ESTACADA, Ore. – In its final dress rehearsal before the Northwest Conference Championships, the Linfield men and women placed fourth and third, respectively, at the Lewis & Clark Invitational Saturday morning at McIver State Park.
With surprisingly warm temperatures and only a little rain dampening the course during the women’s race, the Wildcats got a good look at what they’ll be going up against at the league meet, without putting too much stock in the results from the invite.
“We’re not necessarily worried about what happened today,” said head coach Travis Olson. By resting a couple of top runners with nagging injuries, Olson said the focus remains on what happens in two weeks.
Joe Gladow paced the Wildcat men, placing fifth overall and third among runners representing the NWC. He completed the eight-kilometer course in 26 minutes, 15.59 seconds, only 21 seconds behind the top collegiate finisher.
“Joe ran pretty well today,” Olson said. “We’re hopeful he can be competing for a conference title individually.”
Assistant coach and Linfield alum Chris McIsaac topped the 62-competitor field, clocking a time of 25 minutes, 45.76 seconds. Puget Sound’s Matt Klein was the top collegiate finisher as the runner-up (25:54.10).
Placing 14th overall, Calvin Howell finished as the Wildcats’ No. 2 runner (27:07.84). Jason Hight ran the course in 27 minutes, 22.43 seconds to place third for Linfield and 17th overall.
Chad Linnerooth (Sr., Carnation, Wash.) and Alex Mangan (Jr., Klamath Falls, Ore.) rounded out the scoring for the ‘Cats. Linnerooth finished 24th (27:48.60) and Mangan was 32nd (28:16.00).
As a team, Linfield placed fourth of six teams – five from the league and an alumni team from Lewis & Clark – with 82 points, one point behind third-place Whitman. Puget Sound (40) and Lewis & Clark (71) finished first and second, with Pacific Lutheran (107) coming in fifth.
For the second straight meet, a new No. 1 runner emerged for the Linfield women. This time it was Siena Noe, placing seventh in the six-kilometer race in a time of 23 minutes, 32.06 seconds.
This marked the third time a different woman has led the Wildcats this season, demonstrating the real depth of the squad. If the team can get everyone healthy, Linfield should challenge Lewis & Clark and Whitman for the top spots at the NWC Championships.
The Wildcats placed three runners in the top 10, with Brooke Niemann (Sr., Bellevue, Wash.) and Hannah Greider finishing ninth and 10th, respectively. Niemann clocked a time of 23 minutes, 36.53 seconds while Greider was two seconds back in 23 minutes, 38.75 seconds.
Audrey Lichten (Sr., Sequim, Wash.) was 16th overall (23:56.89) and Jill Boroughs took 18th (24:09.48).
By placing all five of its scoring runners, and six overall, in the top 20, the Wildcats took third of five teams. Host and defending league champion Lewis & Clark won the meet with 27 points, followed by Whitman (51), Linfield (55), Puget Sound (120) and Pacific Lutheran (130).
UP NEXT: The Northwest Conference Championships, hosted by Pacific, are two weeks away. Runners will compete at the Sunset Grove Golf Course, just north of Forest Grove, Saturday, Oct. 27.