Bearcats Place First in Division III men's standings at Willamette Invitational

Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy)
Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University men's cross country runners placed first among NCAA Division III teams and sixth overall at the 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational, held at Bush's Pasture Park on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Bearcat women's team placed fourth in the Division III standings and was 10th overall.

Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) of Willamette was sixth overall in the Women's Cardinal 5-kilometer race. She was second among Division III runners. Swanson's time of 17:56.5 placed her ninth on Willamette's all-time list at the 5-kilometer distance. In the Men's Cardinal 8-kilometer race, Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) placed 14th overall for the Bearcats and was the second Division III finisher with a time of 25:28.3.

The Cardinal races included athletes from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III. In the overall Men's Cardinal 8K standings, University of Portland took first place with a score of 59 (5-7-11-156-21). Seattle University (Wash.) was second at 79 and Boise State University (Idaho) placed third at 127. Portland State University claimed fourth place at 163, with Pacific Lutheran University in fifth at 176 and Willamette in sixth at 180. Lewis & Clark College took seventh at 191, Concordia University (Ore.) was eighth at 192, Seattle Pacific University (Wash.) was ninth at 216 and Humboldt State University (Calif.) placed 10th at 227. A total of 17 teams and 155 runners competed in the race.

When the race was separated into DI, DII and DIII results, the winners were Portland in Division I with a score of 42, Seattle Pacific in Division II with a score of 47 and Willamette in Division III with a score of 56. Pacific Lutheran, which edged out WU for fifth place by four points in the overall standings, placed second in the Division III results at 59.

Montague was one of two Bearcats who placed in the top 25 overall. Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) of WU took 20th place in 25:52.3. Morris Wecker (Fr., Missoula, MT/Hellgate HS) was 39th at 26:14.0, Cayce Reese (Fr., Louisville, CO/Monarch HS) was 46th at 26:21.6 and Kellen Bulger (So., Spokane, WA/Ferris HS) took 62nd in 26:37.1.

"I thought there was some really good competition at the meet today," Montague said. "In practice we have been talking about running smart races and planning when we were going to make moves. Individually and as a team, we executed that well. We have a lot of talent on the team, but we also work hard, and I think that it shows. We have a target on our back as we have won the conference meet a few years in a row, and it's just motivation for us to train harder."

Montague didn't have to wait long after he crossed the finish line to see Carlson become the second Bearcat to complete the race.

"Keith finished ahead of me in our last race," Montague said. "Since I was ahead in this race, it shows that we have depth on our team and anyone can do well on any given day."

Brad Hodkingson of PLU won the Men's Cardinal 8K race in 24:48.3. He passed Alejandro Cisneros of Portland State University on the final half mile. Cisneros took second place in 24:53.9. Noah Horsburgh from Boise State was third at 25:02.4 and Jeff Lautenslager, also from BSU, was fourth in 25:06.2. Henry Hayes of Portland finished fifth at 25:14.1.

Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) The overall Women's Cardinal 5K standings were topped by Humboldt State with a score of 65 (5-8-1013-29). Seattle Pacific placed second at 94 and Seattle University was third at 112. Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) was fourth with a score of 119, and Whitworth University placed fifth at 159. Linfield College took sixth at 179, with Boise State in seventh at 192, Portland State in eighth at 194, University of Puget Sound in ninth at 20-9 and Willamette in 10th at 258. Eighteen NCAA women's teams were represented by a total of 166 runners.

The separated scoring for DI, DII and DIII resulted in first place finishes for Seattle University in Division I with 31 points, Humboldt State in Divisoin II with 32, and Whitworth in Division III with 52 points. In DIII, Linfield was second at 59, Puget Sound was third at 68, and Willamette was fourth at 95.

Swanson's sixth place finish led the Bearcat women's team in the overall standings. Kyla Shade (Fr., Snohomish, WA/Snohomish HS) was 59th in 19:18.2, whle Hazel Carr (Jr., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) placed 60th in 19:18.5. Emily Evans (Jr., Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS) of WU earned 68th place with a time of 19:22.3. Jamie Smith (So., Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) was 78th in 19:30.3.

"I feel really good about my placement in the invite," Swanson commented. "Our coach always reminds us that our training allows us to be really competitive within D3 as well as with D2 and D1. Keeping this in mind has given me some confidence in larger fields like the WU Invite. I was hoping to be top 10 in the race because I knew that group of girls could pull me to a good 5k time -- which was my main goal. Staying aware of where I was and holding on to a competitive mindset the entire race was really important for me. Maintaining contact with competitors in the final mile, when things start to hurt, was also one of my goals for this race ... What's the most fun for me every year is the 300-meter finish on the track. As a middle distance runner, you couldn't ask for a more exciting finish!"

Kayla Leland from Whitworth won the Women's Cardinal 5K championship in 17:37.1. Kaila Gibson of Portland State followed in second place at 17;43.5. Olivia Stein of Seattle University was third at 17:44.6, and Hannah Benoit-Bucher from Point Loma Nazarene placed fourth with a time of 17:54.8. Annie Roberts of Humboldt State was timed at 17:55.7 for fifth place. Swanson crossed the finish line just 0.8 later to grab sixth place with her time of 17:56.5.

The top team in the Men's Gold 8-kilometer race was Mount San Antonio College (Calif.) with a score of 54 (1-7-11-13-22), with University of Victoria (B.C.) in second at 69 and the University of British Columbia in third at 93. Eastern Oregon University was fourth at 149 and Northwest Christian University (Ore.) placed fifth at 161.

Manuel Fernandez from Mount SAC won the individual Men's Gold 8K title by completing the race in 24:33.9 Jeese Hooton of UBC took second place in 24:38.9 and Michael Martin from Lane Community College was third at 24:41.1. Max Trummer of UBC placed fourth at 24:42.2. Gilbert Grundy, running unattached, was fifth at 24:47.2.

In the Women's Golf 5-kilometer race, University of Victoria achieved first place with a score of 44 (1-7-8-11-17), while University of British Columbia was second at 66. Carroll College (Mont.) placed third at 126, Oregon Institute of Technology was fourth at 144 and Mount SAC was fifth at 145. Corban University placed sixth at 149.

Alison Hooper of Victoria took the Women's Gold 5K championship with a time of 17:34.1. She won by nearly 15 seconds over Madelyn Brunt of British Columbia, who was second in 17:48.9. Third place went to Danielle De Castro from Oregon Tech at 17:52.7, while Janie Reid from Carroll was fourth in 17:53.8 and Enid Au of UBC was fifth at 17:54.2.

Willamette will compete again on Saturday, Oct. 14 at two locations. Many of the Bearcats will compete at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Meet at the Lake Breeze Gold Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin. An additional group will participate in the Lewis & Clark Invitational at McIver Park in Estacada, Oregon. The UW-Oshkosh Meet starts at 8:30 a.m. (PDT), while the L&C Invitational is set to begin at 11 a.m. (PDT).