INDEPENDENCE, Ore. - Both the Lewis & Clark men's and women's cross country teams had strong showings at the NCAA West Regional championship hosted by Willamette at Oak Knol Golf Course. The men's team, who raced first, finished in sixth place with two runners earning All-West Region honors. The women's team finished second earning their first ever team bid to the NCAA Championship race in Indiana.
The Pioneer men were the second Northwest Conference team to finish the race, earning a total of 204 points, with Sam Smith leading the way with a 23rd place finish. Smith ended his race grand fashion, earning All-West Region honors with a personal best time of 25:29.03.
Jarrod Nixon also earned All-West Region honors, as well as a personal best, finishing in 25th place with a time of 25:30.33. Andrew LeDonne was the third Pioneer to cross the finish line with a 38th place with a personal best time of 25:49.15.
Daniel Shaver finished in the top-50 for the Pioneers, taking home 48th place with a strong time of 26:08.71. Junior Marc Steiner rounded out the top-five for the Pioneers with a time of 26:43.69, which was good enough to earn him 78th place.
To pair nicely with the programs three consecutive Northwest Conference Championships, the women's squad earned their first ever trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championship as a team. The Pioneers finished with 94 points with all six runners earning All-West Region honors and new personal best times.
As expected NWC Runner of the Year, Emily Thomas, was the Pioneers top runner taking home eighth place with a personal best time of 21:31.40. The trip to Indiana marks Thomas' third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship race in her career.
The duo of Melissa Newton-Mora and Kaitlyn Throgmorton finished 16th and 17th respectively for the Pioneers. Newton-Mora set a new personal best by over a minute with her 16th place finish, crossing the finish line in 21:58.62. Throgmorton who has been solid for the women all season set a new PR with a time of 22:00.40.
Heather Spurling finished in the top-25 with a time of 22:08.65 earning a 21st place finish. Junior Emily Fagan completed the race in 22:35.52 taking home 32nd place to go with her PR. Katie Keith rounded out the All-West Region honors for the Pioneers with a 34th place finish in a time of 22:38.72.
The team will head to LaVern Gibson Course in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 17 for the 2012 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship.