BILLINGS, Montana—Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter (above, #320/photo courtesy Saint Martin’s University) and Western Washington’s Isaac Derline were the lone bright spots for Washington’s four Division II schools competing at the NCAA West Regional Cross Country championships at Amend Park, as they most likely punched their tickets to the national championships in St. Leo, Florida in two weeks.
In the women’s 6k race, Porter was in the lead group of about nine runners and hung on to run a solid time of 21:17, as Laura Aceves of Cal State San Bernadino won the regional title in a time of 20:56, four seconds ahead of Alaska Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat, who took second in the meet for the second year in a row.
Both Seattle Pacific and Western Washington, which finished third and fourth in the GNAC championship meet, and were expected to contend for one of the six spots for the national championships, were never factors in the race.
The Vikings finished eighth with a score of 286 points, with Cal Baptist getting the sixth and final berth to the nationals with 185 points. Western was led by Lillianna Stelling, who finished 21st in a time of 22:01.
Central Washington, which finished sixth at the GNAC meet, took 14th with 392 points, led by Alexa Shindruk, who was 52nd in 22:43.
Saint Martin’s was 15th with 401 points, while the Falcons of Seattle Pacific were a disappointing 16th with 407 points, led by Sarah Macdonald in 33rd place in 22:20.
Chico State won the women’s regional title, placing all five scoring runners in the top 25 with a score of 70 points, followed by GNAC runner-up Simon Fraser’s 103, and GNAC champ Alaska Anchorage’s 111.
In the men’s 10k championship race, Western’s Isaac Derline was in a group of six runners that came in together after winner William Reyes of Chico State, who ran 29:46 to take the win. Derline was fifth in 30:09, just a second behind GNAC champ Edwin Kangogo of Alaska Anchorage.
The Vikings finished seventh with 168 points, 12 short of fifth place Cal Baptist and the final spot to the national championships.
Central Washington finished 11th with 397 points, led by Josh Boston in 62nd with a time of 32:00, while Saint Martin’s finished 23rd with 582 points, led by Josiah Shelman in 98th place in 32:58. Seattle Pacific did not send a men’s team to the regionals.
Saint Martin’s Porter in third place was the second individual across the line not on a qualifying team, while Western’s Derline was the first individual runner not on a qualifying team. The official announcement of individual qualifiers for the NCAA championship meet will be made on Monday.
NOTE: The GNAC, and the sports information offices of Saint Martin’s, Western Washington, and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.