CLAREMONT, Calif. – A veteran-laden team carried the Linfield women to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Division III West Regional Championships, matching the squad's performance from a season ago. Over on the men's side, the Wildcats took 14th overall Saturday morning on the campuses of the Pomona and Pitzer Colleges.
Placing in the Top 35 in the women's 6,000-meter competition, Siena Noe (Sr., Yakima, Wash.) and Hannah Greider (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) capped off their collegiate cross country careers with a pair of all-region performances. Noe, who was 20th as the No. 1 Linfield finisher, clocked in at 23 minutes, 8.83 seconds. Greider was seven positions back in 23:17.22.
“Siena and Hannah had great races,” said head coach Travis Olson. “I am very proud they were able to be all-region as seniors.”
As a team, Linfield totaled 192 points, finishing seventh overall and fifth among Northwest Conference programs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps claimed the team championship, placing all five of its scoring runners in the Top 25 for 62 points. Willamette's Michaela Freeby claimed the individual title by nearly 11 seconds (21:37.66) to lead the Bearcats to a runner-up finish in the team standings.
Four of Linfield's five scoring runners registered career-best efforts at the regional championship meet, including Katie Skinner (Sr., Portland, Ore.) and Claire Hann (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii). Skinner took 40th (23:37.72) and was followed closely behind by Brooke Niemann (Jr., Bellevue, Wash.), who was 47th overall (23:49.25). Hann took 58th with a time of 24 minutes, 3.36 seconds.
Freshman Michael O'Neil paced the Wildcat men, whose regional squad included three underclassmen. O'Neil was 39th overall, just missing out on all-region recognition accorded to the top 35 finishers. He completed the 8,000-meter course in 26 minutes, 35.02 seconds.
Linfield, which has battled injury through much of the year, placed 14th in the team standings, including sixth among conference programs. The ‘Cats totaled 310 points, while Pomona-Pitzer placed all five scoring runners in the top 25 to claim the team championship (71 points) and Willamette scored 109 points to take first among NWC squads. Occidental's John Guzman took the men's individual championship by nearly 12 seconds (24:40.27).
“We gave it everything we had,” Olson said. “They have been a little beat up so it was a little frustrating for them, as we all know we were a better team than how we finished.”
Alex Mangan (Soph., Klamath Falls, Ore.) circled the three loops in 26:39.62 to place 41st, 25 positions better than how he finished as a freshman last year. Linfield's No. 1 runner before suffering an injury weeks before the conference championships, Joe Gladow (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) placed third for the Wildcats and 66th overall (27:08.95).
Adrian Clifford (Fr., Sequim, Wash.) and Calvin Howell (Jr., San Antonio, Texas) rounded out the scoring for Linfield, finishing 77th and 98th overall, respectively. Clifford clocked in at 27 minutes, 24.80 seconds while Howell came in at 28 minutes, 2.16 seconds.
As only the top two teams plus the top seven individuals not affiliated with those two teams automatically qualify for the national championship meet, the Wildcats are a long shot to receive any at-large invitations. Olson, however, expressed zero disappointment over his team's effort in its final competition of the season.
“I really have nothing negative to say about how everyone competed,” Olson said. “We stuck our noses in it so I was very pleased.”
Place seventh in West
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