Runners are often their own toughest critics, but the Pacific Lutheran University men’s and women’s cross country teams didn’t take their ninth and sixth place finishes too hard at the Northwest Conference Championships Saturday in Salem, Ore.
“What impressed me is the incredible amount of focus and support that everyone had without taking it too seriously,” senior Hannah Walton said. “All of us had our parts to play during the race and we executed them beautifully.”
Using their home-field advantage, the men and women runners for Willamette swept the team titles for the second year in a row.
The Bearcat women’s 16 points were one shy of a perfect score, and dwarfed the PLU women’s score of 229.
For the women, sophomore Genevieve Brandt’s 23:51.2 time helped her to a 33rd place finish in the 6k, the highest for the Lutes.
During the same race, sophomore Shailee R. Woodard and junior Amie Wilson placed 54th and 59th, with times of 24:50.2 and 24:54.1, respectively.
“We worked together in our races and overall performed well,” Brandt said. “Six of the girls set a season personal record on the course that was muddy and slow. They were really competing.”
Whether it was the mud or the competition, the PLU men couldn’t muster enough points, and finished at the foot of the table with 254 points.
Like the women, the Willamette men’s team dominated with 41 points.
Sophomore Charles Mogen’s 41st place in the 8k led the PLU men, and sophomores Matthew Macfarlane and Brendon Bonnell finished in the top 60 for the Lutes.
The women’s team and Mogen will continue training in preparation for NCAA Regionals Nov. 15, also at Willamette University on the same course.
“The women’s team has an incredible strength and tenacity that keeps surprising me,” Walton said. “The combination of supportive teammates, amazing coaches and great managers made this weekend so worth it.