PALATINE HILL -- An All-Northwest Conference selection and the second-best NWC Championships finisher return for the men's and women's cross country teams, respectively, as the Lewis & Clark Pioneers get ready for 2018. The teams open with a dual against Pacific on Friday.
Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Keith Woodard welcomes back three upperclassmen on both sides of his roster with numerous sophomores and freshmen ready to fill voids left by a high number of seniors who graduated following the 2017-18 academic year. Woodard said the upperclassmen spent much of the summer training in the Portland area.
Lewis & Clark is the host member for the NWC Championships this October. Last year, the men's team placed third and the women's team took seventh at conference.
Katie Hull, Samantha Bowen and Keira Crabtree are the Pios' three returning upperclassmen. Hull rejoins the roster after studying overseas during her junior year. She spent the summer training in Portland and set a career best by over 20 seconds as a sophomore racing at the Lewis & Clark Invite. Bowen is a co-captain this season and is expected to remain one of Lewis & Clark's top runners. After setting a career best at the conference championships during her freshman season, Bowen raced her best time of the season at the NWC meet in 2017. Like Hull, Crabtree remained in the Rose City over the summer and has taken on a bigger role this year as a co-captain. Poised for a breakout season, Crabtree set her best-ever time during her first season, nearly breaking 24 minutes with a 24:01.5 finish at the NWC Championships. Senior Nicole Godbout is not competing this fall because of overseas study in East Africa.
Genevieve Serna finished her freshman year with one of the 20 best marks all-time for a Lewis & Clark first-year runner. She posted a mark of 24:05.3 at the Lewis & Clark Invite before placing among the top 40 at the NWC Championships. Serna should remain among the top four for the Pioneers this season. Alexandra Coons raced to a season-best 25:39.6 at the Lewis & Clark Invitational last year for her best mark in three races as a freshman and should compete for the top part of the lineup. Etta Moen had a solid freshman season and her preseason workouts indicate she'll have a good fall. Competing in four events last season, Moen posted a season-best time of 24:48.4 at the Lewis & Clark Invite in 2017. Marcella Chavez had a good summer of training and has made an adjustment entering her sophomore season. Competing in two events last year, Chavez ran her best at the Sundodger Invitational last September. Kara Wood, who is also working as a resident advisor this year, ran in one event as a freshman. Entering the first competition week, Wood seems ready for a good season. Like Godbout, sophomore Brooke Hansen is studying away from campus and will not compete this year.
The Pioneers added four first-year runners to the team this year. Ty Langley joins the squad from Los Angeles and is expected to contribute in her first year. Langley chose Lewis & Clark because of the close-knit community. Adalynn Griesser comes from Bainbridge Island, Wash., where she was a team captain and third-place finisher at state as a junior. Expected to contribute this year, Griesser picked Lewis & Clark because of the campus feel and location, as well as the ample academic and overseas study opportunities. From Minneapolis, Maddie Launstein is adjusting well to the longer collegiate distance this fall. An all-city pick and team MVP, Launstein picked Lewis & Clark because of the opportunity to run for the team, the beautiful location and campus and the Environmental Studies program. Maite Blanc is from Atascadero, Calif. where she qualified for the CIF preliminaries. Adjusting to the longer distance as well, Blanc selected Lewis & Clark because of the small campus and overseas study programs.
Ryan Nguyen returns as the team's only senior and is already looking poised for a great season. Training in the Portland area most of the summer, he will serve as the team's captain. As a junior, Nguyen raced to his best-ever time at the Lewis & Clark Invite, posting a 27:19.1. Miguel Haro Ruiz and Sean Richardson round out the team's upperclassmen with both back for their junior years. Haro Ruiz is adjusting to longer distances after running an extended track and field season in his home country of Spain this summer. He placed 20th at the NWC Championships with a career-best time of 26:59.9 a year ago. After crushing a new personal best at the Sundodger Invitational last September, Richardson earned All-West Region and All-NWC First-Team selections at the end of the year. He returns to campus in really good shape and should take another step forward this season.
Will Hoard is back after a year off and joins returner Matthew White as the team's sophomores. Hoard has a solid freshman year and has taken several steps forward entering this fall. He finished the 2016 Lewis & Clark Invite with a best-ever time of 28:13.0. White was one of the team's best runners during his first season and started out the year with his best time of 25:56.6 at the Sundodger Invitational. The 61st finisher at last year's NWC Championships, White will join the team toward the beginning of the fall semester.
Lewis & Clark has three new freshmen this year. Connor Robertson is from Los Angeles where he was a league champion as a senior. Like all of the first-year runners, Robertson will have to adjust to the longer collegiate distance. He selected Lewis & Clark, in part, because of the beautiful campus and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Out of Seattle, Elliot Jones was his high school's team captain and picked Lewis & Clark because of the academics and location. Jones has already shown quickness this fall. He raced in sprint triathlons over the summer. Jack Hyde is from Beatty, Ore. where he was an all-league selection for Paisley High School. He enrolled at Lewis & Clark because of the campus and his interest in the entrepreneurship program.
The Pioneers open the season against Pacific at Westmoreland Park on Friday before competing at the PLU Invitational on Sept. 15.
Two weeks later, the team will close out September at the Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore. before hosting the L&C Invite at McIver Park in Estacada, Ore. on Oct. 13. As the host of the NWC Championships host, the team will return to McIver Park for the conference meet on Oct. 27.
On Nov. 10, the team will travel to the NCAA Division III West Regional in Walla Walla, Wash. before the NCAA Div. III Cross Country Championships in Wisconsin on Nov. 17.