SALEM, Ore. — Senior Emilie Gilbert of Bellevue, Wash., was Whitman College’s top performer here Saturday at the 38th annual Charles Bowles Invitational cross country meet at Bush’s Pasture Park.
Gilbert covered the women’s five-kilometer course in 19 minutes flat to finish 31st in a field of 212 runners representing 20 colleges ranging from NCAA Division I to NCAA Division III.
Gilbert was the third fastest among Northwest Conference runners, trailing only Whitworth Pirates Christina Anderson and Elisabeth Spencer, who finished 21st and 22nd, respectively. Anderson was clocked in 18:49.10 and Spencer in 18:50.54.
Amber Roscicha of Portland State was the women’s winner in the Cardinal Division in a time of 17:46.70. She finished 18 seconds in front of Oregon State University’s Sandra Martinez, who placed second in 18:04.70.
Lauren Rice of Augsburg College, Minn., was the fastest NCAA Division III runner in 18:19.51, which was good for fifth place.
Sophomore Erin Campbell clocked Whitman’s second fastest time, a 19:11.24 effort that was good for 48th place. Sophomore Katri Gilbert, Emilie’s twin sister, placed 65th in 19:21.27, and senior Shannon McCarty placed 79th in 19:33.02.
Whitman’s next two runners, senior Lori Mendelsohn and freshman Emily Williams, turned in personal-best times. Mendelsohn was clocked in 19:48.26 and finished 99th, and Williams ran 19:55.41 to place 105th.
Whitman’s top five runners averaged 19:22.76 and accumulated 295 points, good for 14th place in the division. The Missionaries finished just two points behind Central Washington’s 293 score.
Oregon State’s Beavers claimed the women’s team title with 28 points and an average time of 18:17.55. Boise State placed a distant second with 96 points and an 18:40.35 average.
Fourteen other Whitman women competed in Saturday’s race, led by sophomore Meghan Malloy, who finished 132nd in a time of 20:16.76. Five other Missionaries — Julia Wood, Jessica Lawrence, Alissa Becerril, Claire Baron and Allie Willson — finished under 21 minutes.
It was a less productive outing for the Missionary men’s team, which placed last in a field of 19 teams with an average time of 27:31.03 over 8 kilometers and totaled 465 points.
The University of Portland won the men’s Cardinal Division with a near-perfect 16 points — 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th places — and an average time of 24:45.78 that was nearly a minute faster than second-place Boise State.
Lars Erik Malde of Portland took the men’s individual title in 24:29.08. Pilots teammate Josh Gorecki was second in 24:39.42.
Senior Taylor Mesojednik was Whitman’s fastest runner, turning in a time of 26:42.04 for 67th place in a field of 169 men. Junior Joe Mayo was second for the Missionaries, finishing 79th in 27:00.43.
Whitman’s other three counters were senior Cory Rand, 96th, 27:20.87; junior Spencer Corwin, 127th, 28:12.96; and sophomore Carl Garrett, 133rd, 28:18.83.
Of the 10 Missionaries who ran non-counting times, sophomore Alex Porter was the fastest, placing 135th in 28:24.75. Two other Whitman men — senior Whitney Griggs and freshman Greg Holdman — broke the 29-minute barrier.
“Our guys didn’t compete well as a team,” Whitman coach Scott Shields said. “But individually we had some good performances.
“Taylor (Mesojednik) is our senior captain, our No. 1 runner, and he battled hard. He stepped up and ran a great race.
“And Joe (Mayo), after faltering in our last race, was solid. It was great to see him bounce back.”
Although Shields described running conditions as “a beautiful day” and the field as “fantastic competition,” he noted that many members of his men’s team were battling head-cold conditions.
“Fatigue was definitely a factor,” the coach said. “The guys said they felt good, but they just didn’t run their best times.”
Shields was more impressed with the effort of his women’s team.
“It was a better day for the girls,” he said. “Our first three runners didn’t have personal bests, but they ran well. And then Lori (Mendelsohn) and Emily (Williams) came up with their best times.”
Whitman returns to the Willamette Valley in two weeks to participate in the Lewis & Clark Invitational.