Oct. 18, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. --- The University of Portland women's cross country team earned its first regional ranking of the season in the USTFCCCA poll this week, checking in at tenth in the West after a solid performance at the Pre-National meet last weekend. The complete poll, voted on by track and cross country coaches, can be seen by following the above link.
"I think our team has been a bit underrated this season, so it is nice to get the regional ranking," head coach Ian Solof said. "Still, you have to get the job done in the meets, and I am confident we will be at our best for the West Coast Conference championship and West Regional. We still haven't had a meet where everyone on our team runs their best. When that happens, we will exceed a lot of people's expectations."
The Pilots hope to improve their ranking at the West Coast Conference Championship, held on Oct. 28 in Belmont, Calif., where Portland will be aiming to win their fifth consecutive conference title. Portland has won 13 of the past 15 WCC championships. The Pilots will then host the NCAA West Regional meet on Nov. 11 at Blue Lake Park in Gresham, Ore.
At the Pre-National meet last weekend, the Pilots placed 25th in the "white" race against an elite national field that included 10 top 30 teams and 5 top 10 teams. Sophomore Sifrash Ademe and freshman Dana Morgan lead Portland at the race, finishing back-to-back at 71st and 72nd while clocking in at 21:27 and 21:29, respectively, on the six kilometer course.
Ademe and Morgan were followed by junior Bobeya Krishnek (116th, 21:53), senior Kristen Rohde (190th, 22:34), sophomore Adrienne Nova (202nd, 22:43), freshman Natalie Hemphill (206th, 22:48) and sophomore Janel Sislow (236th, 23:35). Five of the Pilots' top seven finishers were underclassmen.
"With only one senior, I am excited for the next few years, when we should field the best teams we have ever had and I truly believe we will make a jump to the next level."
Pre-Nationals was the second consecutive meet in which the Pilots faced highly-ranked opponents. On Sept. 30, the Pilots placed ninth at the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene, Ore. in a meet that featured six top 30 teams and three top 10 teams.
"Our competition schedule has been extremely difficult and the women have been working hard to show what kind of team we have," Solof said. "The Pre-Nationals meet was very tough, but we needed to do it to give our young team the experience they will need in the future."