Women’s cross country takes third at conference race

by Korey Hope

The Whitworth women’s cross country team took home third place at the Northwest Conference Championships last weekend in Forest Grove, Ore. The finish was good enough to send them to the 2012 NCAA Division III West Regionals this coming Saturday, Nov. 10, hosted by Willamette.

Junior Elisabeth Spencer set the tone for the Pirates, finishing 5th overall with a time of 23:13 in the 6k race. Spencer was followed by freshman Kellyn Roiko and sophomore Christina Anderson, who finished 16th and 17th, respectively.

Spencer said she spoke with freshman runner Katie McKay before the race, and gathered enough of a pep talk McKay gave her to perform well.

“She races hard so she is collapsing after she crosses the finish line,” Spencer said when asked about McKay. “Because why wouldn’t you give it every bit of power you have?”

referred to last year’s team, saying she thinks they have a good chance to outperform their previous postseason runs.

“I knew we were in a better place than last year going in, too,” Spencer said. “The girls were ready to work really hard and had a lot of confidence.”

Senior Celeste Northcott and sophomore Jaclyn Geyer rounded out the top five Pirates, contributing to the Bucs’ regional bid. Lewis & Clark placed first on the women’s side.

Although Whitworth has been dealing with injury woes the majority of the season, nearly all of the team’s top eight runners are healthy, giving the Pirates one of their strongest lineups of the season. The top three team performances at the west regional race are good enough for a national race bid, and the Bucs head into the event ranked 4th in the region.

The race will take place in Salem, Ore. at Willamette University this Saturday, Nov. 10.

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu.

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