PLU Women Run at Regional Championships
THIS WEEKEND: Pacific Lutheran women's team will compete at NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country Championships at noon on Saturday at Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, Ore. The men's 8000-meter race starts at 11 a.m. and will be followed by the women's 6000-meter competition.
LUTES HEAD TO REGIONAL MEET: Pacific Lutheran has a full women's team entered at the NCAA Division III West Region Cross Country Championships for the first time since 2002, and this year's youthful squad is focusing on gaining valuable experience for coming seasons. The 2002 squad finished 10th, and that is a target goal for the 2010 Lutes, who earned themselves an opportunity to compete this weekend by finishing sixth at the conference championships. The PLU men's team finished ninth at the NWC meet and did not achieve the standard for entering the meet.
PLU COMPETITORS: Here is a list of the 10 PLU athletes who competed at the conference meet and who are expected to represent the school at the regional competition - sophomore Suzy Olsen, sophomore Katie Gebert, frosh Erinn Kuest, junior Erica Johnson, junior Jill Kuschel, frosh Allison Young, frosh Alyssa Rowland, senior Candace Attwood, junior Rebekah Blakney, and sophomore Chiara Rose-Witt.
ABOUT THE MEET: The West Region Championships features teams from the Northwest Conference (NWC), the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), Colorado College from the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, plus independents Chapman and UC Santa Cruz. According to a Willamette University sports information release, a total of 17 teams will compete in the women's division of the regional meet. Whitworth is back to defend its women's team title, though the Pirates finished second to Lewis & Clark College in the Northwest Conference Championships held on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Ft. Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. The West Region women's rankings shows Claremong-Mudd-Scripps of the SCIAC in first, followed by lewis & Clark and then Whitworth, Willamette and Whitman in the top five. PLU is not ranked among the top 10 teams in the region. Nationally, CMS is ranked No. 13, followed by Lewis & Clark at No. 18 and Whitworth at No. 34.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR NATIONALS: The top two teams in each division earn a spot at the 2010 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20, at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Teams finishing in the third, fourth and fifth positions will be eligible for at-large bids to hnationals. According to the Willamette University release, once the national at-large bids have been announced, the top seven runners from each regional meet not on a team that qualifies for nationals will be invited to compete at the national meet. Pacific Lutheran's best hopes for nationals are a pair of sophomores, Suzy Olsen and Katie Gebert, though both would have to run at least 20-30 seconds faster than they did at the conference meet to have a legitimate chance. Olsen was PLU's top conference meet finisher, placing 13th in a time of 23:25.01 and earning second team All-NWC honors.
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