By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University athletes Patrick Loftus (Jr., Santa Rosa, CA/Sonoma Academy) and Olivia Mancl (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) have been selected to compete at the 2016 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Louisville, Kentucky. The championship races will be held at Sawyer State Park.
The NCAA Championships will begin with the women's 6-kilometer race at 11 a.m. EST/8 a.m. PST. The men's 8-kilometer race will start at 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST.
Loftus and Mancl were selected to participate in the national championships as individuals based on their strong finishes at the NCAA West Region Cross Country Championships on Nov. 12 at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon. Loftus took eighth place in the men's race in 26:10.5. Mancl was second in the women's race for the second year in a row. She registered a time of 21:42.7.
Each race at the NCAA Championships will include 32 teams and approximately 280 runners. Last year, Mancl earned All-America honors by taking second place in the women's race. Loftus was 144th in the men's race in his first time competing at the NCAA meet.
The top two men's teams and the top two women's teams in each of the eight NCAA regions received automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. Additional teams were eligible for a total of 16 men's at-large bids and 16 women's at-large bids.
Automatic bids in the West Region went to the men's teams from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) and Occidental College (Calif.) and the women's teams from Whitworth University and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Men's at-large bids went to Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) and Whittier College (Calif.). The women's team from Colorado College also received an at-large bid.
In addition, the top seven individual runners in each regional race who were not on a qualifying team received individual bids to the NCAA Championships.
Joining Loftus with individual bids from the West Region men's race were Brad Hodkinson from Pacific Lutheran University, Liam Monheim from Lewis & Clark College, Peter Callan from Colorado College, Blake Slattengren from Lewis & Clark, Paul Colosi from University of California, Santa Cruz, and Abhinav Nagpal from University of Redlands (Calif.). Hodkinson won the West Region men's individual title.
Maya Weigel from Pomona-Pitzer finished first in the West Region women's race for the third season in a row. Weigel and Mancl will be joined at the NCAA Championships by fellow West Region runners Stephanie Spencer from Pacific University, Julissa Tobias from Whittier, Shannon McClish from UC Santa Cruz, Roxanne Valle from Occidental, and Lauren Hamilton from Pomona-Pitzer.