WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers posted their best finish in a men's Northwest Conference Championships since 2012 after placing third on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Golf Course. The Pioneers women's team was seventh.
The men were four points back of Pacific Lutheran for second place. Both teams finished behind Willamette. Jeff Mullins was third to lead Lewis & Clark, followed by Blake Slattengren and Sean Richardson in sixth and seventh, respectively. The top-seven finishes gave all three All-NWC First-Team honors, which is the second-straight for Slattengren and his third All-NWC finish overall. He was a second-team pick as a sophomore. Combined with Slattengren's third-place finish in last year's race, Mullins gives the Pios two top-three finishers in the last two years.
Mullins shaved two-tenths of a second of his personal best with a finish of 25:33.2, 20 seconds off the winner, Brad Hodkinson of PLU. Slattengren crossed in 26:00.4 followed closely by Richardson's 26:02.5. Miguel Haro Ruiz finished with a personal-best time of 26:59.9 in 20th place. Liam Monheim finished with his best time of the season in 25th place at 27:06.8. George Shoemaker and Ryan Nguyen were top-50 finishers as well with marks of 27:58.8 and 28:05.8, respectively. Nguyen's time was three seconds off his all-time best.
"We were definitely were hoping to score better and get the conference title," said Slattengren. "We all had solid performances. Now we're going into a regional and have another chance to beat them."
Groenveld crossed in 23:44.8, her first sub-24-minute 6K this season, while Bowen was underneath 24 minutes for the second-straight race. Freshman Genevieve Serva, racing in her first NWC Championships, placed 38th at 24:34.5. In her last conference final, senior Amelia Jackson crossed in 24:54.7 for a 46th-place result. Etta Moen was 58th at 25:35.9.
The Pioneers will travel to the NCAA Division III West Regional Championships at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. in two weeks.