Cross Country to Open Season in Idaho

Cross Country to Open Season in Idaho

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant 

SPOKANE, Wash. –  The new cross country season is nearly underway and hopes are high as Whitworth travels to its inaugural meet, the Clash of the Inland Northwest. 

This year is the fifth in a row that the Pirates have opened their season at Clash of the Inland Northwest. The women's race is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. with the men's race following at 6:30 p.m. The meet is hosted by the University of Idaho and more information, including parking guidelines, is available here. 

Last Year: In 2017's Clash of the Inland Northwest, the Pirates squared off with Lewis-Clark State in duel meet scoring. The women defeated LCSC 21-40, while the men fell 18-43. Kayla Leland won the women's individual title, while the highest placing Pirate man was Come Nzibarega, who finished third. 

Regional Rankings: The first USTFCCCA regional rankings were released Tuesday and both Pirate teams own spots in the top-ten. The women rank fourth in the region, behind one conference foe in Puget Sound, and the men sit in tenth. The first national rankings are released on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and will be available here.

National Championships: The 2018 NCAA Division III National Championships will take place on November 17th in Oshkosh, Wis. 

Recent Championship History: Whitworth has a proud history of competing at the cross country national championships, including two All-American performances and top-20 finishes for the women's team in each of the last three seasons.   

2017 – Kayla Leland took home All-American honors by finishing 19th and led the Whitworth women to an 11th place finish, the team's second-best in school history.

2016 – Leland placed 11th in Whitworth's best ever individual performance at the Division III National Championships. Leland's All-American performance helped the Bucs place 17th, the third-best result in school history. 

2015 – Allison Wood and Kellyn Roiko finished in 85th and 86th place respectively to lead the Pirates to a 20th place team finish. Christopher MacMurray earned an individual bid to the meet and finished 217th. 

Looking Ahead: The Bucs take a week off from competition before traveling to Tacoma for the Pacific Lutheran Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15.   

The Coach: The fall of 2018 marks Dr. Toby Schwarz's 21st season as head coach of the Whitworth Cross Country program. During his time at Whitworth Schwarz has been named West Region Coach of the Year four times and Northwest Conference Coach of the Year on seven occasions. Schwarz was selected as the NWC Women's Coach of the Year in 2017 after leading Whitworth to its third straight conference title.