished 20th with 507 points, led by Allison Wood’s 85th place finish in 22:17 for 6k.

Abrah Masterson on Cornell College won in 21:24, while Williams College won the national crown with 81 points.

In the men’s race, West regional champion Tyler Shipley of Puget Sound finished 102nd (25:33) and was the top runner from the state of Washington among the three D3 schools who had athletes qualified, as no school from the state qualified a team.


NOTE: Western Washington University, Seattle Pacific, and the University of Puget Sound contributed to this report.

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