by Christina Russell
WHITMAN COLLEGE PIONEER
The Whitman cross-country team kicked up their heels and headed west last Saturday, where they ran in the Northwest Conference Cross-Country Championships at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.
The NWC is comprised of George Fox University, Lewis and Clark College, Linfield College, Pacific University, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Willamette University, Whitworth College and Whitman. “We faced everyone,” said captain Sam Clark. “But the teams we were gunning for in particular are Lewis and Clark, Whitworth and Linfield.”
The team brought runners for both the men’s 8k and the women’s 6k events. The men concluded the conference with 138 points, five points short of Whitworth, who finished fifth, and 19 points behind fourth place George Fox. Willamette won overall with 40 points. In the women’s 6k, Whitman earned 126 points, three points more than fifth place Whitworth and 11 more than third place Lewis and Clark. Again, Willamette claimed first with 50 points.
Standout performances included senior Clark, who placed ninth overall with a time of 25:11 and claimed all-conference honors, alongside all-conference honors winner first-year Missionary Sara McClune, who ranked 14th in the women’s division with a time of 22:23. Between Clark and McClune, this is the first time in 11 years that Whitman has earned all-conference honors in both divisions. “What I am most excited about is how much we’ve improved from last year. We were competitive at the Conference meet this year,” said head coach Malcolm Dunn.
Other notable runs include junior Brian Woods, who got 20th with a time of 25:32, and first-year women Yasmeen Colia and Michela Corcorran, who claimed 19th (22:43) and 20th (22:44), respectively. Senior Caitlin Kearney, who has been out because of a serious stress fracture, was able to overcome her injury in order to run a personal best time of 23:25. All nine female runners earned personal best times, in addition to Whitman’s top six runners, who each clocked in with personal bests of the season.
Up ahead for the cross-country team are two more weeks of season, which will conclude with the West Region Championships in Chino, California on Nov. 11. “The course overall was very flat and fast,” said Clark on Saturday’s run. “[In Chino] the course [will be] slower and hillier, which will make for a very different race.”