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Portland Tops 2009 Men's and Women's WCC Preseason Cross Country Polls

Aug. 6, 2009

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San Bruno, Calif. - The University of Portland men's and women's cross country teams were both picked to repeat as conference champions, as chosen by the WCC coaches in the annual preseason poll. Both teams received the maximum 49 points in their respective polls, getting the first place nod from all seven other coaches in the league. San Francisco received the remaining first place vote on the men's side, while Loyola Marymount took the last vote on the women's side.

The Pilots have won the men's race 30 consecutive years, the longest active streak for any cross country program in the country. Last season, Portland tied its program high with a seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships and return three runners from that team in Alfred Kiphumba, who finished 18th in that race, and Tommy Betterbed, who both made the preseason all-conference team, and Matt Frerker. Other returners who made the preseason all-conference team are Andy Edick and Colin Harris.

The Portand women have been just as dominant as the men, winning 19 of the 24 conference titles. It returns some of the top finishers in last year's WCC Championships in Dana Morgan (2nd) and Natalie Hemphill (5th), and join Lyndy Davis on the preseason all-conference team.

Loyola Marymount was tied for second with San Francisco (40 points) on the men's side and finished second on the women's (42 points). The Lion men placed three on the preseason all-conference team in Phillip Benavides, Brian McDonald, and Connor Pastoor, who all ran on the team that lost to Portland by 10 points in the WCC Championships, making it the closest race in conference history. The Don men will look to leadership from Ganbileg Bor, the 2008 WCC Freshman of the Year and runner up at the conference championships. On the women's side, Loyola Marymount returns last year's conference champion, Tara Erdmann, and Brieanna Delaney, who finished eighth at the conference championships, who both made the preseason all-conference team.

The San Francisco women took third place with 37 points, while the Bronco men and women finished in fourth with 31 and 32 points respectively. The Dons return Laurel Kleiber, who gained All-WCC honorable mention last year and was named to the preseason all-conference team. The Santa Clara men and women both return 2008 All-WCC members Robbie Reid and Stephanie Wilson, both named to the preseason all-conference team.

On the men's side Gonzaga took fifth with 23 points, followed by Pepperdine in sixth with 20, while San Diego (11 points) edged out Saint Mary's (10) to round out the poll. On the women's side, Pepperdine (20 points), led by preseason all-conference team member Chelsea Wishard, who finished 3rd at last year's championships, just beat out Gonzaga, which had 19. San Diego, which returns preseason all-conference member Liz Ramos, finished in seventh with 18 points, while Saint Mary's closed out the poll with seven points.

This year's WCC Cross Country Championships will once again be held at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course in Belmont, CA on October 31, 2009.

Men's XC Poll
1. POR - 49 (7)
2. LMU - 40
USF - 40 (1)
4. SCU - 31
5. GON - 23
6. PEP - 20
7. USD - 11
8. SMC - 10

Men's XC Preseason All-Conference Team
Phillip Benavides, LMU
Tommy Betterbed, POR
Ganbileg Bor, USF
Andy Edick, POR
Alex Harkins, SCU
Collin Harris, POR
Alfred Kipchumba, POR
Brian McDonald, LMU
Conner Pastoor, LMU
Robbie Reid, SCU

Women's XC Poll
1. POR - 49 (7)
2. LMU - 42 (1)
3. USF - 37
4. SCU - 32
5. PEP - 20
6. GON - 19
7. USD - 18
8. SMC - 7

Women's XC Preseason All-Conference Team
Lyndy Davis, POR
Brieanna Delaney, LMU
Tara Erdmann, LMU
Natalie Hemphill, POR
Laurel Kleiber, USF
Lauren Lodge, PEP
Dana Morgan, POR
Liz Ramos, USD
Stephanie Wilson, SCU
Chelsea Wishard, PEP