Sept. 13, 2006
Portland Tops 2006 WCC Men's and Women's Preseason Polls
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 preseason poll. Both teams received the maximum 49 points in their respective polls, after getting the first place nod from all seven other coaches in the conference. Gonzaga received the remaining first place vote for the men, while Loyola Marymount garnered the eighth first place vote in the women's poll.
The Pilots have won the men's race 27 consecutive years, the longest streak in any sport in WCC history. Portland runners have also taken the top individual spot in as many years, with three Pilots sweeping first, second, and third in 2005. As is the case with the men's program, since its inception, the WCC women's cross country championship has been dominated by Portland. The Pilots have won 16 of the 21 women's championships the WCC has sponsored, including nine of the last 10.
Loyola Marymount and San Francisco finished in a tie for second in the men's poll, while Santa Clara was picked just behind them in fourth. Although Gonzaga received one first place vote, it is slated to finish fifth in the conference. Pepperdine and San Diego are picked to tie for sixth place and Saint Mary's rounds out the men's poll in eighth place.
The women's poll almost matches the men's with a flip flop of Santa Clara and San Francisco being the only difference between the two polls. Loyola Marymount is picked to repeat as WCC runners-up, while Santa Clara just snagged the third place pick ahead of San Francisco. Gonzaga and Pepperdine both received 21 points to finish fifth in the poll. San Diego and Saint Mary's also round out the bottom of the women's poll, finishing in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
2006 WCC Preseason Coaches Polls
1. Portland - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marymount - 38
4. Santa Clara - 32
5. Gonzaga - 28 (1)
6. Pepperdine - 16
8. Saint Mary's - 7
1. Portland - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marmount - 41 (1)
3. Santa Clara - 36
4. San Francisco - 34
5. Gonzaga - 21
7. San Diego - 15
8. Saint Mary's - 7
(first place votes)
WCC Team Notes
- Gonzaga opened up the season at the Vandal Twilight Jamboree hosted by the University of Idaho on September 2. The meet was a non-scoring event for Gonzaga, but four women and three men finished in the top 20 in their races.
- Kara Rasmussen led the way for the Zags, finishing in 11th place, with Emmy Bentley, Nellie Ballou and Molly Funk joining her in the top 20 in the women's 4K.
- In the men's race, Colby Litzenberger and Gabe Hayden finished back-to-back in 15th and 16th as Gonzaga's top harriers.
- Although it had no official team score, Gonzaga beat both Idaho and Washington State in both the men's and women's races.
- The Bulldogs head to the Sundodger Invitational, hosted by Washington, this weekend.
Loyola Marymount Lions
- After a fifth place finish at the Fullerton Invitational, the LMU men took the title at the USD Invitational last week. Meanwhile, the women are also off to a fast start, taking second and third at the same meets.
- Laura Mickelson has set the pace for the Lions so far. Her time of 17:10.9 gave her first place at the Fullerton Invitational and is the top time in the WCC.
- Reynaldo Barrera, Drew Haberkorn, Chris Eagan and Jordan Legan all recorded top 10 finishes to help the men's squad to the title at the USD Invitational last week.
- The men's title was the first in an invitational for the Lions under Head Coach Scott Guerrero.
- The Lions travel next to the Aztec Invitational (9/16) followed by the Stanford Invitational (9/30).
- The Pepperdine men and women improved upon 11th and 13th place finishes, respectively, at the Fullerton Invitational with both teams taking second place at the USD Invitational last weekend.
- Tim Hatters led the men in San Diego, finishing sixth in 28:17.6. Hatters was joined by Chris Gaudreau, Sam Hudson and Nick Rowan among the top 15 finishers at the meet.
- Taking third place, Kyla Maher was the Waves' top finisher on the women's side. Brieanna Carroll and Jessica Heckman also had strong showings in San Diego, joining Maher amongst the top 10 finishers.
- Pepperdine continues the 2006 campaign next week hosting the Pepperdine Invitational (9/23) before traveling to the UC Riverside Invitational (9/30).
- Even without their top runners, the Pilot men finished second behind Oregon at the Pier Park Preview, while the women finished third.
- The men fielded its "B" squad, holding the top harriers out of the event. Colin Longmuir, Justin Houck and Mike Quackenbush led the team to second place with top five finishes in the four mile race.
- The Portland men's team earned national ranking of No. 7 in the USTFCCCA Men's NCAA-I Cross Country Coaches Poll released Tuesday. The Pilot men are also ranked No. 2 in the West Region behind Stanford.
- The Pilots will compete at the Sundodger Invite in Seattle on September 16 before heading to Eugene for the Bill Dellinger Invitational (9/29), and to Salem, OR for the Willamette Invitational (9/30).
Saint Mary's Gaels
- Saint Mary's opened the season at the UC Davis Invitational, finishing fifth in the women's race and 10th in the men's race.
- Sean Hanley was the top SMC finisher on the men's side, placing 53rd with a time of 29:04.4. Hanley was followed closely by David Stiles, who finished just eight seconds later.
- With a time of 19:42.40, Karrie Hagedorn was the best finisher for the women, coming in 26th. Joining Hagedorn in the top 50 runners were Claudia Aguilera, Clare Schwallie and Haley Hunsaker.
- All four women in the top 50 improved upon their finishes in the same event last year.
- Saint Mary's continues its season in San Diego for the Aztec Invitational on September 16 before traveling north to Salem, OR for the Willamette Invitational on September 30.
San Diego Toreros
- The Toreros have gotten off to a slow start, finishing near the bottom of the pack at both the Fullerton Invitational and their own meet last weekend.
- Ashlen Nimmo was the Toreros' top female finisher last week, taking ninth place in the women's 6K with a time of 25:03.58. Nimmo has led the way so far, recording USD's top times in both women's races this year.
- Chris Jacobs led the men last weekend, taking the individual title at the USD Invitational with a time of 27:19.47, good enough to squeeze in at the 10th spot on the WCC leaders list.
- The Toreros field a young roster in 2006 featuring just five total upperclassmen on both squads.
- The Toreros have the weekend off before going to Riverdale, NY to compete in the Iona Meet of Champions on September 30.
San Francisco Dons
- San Francisco kicked off the season with a men's first place and women's second place finish at its own invitational on September 2.
- Cheyne Inman and Ryan Courtwright led the way for the men, snagging first and second place in the men's 8K, finishing just one second apart. Inman's time is tops in the WCC.
- The Dons placed five men and two women in the top 10 of their respective races, with Jennifer Hartford recording the best finish for the women in fifth place with a time of 18:12.80.
- San Francisco's men hold three of the top five times in the conference and half of the top 10. The USF women also hold five of the top 10 times in the WCC after two weekends of races.
- USF next competes at Sacramento State's Hornet Invitational this weekend, then travels to both the Willamette Invitational and the Stanford Invitational on September 30.
Santa Clara Broncos
- The Broncos opened the season with strong showings at the USF Invitational, finishing second in the men's and fourth in the women's competition.
- Chris Gumbs posted a time of 26:23.50 as the top finisher for the Bronco men, taking third place at Golden Gate Park.
- SCU harriers posted three of the top 10 8K times among WCC runners, as Gumbs, Mike Delaurenti and AJ Blumel all recorded sub-27:20 marks at the USF Invite.
- Shannon Bell notched the top Bronco 5K time at the USF Invite with an 18:56.2 mark, good for second in the WCC.
- Santa Clara will compete at the Sundodger Invitational on September 16 and the Notre Dame and Stanford Invitationals on September 29 and 30.