by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After strong performances from both cross country teams at the PLU invite, including a victory for the women's team, the Whitworth Pirates are headed to Oregon to compete in the Charles Bowles Invitational.
The Bowles Invite is hosted by Willamette University in Salem, Ore. The men's race opens the day at 9:30 a.m. with the women's race following at 10:20 am. More information, including course maps and parking, is available here.
Last Time Out: Marissa Mount's fifth-place performance led the Pirate women to a team victory in the PLU invite. The senior combined with fellow star returner Krystal Roberts, who finished seventh, and freshman Ellie Shoop, who finished eighth, to lead the team to its first victory of the year. Emma Bates rounded out Whitworth's four top-10 performers with a 10th place result.
On the men's side, William Glick placed 11th to lead the Bucs to a fourth place team finish. Freshman Aidan Smith finished just .01 seconds behind Glick to place 12th, followed by Jacob Clark and Nathaniel Anderson in 21st and 22nd place respectively.
Regional Rankings: The third in-season USTFCCCA regional rankings were released Tuesday and both Pirate teams own spots in the top-ten. The Whitworth women are ranked sixth in the West, and the men were picked in ninth.
Woman of the Year: Former Pirate cross country runner Kayla Leland was selected as one of the 30 finalists for the NCAA's Woman of the Year Award. Leland is the first Pirate to be chosen as a finalist for the award and the second Buc in three years to be the Northwest Conference's Woman of the Year.
National Championships: The 2018 NCAA Division III National Championships are hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on November 17 in Oshkosh, Wis.
Recent Championship History: Whitworth has a proud history of competing at the cross country national championships, including two All-America performances and top-20 finishes for the women's team in each of the last three seasons.
2017 – Kayla Leland took home All-American honors by finishing 19th and led the Whitworth women to an 11th place finish, the team's second-best in school history.
2016 – Leland placed 11th in Whitworth's best ever individual performance at the Division III National Championships. Leland's All-American performance helped the Bucs place 17th, the third-best result in school history.
2015 – Allison Wood and Kellyn Roiko finished in 85th and 86th place respectively to lead the Pirates to a 20th place team finish. Christopher MacMurray earned an individual bid to the meet and finished 217th.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates travel back to Oregon in two weeks for their final tune-up before the Northwest Conference Championships. Whitworth competes in the Lewis & Clark Invitational, which will be in the same location as this year's conference championships, on Saturday, Oct. 13.
The Coach: The fall of 2018 marks Dr. Toby Schwarz's 21st season as head coach of the Whitworth Cross Country program. During his time at Whitworth Schwarz has been named West Region Coach of the Year four times and Northwest Conference Coach of the Year on seven occasions. Schwarz was selected as the NWC Women's Coach of the Year in 2017 after leading Whitworth to its third straight conference title.