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WCC Cross Country National Championships Recap

Nov. 20, 2006

Portland Men - 18th, 487 pts.
Chuck McKenzie, 32:22 - 80th
John Moore, 32:29 - 87th
Matt Sheeks, 32:43 - 113th
Micah Rolfe, 33:24 - 176th
Justin Houck, 33:31 - 183rd
Michael Kilburg, 33:40 - 195th
Mike Quackenbush, 34:11 - 223rd

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The University of Portland men's cross country team ended its season Monday, placing 18th at the NCAA National Meet. Senior Chuck McKenzie was the highest Pilot finisher, coming in at 80th.

Colorado took home the title with 94 points, followed by Wisconsin (142). Iona (172), Stanford (195), and Oregon (196) rounded out the top five.

"Top 20 in the country is pretty dang good," Portland head coach Rob Conner said. "It wasn't our best day and some of the guys were disappointed, but still when you are top 20 in the nation, it's an accomplishment."

Junior John Moore was the next Portland runner to cross the line, finishing in 87th place. Moore was followed by seniors Matt Sheeks (113th) and Micah Rolfe (176th), sophomore Justin Houck (183rd), junior Michael Kilburg (195th) and sophomore Mike Quackenbush (223rd).

It was Portland's eighth NCAA Championship appearance under Conner.

Brigham Young's Josh Rohatinsky won the individual title, finishing the 10 kilometer race in 30:44.9, three seconds ahead of Stanford's Neftalem Araia. Two individual qualifiers were next, Southern Utah's Jess Baumgartner and Northern Arizona's Lopez Lomong. Providence's Martin Fagan was fifth.

Laura Mickelson, LMU: 50th, 21:38

TERRE HAUTE, IN - Laura Mickelson landed among the nation's top-50 Monday, as she represented Loyola Marymount cross country at the NCAA National Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. The Lions' junior finished 50th overall, and fifth from the west region.

Mickelson recovered from an early fall to finish the 6k in 21:38 for 50th place. It was a slow course full of standing water and mud, and Mickelson fell in the first 1000m. She returned to her feet and spent the rest of the race moving through the traffic, eventually passing a few of the runners that had topped her at the NCAA West Regional on November 11th. Mickelson finished fifth among runners from the west region.

"Laura ran a really good, really smart race," LMU Head Coach Scott Guerrero said. "The course was so muddy and slow. After her early fall, she spent of lot of time trying to get back through the traffic, but she moved up all the way through the rest of the race. She ran really well today."

Despite the unfavorable course, the Terre Haute area had sunny skies Monday. Pre-race temperature was a chilly 28 degrees.

Stanford, Colorado, and Michigan took the nation's top-3 in the final women's team standings.

Mickelson's national run marked the first time in LMU history that the Lions were represented at the NCAA Cross Country Championship.

She earned the individual NCAA invitation following her seventh place finish at the NCAA West Regional. Her 6k regional time was 21:19.59, earning her an USTFCCA All-Region selection.

Mickelson earned the only WCC women's NCAA Championship bid. The WCC's men's team champion, Portland, earned a team invitation.

Indiana State University hosted the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.

Fox Sports televised the championship, but it will air nationally the first week of December.

Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.

Thirty-eight individuals, the first four athletes from each region who are not a part of a qualifying team and two additional qualifiers, were selected to participate in each championship. All individual qualifiers must have finished in the top-25 in their region. The field will total 255 runners (217 runners attached to teams and 38 individual competitors).

No stranger to the national stage, Mickelson qualified for the 2006 NCAA Track Championship in the 5000m last June. Her time of 16:43.61 placed her among the nation's top-25 in the event.

At the NCAA West Regional, Mickelson led the LMU women to finish 14th of 30 teams, equaling the LMU-best mark from a year ago.

During the regular season, Mickelson tallied three titles, winning the Cal State Fullerton Invitational, SDSU Aztec Invitational, and the Cal Poly Invitational. She was selected as the WCC Female Runner of the Month for both September and October. LMU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) selected her as the LMU Female Athlete of the Month for both months as well.