PORTLAND — Two weeks after turning in disappointing performances at the Charles Bowles Invitational, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams issued sterling performances at the Lewis and Clark Invitational here Saturday.
On the men’s side, senior captain Taylor Mesojednik led the way with a 10th place finish in a time of 26:39.21 over the 8-kilometer course.
Not far behind him was fellow senior captain Cory Rand, who placed 13th with a time of 27:03.52.
Coming in just behind were Spencer Corwin and Joe Mayo, who placed 18th and 22nd with times of 27:23.15 and 27:38.81, respectively.
Rounding out the team scoring for the Missionaries was Carl Garrett, who placed 28th with a time of 28:07.40.
The combined score of 81 points was good for 3rd place among five Northwest Conference teams.
“I just can’t say enough about the quality running and leadership Taylor Mesojednik has given us this season,” Whitman coach Scott Shields said. “He really deserved the top-10 finish. I know Cory has better races to come this season, as well as the rest of our top group. We are now focusing on making sure things fall into place for our conference meet and then finish the season strong at regionals.”
On the women’s side, the Whits continue to be paced by senior captain Emilie Gilbert and twin sister Katri.
The twins placed fourth and fifth in the field, with Emilie coming in fourth with a time of 23:04.88 and Katri coming in fifth with a time of 23:25.53 on the 6K course.
The next two Missionaries to cross the line were Emily Williams and Shannon McCarty, who placed just outside the top 10 at 11th and 12th, respectively.
The two Whits finished within a second of each other, with Williams clocking in at 23:40.42 and McCarty at 23:41.27.
Erin Campbell finished the team scoring for Whitman, placing 26th with a time of 24:34.22, just seconds ahead of first-year Julia Wood.
With 51 points, Whitman finished second in the field behind Lewis and Clark at 27 and just ahead of Linfield, which had 55.
“The women’s team has such a strong group at the top, and, to be honest, it was a wonderful surprise to see our first year Emily Williams finish in our top three,” Shields said. “She has been slowly climbing the team ladder, and it’s going to be fun to see what else she is capable of doing for us this year. Emily’s run combined with the strong performances of our top three seniors (the Gilbert sisters and McCarthy) were what solidified the second place finish.”
Both teams are preparing for the NWC Championships in two weeks.
Shields summed it up best, saying “to see us bounce back this weekend and finish so strong against conference opponents was tremendous and has set us up to do well going into our conference meet.”
Before the Missionaries race for the conference championship in two weeks, Whitman hosts the Blue-Gold Race next weekend in Walla Walla.