Runners miss nationals
The cross country teams landed in the top 10 at the NCAA Division III West Region Championship hosted by Willamette University at Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, Ore., on Nov. 13.
Freshman Mimi Seeley finished 35th among the racers. With a time of 23 minutes and 43.26 seconds. She received all-region honors.
“I thought I had a successful season. I was the top female for Linfield, and I made all-conference as well as all-region honors,” Seeley said. “Next year, I would like to qualify for nationals.”
Out of 117 teams, the women’s team finished in 10th place.
First-time runner senior Scott Pinske finished 24th at the regional meet with a time of 26:23.27, earning all-west region honors.
The hardest part for Pinske was keeping his head in the game between meets, he said.
“Since there was a two-week gap between conference and regionals, it was difficult to keep focused for such a long time,” Pinske said. “The course was not too difficult, other than the fact that it was muddy, and there were times when it was difficult to have decent traction on the course.”
Junior Scott Gage finished in 40th place with a time of 27:04.68.
The men’s team finished in ninth place.
No one from the Linfield received individual invitations to the NCAA championships.
According to the Linfield cross country website, “Linfield is without a NCAA championship-meet qualifier for the first time since 2005.”
Overall, both teams were strong competitors. At the Northwest Conference Championships on Oct. 30, the men placed fourth and the women placed fifth. Both teams stayed in the middle of the standings at the Willamette Open on Oct. 2, and the Concordia/Puma Classic on Oct. 16.
“We stayed fairly steady throughout the season, and although the numbers may not prove it, we are, and will continue to be, a very competitive team in the Northwest Conference,” Pinske said.
The teams proved that they can be successful. The men finished second at the Willamette Grass Course on Sept. 17, and the Linfield Preview on Sept. 25, and the women finished third in those races.
“This season was absolutely amazing in every aspect: community, competition, etc. I take pride in being a member of the Linfield cross-country program and can’t wait to continue,” freshman Colton Wright said.
Coach Travis Olson said he was slightly disappointed that the teams didn’t finish as expected, but he said he knows they will continue to improve for next year.
“I feel good about what we have accomplished this year,” Olson said. “Although we may not have finished exactly where we wanted in the conference, we did establish a great atmosphere that will help this team continue to grow and eventually be a contender.”
Tim Marl/Staff reporter
Tim Marl can be reached at email@example.com.