INDEPENDENCE, Ore. — Whitman College’s men’s and women’s cross country seasons came to an end here Saturday during the NCAA Division III West Region meets at the Oak Knoll Golf Course.
And even though the Missionaries won’t be sending anyone on to next week’s nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., Whitman coach Scott Shields was more than a little pleased with his runners’ final performances.
“Individually, we did some fantastic things,” Shields said. “Overall, I am really happy, especially for our seniors. They ran fantastic last races of their careers and can walk away feeling good about what they have done these last four years.”
Not surprisingly, senior Emilie Gilbert was Whitman’s top performer overall. A two-time nationals qualifier, She was clocked in 22 minutes, 23.86 seconds and finished 25th in a field of 126 women who were entered in the race.
“She is our only all-region runner,” Shields said. “And she was only one or two seconds off her career-best time.”
The same can be said of Katri Gilbert, Emilie’s twin sister. Katri crossed the finish line in 22:42.77 and finished in 40th place.
Sophomore Erin Campbell was a third Missionary runner to break the 23-minute barrier. Her time of 22:48.38 was good for 46th place on the 6,000-meter course.
And senior Shannon McCarty narrowly missed breaking 23 minutes. Her time of 23:01.53 put her in 54th place.
“Katri and Shannon came close to their career bests,” Shields said. “And Erin came back after a bad race at conference and had her season-best time. All across the board, our women ran great races today.”
Senior Lori Mendelsohn turned in a time of 23:26.72 and finished in 73rd place. Freshman Emily Williams was right behind her in 74th place with a time of 23:28.18. And freshman Julia Wood rounded out Whitman’s seven-runner women’s team with a 23:47.91 time, which was good for 93rd place.
The Whitman women finished eighth among the 18 teams entered with a total time of 1:54:23.70 and an average time of 22:52.74.
Claremont-Mudd Scripps won the women’s team championship with a 1:47:47.55 total time and a 21:33.51 average.
Whitman’s men’s team finished 14th among 17 schools with an overall time of 2:12:43.65 and an average time of 26:32.73 over 8,000 meters. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps took first place with a 2:04:14.14 total time and a 24:50.82 average.
Senior Taylor Mesojednik paced the Missionary team with a 42nd-place finish in a time of 25:56.70.
“That was a career-best time for Taylor,” Shields said. “It was just an outstanding race and I am really excited for him.”
Senior Cory Rand was next on the Missionary list with a time of 26:30.85, which was 66th in the men’s 111-runner field.
And junior Taylor Nelson, sophomore Carl Garrett and junior Spencer Corwin followed each other across the finish line in 79th, 80th and 81st places. Nelson was clocked in 26:44.63, Garrett in 26:45.48 and Corwin in 26:45.99.