BROOKS, Ore. – Picturesque conditions at Willamette Mission State Park gave way to picture-perfect results for the Wildcat cross country team at the Linfield Preview as both squads raced to victory Saturday morning against four other Northwest Conference squads.
Led by Nelly Evans, the Linfield women handily won the six-kilometer race by placing five runners in the top 10.
Evans broke 23 minutes (22:59.98) and was the second overall runner to cross the finish line. She built a considerable lead over her closest competitor by the third two-kilometer lap and ended up finishing 22 seconds ahead of teammate Madison Trowbridge (Soph., Portland, Ore.).
Trowbridge, meanwhile, ran her finest collegiate race, clocking in at 23:22.09.
“Madison is coming around like I thought she would,” said head coach Travis Olson. She’s pretty new to the sport…so to see her be our No. 2 runner and third overall is pretty outstanding.”
Kelly Owens, a former Pacific runner competing unattached, was the overall female winner, completing the course in 22 minutes, 36.86 seconds.
Linfield scored 19 points to take the team victory. Pacific Lutheran finished second with 44 points, Pacific was third (75) and George Fox fourth (100). Willamette only entered three runners and therefore did not compile a team score.
The Wildcat men also scored a team win in the eight-kilometer course. After overall winner Alan DenAdel of Pacific Lutheran (26:07.51), Linfield finished 2-3-4 and placed six total runners in the top 10.
The “normal crew” of Arian Anderson, Joe Gladow (Jr., Shoreline, Wash.) and Scott Gage led the way for Linfield. The three traded places throughout the race, but it was Anderson who topped his teammates to finish second overall in a time of 26:16.42.
Gladow and Gage were third and fourth, respectively. After a trio of Pacific runners, Alex Van Slyke, Calvin Howell (Soph., San Antonio, Texas) and Eric Weinbender completed the top 10.
Linfield finished first in the team standing, scoring 26 points, followed by Pacific (44), Pacific Lutheran (62) and George Fox (120). Willamette again did not complete a team score, entering just two runners.
The meet served as a dress rehearsal for the conference championship meet, held at the same course Oct. 22. When asked how he felt about his team’s chances against the rest of the league, Olson expressed confidence in both his squads.
“It says a lot about where our guys’ team is right now with the leadership,” Olson said of the win at the Linfield Preview and a strong showing at the Sundodger Invitational a week ago. “Their experience is going to help a lot come conference time.”
As for the women?
“I certainly think they’re going to be right there at the end with all of these youngsters coming up,” Olson said. “Lewis & Clark is the team to beat, and Whitman too. After that, we’re going to mix it up with both of those teams.”
‘CAT SCRATCH: Weather at race time was sunny and hot, with temperatures in the mid-80s…the top 10 individual winners in both races were awarded commemorative t-shirts.
NEXT: Linfield competes at the Willamette Open Saturday in Salem, beginning at 9 a.m.
Finishes third overall
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128