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NWC CHAMPIONSHIP: Bruins Run Well but Finish 9th in Conference 6K RaceSalem-News.com Sports
(LAKEWOOD, Wash) - Kate Freiheit ran a personal best by over a minute in posting the top mark for George Fox University, but the Bruins as a team finished ninth in the Northwest Conference Women’s 6K Cross Country Championship, hosted by the University of Puget Sound, on a rainy Saturday morning here at Ft. Steilacoom Park.
The Bruins had a team total of 224 points, only eight behind Pacific University’s 216. Lewis & Clark College won the race with 43 points, followed by Whitworth University with 73, Willamette University with 94, Whitman College with 100, Linfield College with 113, Pacific Lutheran University with 137, Puget Sound with 194, Pacific, and George Fox.
Freiheit, a transfer from the University of Wisconsin-Stout who competed in only one other race this fall while recovering from an injury, ran a 24:05.95 to finish 28th overall and 27th for team scoring. Also counting for the Bruins were Lizzy Alaimo with a 24:16.69 (34th/33rd), Chelsea Sowards with a 25:05.90 (53rd/49th), Alyssa Turner with a 26:10.07 (71st/57th), and Alicia Haresnape with a 26:10.71 (73rd/58th). Other Bruin runners were Anja Harder (26:52.23, 78th), Melissa Kristovich (27:20.53, 79th), and Anna Thomas (29:51.44, 81st).
“Although we finished ninth, this marked a huge turnaround for us in that we had a full team competing for the first time in two years,” noted George Fox distance coach Jeff Larson. “Our girls did all they could, and we were only eight points out of eighth, so everyone is pretty upbeat about the future.
“Kate had a big day and proved to be an excellent team leader today. We’ve had to bring her along slowly this fall, but she was ready for a very challenging course. Lizzy had a solid day. I know Chelsea was looking for a higher finish and a better time, but she just never did get untracked. We will run our three top finishers in the regional meet in two weeks, and I expect Chelsea will have a better race then.”
Kimber Mattox of Willamette was the individual winner with a time of 22:09.52, over 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Joy Shufeldt of Whitworth, who ran a 22:19.93.
The top seven runners in the race were named First Team All-Conference, and the next seven were Second Team All-Conference. The NWC Coach of the Year was Keith Woodard of Lewis & Clark for leading the Pioneers to their first conference women’s cross country championship ever.
Complete results of the Northwest Conference Championship, courtesy of the Puget Sound sports information office, are available on line at the George Fox women’s cross country web site at athletics.georgefox.edu/sports/wxc/2010-11/stats/1030.htm.
NEXT: George Fox will send Kate Freiheit, Lizzy Alaimo, and Chelsea Sowards to the NCAA Division III West Regional on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, Ore. Willamette University will be the host. The women’s 6K race will begin at 12:00 noon, following the men’s 8K race at 11:00 a.m.
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