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NWC CHAMPIONSHIP: Bruins Pleasantly Surprise with 5th-Place Finish in NWC 8KSalem-News.com Sports
(LAKEWOOD, Wash.) - A strong finishing kick by Austin Morrell carried him past several runners near the finish line and the George Fox University Bruins into fifth place in the Northwest Conference Men’s 8K Cross Country Championship, hosted by the University of Puget Sound, on a rainy Sunday morning here at Ft. Steilacoom Park.
The Bruins collected a team total of 160 points, two points ahead of sixth-place Whitman. Whitworth University edged Willamette University 33 to 36 for the conference title. Lewis & Clark College took third with 66 points, followed by Linfield College with 116 George Fox, Whitman, Pacific University with 185, the University of Puget Sound with 202, and Pacific Lutheran University with 240.
The Bruins were led by a trio of freshmen. Joseph Pia posted a time of 26:39.94 to finish 23rd overall and for team scoring, Dylan Arana ran a 27:02.16 to finish 29th overall and 27th for team scoring, and Kyle Dreibelbis was 33rd overall and 31st for scoring with a 27:05.83. Also counting for the Bruins were Allen Cassel with a 27:17.77 (37th/34th) and Morrell with a 27:45.24 (51st/45th). Completing the field for George Fox were Chad Sutfin with a 27:56.15 (58th), Tyler Magill with a 28:05.91 (63rd), Aaron Molstad with a 28:15.90 (68th), and Mike Calavan with a 29:01.80 (80th).
“Coming into the race, I think most coaches might have picked us ninth, but every single runner left it all out on the course,” said George Fox distance coach Jeff Larson. “After the meet, I had several coaches come up and tell me their hats were off to us for competing so well today. I think every guy who scored today either had a personal record or were right at it.
“We had three freshmen right at the top, including Dylan, who had not competed since our first race in Hawai’i due to injury. Allen ran his best race ever, and Austin turned it on going into the last mile - that is what pulled us up to fifth at the end. Mike ran a gutsy race despite some injuries, and Austin gave it his all despite feeling pretty lousy. No question, this was the best meet we have run in the three years I have been associated with the program.”
Leo Castillo of Willamette took individual honors with a time of 25:18.66 over teammate Stefan Redfield, who ran a 25:24.08. 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 Toby Schwarz of Whitworth.
Complete results of the Northwest Conference Championship, courtesy of the Puget Sound sports information office, are available on line at the George Fox men’s cross country web site at athletics.georgefox.edu/sports/mxc/2010-11/stats/1030.htm.
NEXT: George Fox will send its top seven finishers in the NWC Championship, the maximum allowable - Pia, Arana, Dreibelbis, Cassel, Morrell, Sutfin, and Magill - to the NCAA Division III West Regional on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon Willamette University will be the host. The men’s 8K race will begin at 11:00 a.m., followed by the women’s 6K race at 12:00 noon.
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