by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After strong performances at the Lewis & Clark Invitational two weeks ago, Whitworth cross country heads to the Northwest Conference Championships Saturday morning in Walla Walla, Wash.
The men's 8-kilometer race opens the day at 10 a.m., and the women's 6-kilometer race starts at 11 a.m. Both take place at Veterans Memorial Golf Course.
Last season, Whitworth's women won the NWC Championships thanks to four All-NWC finishers, three of whom returned this season.
Kayla Leland and Bailey Scott took home All-NWC first team honors with second and fifth place finishes. Thais Pedro Trujillo was a second team honoree thanks to a 12th place result. Conference coaches named Toby Schwarz the NWC Coach of the Year.
The Pirate men ended last season with a fourth place result at the NWC Championships, and return all of their scoring runners.
Grant Bingham's fifth place finish led Whitworth in 2016, earning All-NWC first team honors. Daniel Harper was a second team All-NWC runner after coming in fourteenth. Gabriel Meek, then a freshman, nearly secured all-conference honors with a 20th place result.
Entering the 2017 NWC Championships, the Pirate men remain in tenth place in the West Region rankings behind three NWC schools. Lewis & Clark, Pacific Lutheran, and Willamette all sit in front of Whitworth.
On the women's side, Whitworth dropped two spots to 21st nationally, but held strong in the regional rankings at second. In the regional rankings, the Pirates came in just in front of Linfield, who appears to be their strongest competition at the NWC Championships.
After the Northwest Conference Championships, qualifying Pirates compete next at the NCAA Division III West Regional in Claremont, Calif. The West Region meet takes place Saturday, Nov. 11 at 9:00 a.m.