Recap | Results
NWC CHAMPIONSHIPS: Pia and Bruin Men Finish 5th, Women 8th in Conference Races
FOREST GROVE, Ore. – With Joseph Pia and Kelsey Prentice posting the best times for their respective teams, the George Fox University men finished fifth in their 8K race while the Bruin women came in eighth in their 6K event in the Northwest Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday here at the water-logged Sunset Grove Golf Course.
By posting a time of 26:29 to finish fifth overall and for team scoring, Pia became the first All-Conference First Team men’s runner for George Fox since Jake Moe finished fifth in 2006. His effort led the Bruins to 128 team points and a four-place improvement over 2011. It was the fifth time in as many races this fall that he has been the Bruins’ top finisher.
Also counting in the top five for the Bruins were Kyle Dreibelbis with a time of 27:12 (24th/24th), Kody Tarbell with a 27:17 (25th/25th), Connor Niemi with a 27:29 (31st/31st), and Micah Tate with a 27:55 (44th/43rd). Completing the Bruins’ team were Austin Morrell with a 28:01 (48th/47th), Aaron Molstad with a 28:06 (48th/47th), Bryant Quinn with a 28:13 (55th), Alex Lull with a 29:02 (69th), and Mike Calavan with a 29:12 (72nd).
"Joseph had a great race today to earn First Team All-Conference honors and lead the men to a much-improved result,” observed George Fox head coach Randy Dalzell. “If he runs that way at the regional meet, he will have a great shot at qualifying for the nationals as an individual.
"For such a young team, we ran very well. We were very
close to Whitworth and Puget Sound, who had both beaten us pretty
badly earlier in the year at the Willamette meet and are both
highly rated in the West Region (3rd and 4th respectively), so I
was impressed with how our men performed today. If we can pull that
fifth runner up just a bit, we can challenge those two teams at the
regional meet and be in the mix for a top five spot in the
Willamette University captured the team title with 40 points, well ahead of runner-up Lewis & Clark College’s 90. The University of Puget Sound was third with 96 points, followed by Whitworth University with 113, George Fox, Linfield College with 143, Whitman College with 162, host Pacific University with 181, and Pacific Lutheran University with 205.
Individual honors went to Parker Bennett of Willamette,whose 25:48 was 15 seconds beter than the 26:03 of Alan DenAdel for PLU. Matt Klein of UPS was third with a 26:12, and Nathan Conrad of Willamette took fourth, just ahead of Pia, with a 26:28.
The top seven finishers earned First Team All-NWC status, with runners 8-14 being named Second Team All-NWC. Willamette's Matt McGuirk was named the NWC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year.
The George Fox women earned 200 points in finishing eighth, one place better than last year. Lewis & Clark collected its third straight NWC title with 21 points, placing runners in five of the top eight positions. Willamette was second with 48 points, followed by Whitworth with 97, Linfield with 104, Whitman with 107, Puget Sound with 187, Pacific with 196, George Fox, and Pacific Lutheran with 247.
Prentice led the Bruins with a time of 24:05, finishing 22nd overall and for team scoring. It was her second time this season to be the Bruins’ top runner. Also scoring points for George Fox were Brooke Nolte with a time of 24:23 (35th/34th), Courtney Hochstetler with a 24:38 (48th/45th), Kate Freiheit with a 24:48 (57th/49th), and Sarah MacKenzie with a 25:05 (61st/50th). Other Bruin runners were Chelsea Sowards with a 25:19 (65th/53rd) and Kelly Toms with a 25:42 (71st/57th).
"The top end of the conference is just really strong,” noted Dalzell, “and we need some more strength up front to compete with that. We just missed the sixth and seventh-place teams, and needed a little better front end to get that done. I think the ladies will be highly motivated to come back and try to beat some of those teams at the regional meet. Kate did a nice job piecing together a race after being out for a while, and if she and the rest of the ladies can stay healthy, we will move up some at the West Regionals.”
Emily Thomas of Lewis & Clark won the race in 22:37, 13 seconds ahead of teammate Melissa Newton-Mora. Michaela Freeby of Willamette was third with a 22:58. The top 14 runners earned All-Conference, seven on the First Team and seven on the Second Team. Keith Woodard of Lewis & Clark was named the NWC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Complete results of the 2012 Northwest Conference Championships, courtesy of the Pacific sports information office, are available on the George Fox cross country website at http://athletics.georgefox.edu/sports/xc/2012-13/files/1027.pdf.
Host Pacific University has also put together a highlight package of the races that may be seen at http://youtu.be/w3xkj4lA30g. An interview with men’s champion Parker Bennett is available at http://youtu.be/nLuR8KHmUic, while one with women’s champion Emily Thomas may be viewed at http://youtu.be/HCjfU4I8nvI. A photo gallery will be posted by Pacific within a day or two as well.
NEXT: The Bruins will compete in the NCAA Division III West Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Oak Knoll Golf Course in Independence, Ore. Willamette University is the host for the regional races, which will feature the men’s 8K race at 11:00 a.m. and the women’s 6K race at 12:00 noon ... In last year’s regionals, the George Fox men had only one runner in the race due to injuries, with Kyle Dreibelbis finishing 42nd. The Bruin women finished 14th out of 20 teams and were led by Courtney Hochstetler, who finished 33rd and became the first Bruin to earn All-Region honors in four years ... Colorado College and Occidental College shared the men’s regional title last year, while the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges claimed the women’s crown.