Oct. 25, 2006
Men's Top Performers
After earning the September Runner of the Month award, John Moore continues to set the tone for West Coast Conference harriers, recording the top time in the WCC with a 24:08.29 finish at the Jim Drews Invitational in La Crosse, WI. Moore took the individual title in La Crosse, beating out runners from top programs including No. 1 Wisconsin and then-No. 12 Minnesota. Moore helped the No. 11-ranked Pilots take second place at the event. Joining Moore on the top times list are six other Pilot runners, all setting their times at the Jim Drews Invitational. Only Gonzaga's Joe Miller and San Francisco's Ryan Courtwright were able to break through the Portland stronghold on the top 10 list. Miller is the only runner to have two top 10 times this season. Four of the runners in the top 10 were top 15 finishers at the WCC Championships last year.
Men's Top Times (8K)
1. John Moore, POR - 24:08.29, Jim Drews Invite
2. Chuck McKenzie, POR - 24:30.79, Jim Drews Invite
3. Michael Kilburg, POR - 24:41.72, Jim Drews Invite
4. Joe Miller, GON - 24:43, Sundodger Invite
5. Tommy Betterbed, POR - 24:47.75, Willamette Invite
6. Justin Houck, POR - 24:50.01, Jim Drews Invite
7. Ryan Courtwright, USF - 24:51.20, Willamette Invite
8. Matt Sheeks, POR - 24:53.59, Jim Drews Invite
9. Joe Miller, GON - 24:56, Notre Dame Invite
10. Colin Longmuir, POR - 24:58.85, Jim Drews Invite
Women's Top Performers
Laura Mickelson, the WCC Runner of the Month for September, currently holds the conference's top time in the 6K. The LMU harrier recorded a time of 20:22 at the Stanford Invitational, taking third place behind two runners from the No. 1 Cardinal. Mickelson has taken three individual titles this season. Fellow Lion Kristen Gonzalez joins Mickelson in the No. 10 spot on the top times list. Three Portland runners have posted seven of the top 10 times this season. Dana Morgan leads the Pilot harriers with three of the top 10 times, while Sifrash Ademe and Bobeya Krishnek have both posted two top times each. Last year's second place finisher at the WCC Championships, Shannon Bell, holds the No. 7 spot on the list. Bell, Mickelson and Ademe all finished in the top 10 of the 2005 WCC Championships.
Women's Top Times (6K)
1. Laura Mickelson, LMU - 20:22, Stanford Invite
2. Sifrash Ademe, POR - 21:27.0, Pre-Nationals
3. Dana Morgan, POR - 21:28.6, Pre-Nationals
4. Bobeya Krishnek, POR - 21:33, Sundodger Invite
5. Dana Morgan, POR - 21:35, Sundodger Invite
6. Sifrash Ademe, POR - 21:39.62, Dellinger Invite
7. Shannon Bell, SCU - 21:47, Sundodger Invite
8. Bobeya Krishnek, POR - 21:52.5, Pre-Nationals
9. Dana Morgan, POR - 21:55.24, Dellinger Invite
10. Kristen Gonzalez, LMU - 21:56, Stanford Invite
WCC Championships History
The West Coast Conference has sponsored Cross Country Championships since 1975, and it has been a storied championship for the University of Portland. The men's team has dominated this championship by winning it for 27 consecutive years, the longest streak in any sport in WCC history. Portland runners have also won the individual championship 27 straight years and have swept the top five positions nine times, including five straight years from 1994 to 1999. That streak was snapped in 2000 as San Diego's Antonio Lopez finished second to Portland's Ryan Craig. It was the highest finish by a non-Portland runner since 1989. In 2004, Portland was once again impressive as six Pilots finished in the top 10, led by individual winner Nick Schuetze. The win was the second WCC individual championship for Schuetze in his Portland career after claiming the title in 2001. Portland's Brett Carter, the 2003 individual champion, finished in second place, just two seconds behind Schuetze. A trio of Pilots locked down the top three spots in 2005, with Carter taking second place again behind Matt Sheeks.
Pilots Joe Driscoll and Bryan Bothwell each surpassed the men's 8K course record in 1999, with Driscoll beating Bothwell by one second to win the overall title in 24:53. The old record of 24:56 had been set by UP's Todd Davis only one year earlier. Santa Clara is the only school to come close to defeating Portland. The 1985 Broncos squad had five runners in the top ten, including Rory O'Flaherty at #3, but Brent Felt and John Bursell finished 1-2 for the Pilots to defeat Santa Clara by the slimmest margin in WCC history, 11 points (26-37). In 1986, Bronco runners O'Flaherty and Bill Quirk finished in the top five, but Felt and the Pilots again finished first, winning 27-48. Nevada-Reno is the only other squad to win the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC) Cross Country Championships--taking four straight from 1975-1978.
Portland's women's team, like their male counterparts, have also dominated this event. The Pilots have won 16 of the last 21 women's championships the WCC has sponsored, including nine of the last 10. After finishing in second place in 2001, Portland reclaimed the women's title in 2002, with four runners finishing in the top 10. Allegra Porter of Saint Mary's won the women's race with a time of 17:42, the then-second fastest time ever recorded at the WCC Women's Cross Country Championships. In 2004, Portland captured its 15th WCC crown, landing six runners in the top 10. Portland's Amie Dahnke claimed the individual title with a time of 17:40, the second fastest time recorded at the WCC Championships. The 2005 Championships saw yet another Portland title, with the Pilots' Ashlee Vincent finishing out her career with a first place finish.
San Francisco posted its best finish in 2004, coming in second place behind Portland. The Dons were led by Jeannine Hagedorn's runner-up finish with a program-best time of 18:01. San Diego's Tiffanie Marley took home the individual crown in 2003, becoming the first Torero to capture the title. Santa Clara captured its first WCC Cross Country Championship stunning Portland by a slim 46 points to 63 points in 2001, ending the Pilots' streak of five straight titles. Paced by freshman Robin Bell who captured third place, the Broncos claimed five of the top fifteen spots. Though LMU finished in seventh place in 2001, junior Edit Pakay took home the individual title with a time of 17:58, the all-time fastest championship pace set by an LMU runner. In 2000, Pilot Nicole Ricci claimed the individual championship beating teammate Alyson Barrett to the line by 39 seconds. It was the third-largest individual victory margin in the history of the women's race.
Former WCC member US International took the first two championships in 1985 and 1986. In 1986, Nevada-Reno's Patty Young set a Crystal Springs Women's 5K course record at 17:47 that stood until 1994. Portland won the first of three consecutive championships in 1987. The 1987 Pilot squad set a WCC scoring record of 18 points, a feat which has yet to be surpassed. Saint Mary's captured its only championship in 1990, narrowly defeating Portland 55-59 behind individual winner Anne Wedum, who crossed the finish line with a time of 18:33. Portland and Saint Mary's ran neck-and-neck in 1991, with the Pilots capturing the title by two points, 43-45, the slimmest margin in WCC history. The Pilots then reeled off three more championships through 1994, with an average victory margin of 51 points in each of those three years. Nicole Karr surpassed the 8 year-old course record in 17:43 to lead the Pilots in 1994. In 1995, Gonzaga placed 4 of the top 7 runners to win the championship, followed by a rugged Saint Mary's squad which placed 4 of the top 10 runners. Gonzaga sophomore Cheska Fairbanks set a new course and championships record in 1996 at 17:26, but Portland regained the championship throne.
WCC Team Notes
- The Gonzaga men and women are looking to return to the success they had in 2004 after both took fifth place at last year's WCC Championships.
- Joe Miller returns after back-to-back top 10 finishes in 2004 and 2005. Miller's top performance in 2006 came at the Whitworth Short Course Invitational, where he took the individual title, while his best finish in an 8K event was fourth place, which he earned at both the Eastern Washington and Notre Dame Invitationals.
- Nellie Ballou and Kara Rasmussen have paced the women's team this season. Ballou returns as Gonzaga's top finisher from last year's championships, while Rasmussen led the Bulldogs in three of their four races this season.
- The men have recorded 11 second place finishes, while the Gonzaga women have taken one title and finished in the top three 10 times in WCC Championship history.
Loyola Marymount Lions
- The LMU women head to the championships looking to knock off Portland after recording their highest finish ever in second place last year. The men took third, their best finish since 1996.
- Laura Mickelson has been the Lions' leader for the entirety of the 2006 season. Mickelson returns to the Championships after placing seventh last year and boasts the WCC's top 6K time this season.
- After finishing in 14th a year ago to earn All-WCC honorable mention, Reynaldo Barrera is LMU's top returner on the men's side. Barrera, Jonathan MacNeill and Nicholas Brennan will lead the Lions at the championships.
- Head Coach Scott Guerrero will guide the Lions at the championships after earning the WCC women's Coach of the Year award in 2005. Guerrero is in his ninth season at the helm for LMU.
- Both Pepperdine's men's and women's teams are looking to make their way into the top half of the results at the championships. The men finished sixth and the women finished seventh in 2005.
- Sam Hudson and Tim Hatters are the Waves' top returning finishers from last season on the men's side. The two combined to lead the team in three of five races this season. Hudson and Hatters finished two-three in Malibu to help the team earn a win over Cal State Northridge at home.
- Although she finished 37th at last year's race, Kyla Maher has been Pepperdine's top runner in nearly every race this season. Maher's best 6K race came at the USD Invitational where she finished third overall in 24:16.19.
- The women's side had its best finish in 1999, when it took second place, while the men took third in 1997 for their best finish.
- Portland is looking to retain its stronghold on the WCC titles on both sides. The men's team has won 27 straight championships, while the women have taken nine of the last 10 conference titles.
- Pilot runners have posted seven of the top 10 times in the WCC this season. John Moore leads the pack with the No. 1 time in the conference. Moore, Matt Sheeks, last year's champion, and Colin Longmuir, the 2005 Freshman of the Year, are Portland's only returners from the 2005 meet.
- On the women's side, Dana Morgan has set three of the top 10 times in the WCC in 2006 and joins both Sifrash Ademe and Bobeya Krishnek among the conference's top 6K runners.
- The Pilot men are ranked No. 11 in the nation and fourth in the West region, while the women broke into the West region poll last week at No. 10.
Saint Mary's Gaels
- The Gaels' men's and women's squads are looking to improve their stock at the WCC Championship after finishing in the bottom two on both sides for four straight years.
- On the men's side, Sean Hanley has been Saint Mary's top finisher in each of its five races this year. Hanley's best time this season (28:28.30) came at the Willamette Invitational on September 30.
- Karrie Hagedorn and Clare Schwallie are the Gaels' top returners on the women's side. Hagedorn was Saint Mary's top runner in each race this season, recording her best finish in fourth place at the San Francisco State Invitational.
- The Saint Mary's men placed second in 1999 for their best WCC finish in school history, while the women have won the title once and taken second five times.
San Diego Toreros
- The Torero men and women placed seventh and sixth at last year's championships and bring rosters featuring a combined 15 underclassmen to the 2006 event.
- Chris Jacobs returns as San Diego's top finisher from last year, just missing All-WCC honorable mention in 17th place. Jacobs was the top men's finisher for USD at the Iona College Meet of Champions, featuring some of the East Coast's top cross country teams.
- The freshmen duo of Ashlen Nimmo and Mariana Monasi have led the Torero women this season, leading the squad in each race in 2006. Sarah Coxhead is San Diego's top returner from the 2005 WCC Championships.
- The USD men's best WCC Championship finish came in 1997 when they took second place behind Portland, while the women took second in 1994 in their highest finish in school history.
San Francisco Dons
- Coming off of its best finish ever in 2005, the USF men's team is looking to return to the top two in 2006, while the women's team will attempt to remain in the top half of the team results this year.
- Ryan Courtwright and Cheyne Inman are the Dons' top men's returners after taking 11th and ninth, respectively, last year. Courtwright currently holds the No. 7 8K time in the conference after taking 15th at the Willamette Invitational, while Inman recorded his top finish in second place at the USF Invitational.
- The women recorded top three finishes in each of their scoring races this season, including a first place finish at the Sacramento State Invitational. The Dons' top returners include Jennifer Hartford and Renee Stribling who both posted three top 30 finishes this season.
- USF's second place finishes in 2004 (women) and 2005 (men) are its all-time bests.
Santa Clara Broncos
- The Santa Clara men and women are looking to improve upon their fourth and third place finishes, respectively, in 2005.
- Last year's runner up, Shannon Bell, leads the Bronco women. Bell holds the seventh best 6K time in the conference this year and has been Santa Clara's top finisher in three of its five races this year. Veronica Vasquez joins Bell as the Broncos' only other top 15 finisher from last year's championships.
- The trio of Mike Delaurenti, Chris Gumbs and Mike Hannon lead the Broncos heading into the championships. One of the three has been Santa Clara's top finisher in four of its five races this season.
- The Santa Clara women recorded their best finish in 2001, when they broke up Portland's five year title streak, while the men finished second in 2002 to post their best championships finish.