Nov 16, 2019

Bruin Men Break Top-10 at NCAA DIII West Regional Meet

A Winning Tradition

 
  • Eight NAIA Men's National Meets (5 Top 10 finishes)
  • Five NAIA District Men's Championships (1977, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
  • One NCCAA Women's National Championship (1988)
  • Nine NAIA Women's National Meets (6 Top 10 finishes)
  • Six NAIA Women's District Championships (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993)
  • One Cascade Conference Women's Championship (1994)
  • Two NAIA Region Coaches of the Year
  • 10 Conference / District Coaches of the Year
  • 23 All-Americans (6 men, 17 women)
  • 53 Academic All-Americans (18 men, 35 women)
 

By Jacob Hayes

Claremont, Calif. --- The George Fox Bruins ran incredibly well at the NCAA Division III West Regionals Cross Country Meet. The men placed seventh overall in a fifteen-school spread while the women finished fourteenth out of eighteen teams.

Recap

The men raced first with a 9:00 a.m. start, but the early morning fog had already begun to roll away, making for warmer conditions. The gun went off with No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and No. 5 Pomona-Pitzer leading the way. The Bruins started slow and further back but made up ground over the eight-kilometer course as part of their master plan.

By the time they finished the first loop heading into the second-mile marker, sophomore Peter Weiss (32, 26:37.3) and freshman Trevor Wilber (35, 26:43.4) were picking off runners left and right and started their way up the ranks. A small gap separated the two from fellow teammates Timothy Kaelin (38, 26:58.3), Johnathan Guisinger (52, 27:34.9), and Joshua Gibbs (73, 28:08.2). Rylan Larsen (67, 27:55.8) and Spencer Sprague (81, 28:37.7) were close behind to round out the pack.

Heading into the last loop, George Fox was fighting with California Institute of Technology, University of Redlands, and Colorado College for a fifth-place team finish--two places above their pre-race rankings. In the last lap, both Colorado College and the University of Redlands put two runners ahead of Weiss, giving them a leg up in the scoring. Cal Tech also made a large push at the end, but strong finishes across the board, including a killer kick from Guisinger, helped fend them off.

With all the runners tallied, the Bruins edged Cal Tech 208-209, finishing seventh overall and first against all Northwest Conference opponents. Surprisingly, Pomona-Pitzer beat out Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, giving them an edge for the national meet.

The women, after a tough race at the conference meet, came out with something to prove. Led by Brenna Sclair (53, 24:24.8), the Bruins fought right from the starting line. Solid races from Lydia Gronseth (70, 24:50.7), Rianna Comery (58, 24:34.2), and Jessica Neal (82, 25:04.7) helped propel them past NWC-rival Willamette. Down the stretch, Amarie Miller (101, 26:00.7) and Emily Bruns (112, 27:30.6) finished with great energy, making multiple moves in the last 200 meters to finish the season on a high note.

After the meet, Weiss was asked about his race, saying "I didn't like it during, but I liked the result."

Junior Kaelin spoke about the meet and the season as a whole, quoting, "I am so proud of these guys and the work they put in all season. The adversity and challenges we faced brought us together and made us the team we are today. I am honored to race with a group of guys that races for God's glory."

Senior Larsen was emotional at the finish line, knowing it would be his last collegiate cross country meet. "It was a great four years and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't have wanted it to end with any other group of guys."

Top Performers

Weiss and Wilber both were honored with All-Region accolades after their performances. Weiss finished 32nd overall with a time of 26:37.3 while Wilber placed 35th overall with a time of 26:43.4. The seventh-place finish was the best for the men reaching back to 2006 (5th place finish) and a vast improvement from their 11th place finish last year in Walla Walla, Wash.

What It Means

The Bruin men finish a successful campaign with a first-place conference finish, honoring four runners with all-conference awards. With two all-region finishes, the Bruins broke into the top mix for the first time since NWC Coach of the Year Bryant Quinn was all-region in 2015 (33rd place). Both the men and women are looking to take their strong finishes into the winter in preparation for the indoor and outdoor track season.