Review Staff Writer
The men’s and women’s cross country teams placed in the middle of the pack at the season’s largest competitive field at Bush’s Pasture Park during the Willamette Open on Oct. 4.
After hosting a home meet Sept. 26 for the first time in four years, the ’Cats traveled to Salem for the Willamette Open, a meet featuring 30 Division-II, Division-III and NAIA teams. The women’s race had 288 competitors while the men’s had 301.
“It was huge; it was so fast,” senior Amanda DeHaas said, observing from the sidelines after missing another meet because of injuries.
The women’s team has suffered from numerous injuries this season, indicating a lack of preparation before the start of the season, DeHaas said.
The women’s team had a strong showing, placing 14 out of 28 teams in the meet. Led by junior Marci Klimek’s seventh-place finish in the 5k race with a time of 18 minutes, five seconds, the injury-plagued team raced hard in the damp conditions. Klimek’s finish was the fastest ever recorded for a female Linfield runner at the race.
After a heavy dose of rain the night before the meet, the weather cleared, leaving sunny skies at race time. The amount of rainfall the day before the race made the course wet but not significantly enough to be a huge factor.
“The only bad part of the course was around the starting line,” head coach Garry Killgore said.
After Klimek’s seventh-place finish, junior Frances Corcorran finished 69th with a time of 19:36. Finishing just behind Corcorran were teammates freshman Nelly Evans and senior Michelle Harteloo in the 91st and 93rd places, both with a time of 19:45, and Brooke Keudell in 105th with a time of 19:57. Killgore praised the women for the strives taken this year, specifically by Klimek and Corcorran.
“[Klimek] has been in a very hefty workout program,” Killgore said. “She is 38 seconds faster this year at this time than last year.”
Coach Killgore commended Corcorran’s performance and placement at the meet. Being the second fastest finisher on the women’s side after a year and a half of rehab from surgery, she demonstrates the team’s motivation to never be satisfied, he said.
The men’s team, also overcoming injury issues, placed 15 out of 30 teams in the 8k race. Junior Shawn Fisher, the top finisher for Linfield, placed 31st with a time of 25:27. Following Fisher for Linfield were freshman Scott Gage, placing 61st with a time of 26:29, and junior Chris McIsaac in 93rd place with a time of 26:57.
Killgore applauded Gage and McIsaac for their individual efforts.
“I am still impressed in what [McIsaac] did,” Killgore said. “Scott ran a pretty tough race, [too].”
Other top finishers on the men’s team included junior Tyler Davis in 111th place with a time of 27:14 and freshman Eric Weinbender in 118th with a time of 27:22.
With one meet remaining before the conference championship for both teams, Killgore plans to emphasize that running hard all the time is not easy for any individual.
“The emphasis is really getting them out of their comfort zone,” he said. “It hurts to run fast and that is difficult for people.”
Prior the Willamette Open, Klimek had finished first in each of the four races this season.
Both teams will be training hard in the coming week, returning to action Oct. 18 at the Pioneer Open in