By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University will be represented by three athletes when the 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships get underway on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Elsah, Illinois. The runners from Willamette are Keith Carlson (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA//Bainbridge HS) and Michael Montague (So., San Diego, CA/Canyon Crest Academy) on the men's team and Hannah Swanson (Sr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) on the women's team.
Carlson and Montague will run first in the men's 8-kilometer championship race, which is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. CST/9 a.m. PST. Swanson will compete in the women's 6-kilometer championship race at 12:15 p.m. CST/10:15 p.m. PST). Both races will be hled at the North Farm Cross country Facility. Principia College (Ill.) is hosting the NCAA Championships.
All three Willamette runners received individual bids to the NCAA Championships after strong performances the NCAA West Regional on Nov. 11 in Claremont, Calif. Swanson took sixth place in the women's 6-kilometer race, while Carlson placed 15th and Montague was 18th in the men's race. They earned their individual bids by being among the top seven finishers who were not on full teams selected for the NCAA Championships.
Each championship race will include 32 teams and about 280 runners. The top 40 finishers in each race will earn All-America honors. Swanson, Carlson and Montague each received All-West Region recognition with their Regional finishes last weekend. They also earned First Team All-Northwest Confernce honors on Oct. 28, as Carlson placed second and Montague was fourth in the men's race, and Swanson was third in the women's race.
Carlson's career-best time for an 8-kilometer race was set at this year's NWC Championships, where he was timed at 25:27.2. Montague recorded his career top time at the 43rd Annual Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational earlier this season, as he completed the course in 25:28.3. Swanson's best time at the 6-kilometer distance was registered at the 2017 West Regional, where she finished in 21:57.52.
It is the 19th consecutive season that the Bearcats will have one or more runners in both national championship races.