Bearcats Prepare for 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational

Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS)
Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University cross country teams are ready to host one of the largest cross country meets on the West Coast this weekend, as the 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational is set for Saturday, Sept. 30 at Bush's Pasture Park. Runners from throughout the western United States and Canada will be competing in four races. There will be 31 four-year colleges and universities represented, along with eight junior colleges and one club team. This year's four races will include a total of over 700 athletes, with well over 100 competitors in each race.

Former Willamette head coach Charles Bowles died in 2005, but his commitment to cross country still has an impact at this meet each year. The Bearcats are proud to continue the tradition again this season.

Action will get underway with the Men's Cardinal 8-kilometer race at 9:30 a.m. (PDT). The race will include teams from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III. The Women's Cardinal 5-kilometer race is scheduled to begin at 10:20 a.m. with teams from all three NCAA Divisions.

Following the Women's Cardinal race, the focus will shift to NAIA, junior college and club teams with the Men's Gold 8-kilometer race and the Women's Gold 5-kilometer race. The Men's Gold race is set to begin at 11 a.m., with the Women's Gold race scheduled for 11:50 a.m.

Most of the colleges and universities will compete in a men's race and a women's race. The exceptions are University of Hawaii and Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.), which will be participating in women's races only.

This year, teams are traveling to Salem from six states and one Canadian province. The competing teams are from Oregon, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Washington and British Columbia. There are 16 teams entered in the meet that are nationally ranked. An additional three teams received votes in their respective national rankings.

Four teams are nationally ranked in the Men's Cardinal 8-kilometer race. They are the University of Portland at #18  and Boise State University at #26 in this week's NCAA Division I Poll, plus Western Oregon University, listed at #16 in NCAA Division II, and Willamette at #35 in NCAA Division III. Several of the Division III men's teams are ranked in the West Region, with Willamette at #4, Lewis & Clark College at #5, Whitworth University at #9 and Pacific Lutheran University at #10.

Willamette's top runners entering the Men's Cardinal 8K race are Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS), Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy), Morris Wecker (Fr., Missoula, MT/Hellgate HS) and Cayce Reese (Fr., Louisville, CO/Monarch HS). Last year, the Bearcats placed third at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational and later won their fifth consecutive Northwest Conference team title. Carlson placed 27th at the Willamette Invitational, while Montague was 39th out of 168 runners.

The Women's Cardinal 5-kilometer race will feature two nationally ranked teams in Bosie State, ranked #13 in NCAA Division I, and Whitworth University, ranked #20 in NCAA Division III. In addition, University of Portland received votes in this week's NCAA Division I Poll. The West Region rankings for NCAA Division III have five teams entered in the Women's Cardinal race. They are Whitworth at #2, Linfield College at #5, University of Puget Sound at #7, George Fox University at #8 and Whitman at #9.

Runners who will lead the Bearcats in the Women's Cardinal 5K race include Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS), Emily Evans (Jr., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS), Maggie Chapin (So., Buffalo, WY/Buffalo HS) and Jamie Smith (So., Seattle, WA/Ballard HS). A year ago, Swanson took 11th place at the Willamette Invitational.

There will be five ranked teams from the NAIA in the Men's Gold 8-kilometer race, including University of British Columbia at #3, Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) at #4, Eastern Oregon University at #8, Northwest Christian University (Ore.) at #18 and Oregon Institute of Technology at #23. Carroll College (Mont.) received votes in the poll, but was ranked.

Competing in the Women's Gold 5-kilometer race will be five nationally ranked NAIA teams. British Columbia is ranked #1 in the NAIA< with Oregon Tech at #11, Carroll at #13, Corban Univrersity at #21 and Lewis-Clark State at #22. Northwest Christian received votes, but fell out of this week's poll.

Admission to the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational is free. Spectators are asked to be cautious near the course and to avoid interfering with participants. Although most of the course will take runners through Bush's Pasture Park, all of the races will finish inside McCulloch Stadium.

43ed Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
Bush's Pasture Park, Salem, Ore.

Schedule of Events

9:30 a.m. - Men's Cardinal 8K Race
NCAA Divisions I, II, III

10:20 a.m. - Women's Cardinal 5K Race
NCAA Divisions I, II, III

11:00 a.m. - Men's Gold 8K Race
NAIA, Junior Colleges, club teams, unattached

11:50 a.m. - Women's Gold 5K Race
NAIA, Junior Colleges, club teams, unattached

Participating Teams
(Men and Women unless otherwise indicated)

NCAA Division I
Boise State University (Idaho)
University of Hawaii - women
University of Portland
Portland State University
Seattle University

NCAA Division II
Concordia University (Ore.)
Humboldt State University (Calif.)
Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) - women
Saint Martin's University (Wash.)
Seattle Pacific University (Wash.)
Western Oregon University

NCAA Division III
George Fox University
Lewis & Clark College
Linfield College
Pacific Lutheran University
University of Puget Sound
Whitman College
Whitworth University
Willamette University

University of British Columbia
Carroll College (Mont.)
Corban University
Eastern Oregon University
Lewis-Clark State College
Multnomah University (Ore.)
Northwest Christian University (Ore.)
Northwest University (Wash.)
Oregon Institute of Technology
University of Providence (Mont.)
Simpson College (Calif.)
University of Victoria (B.C.)

Junior Colleges
Clackamas Community College (Ore.)
Clark College (Wash.)
Lane Community College (Ore.)
Mount Hood Community College (Ore.)
Mount San Antonio College (Calif.)
Community Colleges of Spokane (Wash.)
Southwestern Oregon Community College
Treasure Valley Community College (Ore.)

University of Oregon Running Club