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Women run to seventh in region; trio of Tigers earn All West Region

SALEM, Ore. (Nov. 13, 2010) – After a night of light rain and the men’s race, the women’s cross country team lined up at the start beneath a cloud laden, but dry sky to race in the 2010 Division III West Regionals at Busch Pasture Park next to the campus of Willamette University. The squad moved up in their regional rankings, finishing seventh among the 17 teams competing.

On what was deemed by many as a ‘fast course,’ it proved to be just that, as more than half of the women’s squad recorded personal best times. Marnie Kinnaird, running in just her second collegiate race, placed 15th with a time of 23:20.92, one spot out of earning a trip to the Division III National Championships. She was the highest Oxy finisher at West Regionals since Maddie Weissman placed 15th in 2007.

When asked about the race the freshman shared, “We were well prepared to race today. I learned that anything is possible at Regionals: It is a competitive race, but because the field is so close and talented, if you show up with the right attitude you can push yourself to the next level.”

Someone else who improved and ran at the next level today was junior Eliza Dornbush. A stress fracture in her foot, which kept her out of commission last spring, is completely healed and it showed today. Not only did she run the 6K in a personal best time of 23:41.92, but she earned her second All West Region honor as well.

Rounding out the trio of Tigers who landed on the All West Region team was junior Sadie Mohler who completed the course in 23:38.90, also repeating as an AWR recipient.

Both Sierra Walker and Casey Warendorf ran the fastest 6K of her respective career at 24:29.08 and 24:54.28.

In her first regional meet, Walker was nervous out of the shoot, but that didn’t last long.

“We got out fast and once I started racing it was just like any other race. Today was a lot of fun and it was a great course.”

It was a course that was new to many, but not Meghan Whalen, who hails from Eugene, Ore.

“It was really nice to be back on a course that I ran in high school,” she shared “It was exciting to have the opportunity come back to Oregon and run in the cold Northwest weather.”

Whalen ran a 24:24.74. Rounding out the field today was Anna Dalton who completed the race in 24:58.57.

The overall experience for the team was a positive one and many of the women mentioned how fun of a race it was, especially since the team did so well.

“Cumulatively this was the team’s best performance of the year,” said Head Coach Rob Bartlett. “It was not perfect, but the majority of people ran well and that was the first time all year that the entire group performed to their capabilities on the same day.”

Ending the season on a high note certainly leaves a sweet taste in the mouth of the Tigers.

“After this weekend, I am already excited for next year,” Whalen finished.

Occidental has only one senior and will return a solid veteran core of cross country runners to the course next fall. A fourth place conference finish and a seventh place regional finish show a promising future for the Tigers in 2011.

The overall winner today was Pomona-Pitzer’s Annie Lydens (21:51.84). Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earned the team title and will be joined at Nationals by Whitworth University on Saturday, Nov. 20.

A complete listing of results can be found here.

Article by Tracy Maple, Sports Information Director