Missionary harriers third at NWC Championships

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SPOKANE — The Whitman cross country teams had good showings Saturday at the Northwest Conference Championships, with both the men’s and the women’s squads finishing third at the Downriver Golf Course in Spokane.

Willamette took the title in both the men’s and the women’s competitions.

For Whitman, the third-place finish for the men was their best showing in the conference meet since 2009, when they finished fourth.

For the women, it was also their best performance since 2009 when they finished second.

T.C. Heydon led the Whitman men, finishing sixth with a time of 25:22.36 in the 8-kilometer run. Heydon has been Whitman’s top runner in all but one race this season.

Right on his heels, finishing seventh, was first-year runner Matt Wotipka, who clocked a 25:22.92.

Colin Domonoske came across the line in 10th with a time of 25:43.18. Stanley Walker and Carl Garret finished 29th and 30th, with respective times of 26:26.66 and 26:28.32.

“To have our top five guys finish under 26:30 is pretty cool,” said Whitman head coach Scott Shields after the meet. “Our guys continue to run faster and faster and I think today’s performance sets us up very well for the NCAA regional meet in two weeks.”

The Missionaries finished with 82 points. Second-place Puget Sound tallied 69, with Willamette finishing with 49.

Parker Bennett of Willamette took home the individual title, crossing the line first in a time of 24:30.62.

On the women’s side, Skye Pauly was Whitman’s top finisher, something she has done in every race she has run this season. Pauly clocked a time of 22:41.71, good for sixth-place in the 6 kilometer race.

Whitman’s Eliza Vistica finished 17th with a time of 23:12.51. Julia Hart was two places back in 19th with a time of 23:16.38. Ziggy Lanman was 26th with a 23:31.39 and Erin Campbell was 33rd with a 23:43.25, to round out the Whitman scoring.

“We are extremely pleased with today’s showing,” said Shields. “To have three runners in the top 20 is pretty impressive. Finishing third is a great catapult for us as we get ready for the regional meet.”

The Missionaries totaled 101 points while first-place Willamette posted 37. Whitworth, who came in second, tallied 52.

Willamette’s Michaela Freeby was the first runner across the line with a time of 21:42.19.

The top seven runners in both the men’s and women’s races receive All-NWC First Team honors. Runners 8-14 received All-NWC Second Team recognition.

The Missionaries now ready themselves for the NCAA regional meet, which will be held in two weeks in Claremont, Calif.

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