Pirate Runners Head to West Regional

Pirate Runners Head to West Regional

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant 

SPOKANE, Wash. - After strong performances at the Northwest Conference Championships, including the first women's champion in Whitworth history, Whitworth cross country heads to the NCAA Division III West Regional to compete for a chance to go to the Division III National Championships.

Occidental College hosts this year's Division III West Regional. The men's 8-kilometer race opens the day at 9 a.m., and the women's 6-kilometer race starts at 10 a.m.

Fans and families can find more details, including a course map and directions to the course, on the meet's information page.

Last season, the Pirate women won the West Regional. Kayla Leland's third place finish paced the Pirates to a five-point victory over Claremont Mudd-Scipps. 

Bailey Scott joined Leland in the top-ten last season with a tenth place result, and Thais Pedro Trujillo took home 16th. Sara Dawes was the final returning Whitworth scorer in 36th place.

Leland enters the meet after winning the first individual Northwest Conference Championship in women's cross country history. Last week, she was named the Northwest Conference women's runner of the year. Head coach Toby Schwarz was named the Northwest Conference women's coach of the year after the Pirate women won the NWC Championship. 

On the men's side, the Pirates enter the race coming off a fourth place finish in the NWC Championships. Last season, the Whitworth men finished 14th in the West.

In last year's regional, Grant Bingham was the first Pirate across the finish line in 31st. He was followed by Gabriel Meek, Nathaniel Anderson, and Matt Creagan. Brian Ault was the final Pirate scorer in the meet. 

The Pirate men are ranked tenth in the west by the USTFCCCA. Whitworth's women are the second-ranked team in the region and 19th-best team in the nation according to the USTFCCCA.

The top two teams from the regional meet will advance to the NCAA Division III National Championships, which are held in Elsah, Ill. this year. The national championships will take place Saturday, Nov. 18.