Saturday, November 4, 2017

Western Washington teams finish eighth at NCAA West Regionals; Wise top finisher...

MONMOUTH, Oregon—Western Washington’s Andrew Wise (left/photo by Paul Merca) had the top finish by a Washington runner at Saturday’s NCAA Division II West Regional cross country championships at Ash Creek Preserve on a cool, overcast day.

Wise, who finished tenth at the GNAC championships in Bellingham two weeks ago, was in a large lead group of ten runners past the 5k mark of the 10k race, but saw his chances to earn a qualifying spot slip away over the last 3k, ultimately finishing 14th in a time of 30:31.

Central Washington finished 16th with 458 points, led by Corbin Carlton in 77th place in 32:00.

Seattle Pacific was 25th with 620 points, as Peder Rickbell was their top finisher in 73rd place, running 31:58.

Saint Martin’s was 27th in the 27-team field with 758 points, as Josh Hunt led the way in 105th place in 32:36.

GNAC champion David Ribich gave host Western Oregon a thrill, as he pulled away in the last 400 meters to win the race in 29:50, eight seconds up on runner-up Kyle Medina of Chico State.

Chico State (55), Cal Baptist (84), and GNAC champ Western Oregon (121, 3-2 tiebreaker over Simon Fraser) earned the three automatic qualifying spots for the national championships in Evansville, Indiana in two weeks.

In the women’s 6k race, the biggest surprise of the day was that Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson, who was second at the GNAC championships in Bellingham two weeks ago, and was thought to have a solid chance of qualifying for the NCAA championships as an individual, was never a factor.

Charleson finished 71st in 22:48, more than a minute slower than what she ran at the conference championship.

Western Washington, which finished third at the GNACs, finished eighth with a score of 257 points, led by Lilliana Stelling, who was 38th in 22:06.

Seattle Pacfic was 13th with 332 points, as Alyssa Foote led the way in 47th in a time of 22:17.

Central Washington was 15th with 378 points, led by GNAC 10000m champ Alexa Shindruk in 18th place in 21:41, the highest individual placing by a runner from the four Washington schools.

Saint Martin’s was 27th in the 30-team field with 753 points, as Yadira Lopez led the way for the Saints in 66th place in 22:37.

Caroline Kurgat, the GNAC champ from Alaska Anchorage, dominated the field as she did two weeks ago in Bellingham, winning in a course record 20:27.

Cal Baptist (68), Alaska Anchorage (84), and Chico State (105) claimed the three automatic spots for the NCAA D2 championship meet in Evansville, Indiana in two weeks.

The announcement of the eight additional men’s and women’s teams from around the country earning at-large spots in the national championships, plus the names of the individual qualifiers, is set for Monday.


NOTE:  The sports information office of Western Oregon University and the NCAA contributed to this report.

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