MacMurray leads Whitworth to ninth-place finish at NCAA West Regionals
by Whitney Carter
The men’s cross country team finished their season at the Northwest Conference Regionals Nov. 10 in ninth place out of the 17 qualifying teams.
Freshman Chris MacMurray finished in first place for the Pirates and 35th overall with a time of 25:43.
“I don’t think I could’ve ended the season on a higher note,” MacMurray said.
MacMurray qualified for the NWC all-region team based on his race finish. Sophomore Taylor Steele finished with a time of 25:50, sophomore Matt Edwards with a time of 26:03 and junior Andrew Ryder with a time of 26:12. All three finished in the top 50 of the meet.
MacMurray said that after the race head coach Toby Schwarz told the team that they should count it as a win.
The Pirates will lose senior team captain Tim Hill, who finished with a time of 28:26. Hill was battling an ankle injury during Saturday’s race. The team is losing a leader and a great example in Hill, MacMurray said.
“Tim was my first captain and he was a great captain,” MacMurray said. “To love running you have to have a great love for the sport.”
MacMurray said that Hill’s passion for running was an inspiration to the team.
Hill thought the team did well at last Saturday’s race.
“I think overall the team did really well. We didn’t make nationals like we were hoping to but we had a lot of personal records for a lot of guys on the team,” Hill said. “It was just a tough field and we competed really well.”
Sophomore Colton Berry was happy with the team’s performance. He finished with a time of 27:02 .
“As a team, most of us got personal records,” Berry said. “We really wanted to go to Nationals, but it was a really tough race.”
The Bucs faced teams they ran against throughout the season, including Willamette University, Lewis & Clark College and Pacific University, as well as teams they hadn’t faced such as Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pomona-Pitzer and La Verne. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was the overall winner of the meet.
The Bucs worked on their race plan and got better as a team throughout the season. Their strategy was generally to run as a pack and the Bucs were able to improve in general this season, Hill said.
“I think we did well — not as well as we would have liked — because it was kind of a growing year for the team,” Hill said.
Hill was team captain this season and he mentioned the commitment of the team members to both the program and the team.
“[My favorite part was] getting a chance to work with all these guys,” Hill said.
Hill also has high hopes for the Pirate’s chances next year.
“I think we have a lot of hope for next year there’s a lot of talent on the team and we’re just going keep getting better,” Hill said.
Berry said the Bucs should have a solid team next year. He plans to run track in the spring and come back for next season. The Pirates are losing a handful of seniors, but hope to come back next year and compete.
“We’re a really young team. I think we can be successful; we just have to put in the work,” Berry said.
Contact Whitney Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.