SALEM, Ore. – Returning to the races for the first time in three weeks, the George Fox University men’s cross country team placed 11th out of 19 teams in the Cardinal 8K Division of Willamette University’s 38th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational Saturday morning here at Bush’s Pasture Park, while the Bruin women were 18th out of 19 in the Cardinal 5K Division.
The Bruin men, ranked ninth in the NCAA Division III’s West Region entering the day, compiled 287 points and came in sixth among D-III teams. The overall winner was the University of Portland, a D-I team, with 16 points, as the Pilots took the top four individual places and five of the top six. Boise State University was a distant second with 111 points.
The top runner for George Fox, as he was in both of the Bruins’ previous races, was Joseph Pia, who ran a 25:46.65 to finish 21st overall and for team scoring. Also counting for the Bruins were Kyle Dreibelbis with a time of 26:16.21 (39th/38th), Kody Tarbell with a 26:45.48 (71st/69th), Bryant Quinn with a 27:04.21 (80th/78th), and Connor Niemi with a 27:06.98 (84th/81st).
Other Bruin racers were Micah Tate with a 27:32.82 (106th), Aaron Molstad with a 27:44.70 (115th), Austin Morrell with a 28:14.45 (129th), Alex Lull with a 28:30.93 (137th), Mike Calavan with a 28:47.29 (146th), and Jahnathon Larson with a 29:13.73 (155th).
“Joseph and Kody each ran significant PR's and the freshmen got their first 8K’s under their belts, which is a big transition for them from the 5K distance they are used to running in high school,” noted Bruin head coach Randy Dalzell. “Overall, the men ran pretty well with the exception of Aaron, who had some asthma problems and probably went out a little too hard anyway. We beat some pretty good teams today, but we also can run quite a bit better and cut our team score down a lot more to put us in the mix with those top 3-4 teams in the D-III category of schools.This is a young team, but we are making nice progress and I think we will get there pretty soon."
The George Fox women, who were 10th in the latest West Region rankings, scored 461 points and placed ninth among D-III teams. Oregon State University took the top spot with 28 points, with Boise State the runner-up with 96 points.
The Bruins were led by Courtney Hochstetler, who posted a time of 19:26.68 to finish 71st overall and 65th for team scoring. Kelsey Prentice was next with a 19:38.13 (87th/79th), followed by Brooke Nolte with a 19:39.39 (88th/80th), Sarah MacKenzie with a 20:18.25 (134th/118th), and Chelsea Sowards with a 20:19.37 (135th/119th).
Kate Freiheit, usually the Bruins’ No. 1 runner the last two years, competed in her first race of the year after battling some early-season leg injuries and, taking it easy, ran a 20:57.59 to finish 164th. Kelly Toms rounded out the George Fox contingent with a 21:29.84, placing 185th.
“The women were a little beat up this week, with Kate not up to speed yet, Courtney battling some health issues, and Kelsey having a sore knee,” observed Dalzell. “Chelsea ran better at the #5 spot this week, and that will make a big difference once we have the other top four ladies running at full speed and healthy. Things will look a little different in two weeks at our home meet for this group. They have been training very well and that will pay off in the second half of the season, especially at the 6K distance.”
Complete results of the entire Charles Bowles Invitational meet, courtesy of the Willamette sports information office, are available on the George Fox cross country website at http://athletics.georgefox.edu/sports/xc/2012-13/files/0929.htm.
NEXT: After taking next weekend off, the Bruins will host their own George Fox Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Fernhill Park in northeast Portland, Ore. The first race will start at 10:00 a.m.