By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University men's and women's cross country schedule for 2017 has been released by Head Coach Matt McGuirk. Willamette is set to compete in five regular season meets, plus the NWC Championships, the NCAA Division III West Regional, and hopefully, the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Bearcats will be seeking their 25th NWC team championship in men's cross country as well as their 11th NWC team title in women's cross country. Willamette has won five consecutive NWC men's titles (2012-16). The Bearcats registered NWC women's championships in 2013 and 2014.
Willamette has consistently been represented by teams or individuals at the NCAA Championships. Last year, Olivia Mancl (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) and Patrick Loftus (Jr., Santa Rosa, CA/Sonoma Academy) represented the Bearcats at the national meet.
Mancl earned All-America honors for the second year in a row by placing 13th at the NCAA Championships. She placed second in the nation in 2015.
The WU women's team took 10th place at the NCAA Championships in 2015. That same year, the Bearcat men's team placed 28th in the nation.
Willamette will open the 2017 season at the Ash Creek Preserve Invitational, hosted by Western Oregon University on Friday, Sept. 8.
Just over a week later, on Saturday, Sept. 16, the Bearcats will run at the St. Olaf Invitational in Northfield, Minnesota.
The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 30 by hosting the 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon. The first of four races will begin at 9:30 a.m. (PDT). The schedule includes two Cardinal Races for NCAA men's and women's teams and two Gold Races for NAIA and two-year college men's and women's teams, plus club teams and unattached runners.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Bearcats will compete at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational at Lake Breeze Gold Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin. Willamette has participated in this prestigious meet several times in recent years.
Also on Oct. 14, Willamette runners will participate in the Lewis & Clark Invitational at McIver Park in Estacada, Oregon.
Willamette and the other eight Northwest Conference members will battle at the NWC Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28. Whitman College will host the meet at Veterans Memorial Golf Course in Walla Walla, Washington.
The NCAA Division III West Regional is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 11 and will be hosted by Occidental College. The meet will be held at the Pomona College Campus Course in Claremont-California.
Concluding the season will be the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, set for Saturday, Nov. 18 in Elsah, Illinois. Action will take place at the North Farm Cross Country Facility, with Principia College (Ill.) hosting the meet. Teams and individuals qualify for the NCAA Championships as a result of their performances during NCAA regional competition.