Pios place four in top 50, earn three All-West Region selections

Pios place four in top 50, earn three All-West Region selections

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers men's team finished seventh overall and Amelia Jackson led the women's team as both competed at the NCAA Division III West Regional at the Pomona College Campus Course on Saturday morning.

Jeff Mullins finished his final opportunity at the event with a 23rd-place finish overall at 26:18.5. Teammates Sean Richardson (26:25.4) and Blake Slattengren (26:36.6) finished 28th and 32nd, respectively. The finishes added All-West Region honors for each of the trio, which had earned All-Northwest Conference First-Team selections two weeks ago at the NWC Championships.

Jackson finished with her best time ever at the regional. The senior crossed in 23:44.8 and placed 44th overall. Sophomore Samantha Bowen was just outside the top 50, placing 52nd at 24:02.0, her best West Regional time.

"The men got out pretty well and looked good early on, but flattened out a little bit," said Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, Keith Woodard. "They ran hard and competed hard against a really strong field.

"The women looked like they were really getting after it. Amelia and Sam ran really good races. The dust affected them, but they hung in there and worked hard."

Lewis & Clark was consistent with where they were ranked entering the event. The men's team was seventh in the latest regional rankings, while the women were seventh among NWC teams, the same spot where they finished at the NWC Championships.

Miguel Haro Ruiz, a sophomore, was the men's fourth finisher at 27:33.4 in 62nd place, about 30 seconds faster than his freshman time at the event. Liam Monheim was unable to qualify for the NCAA Div. III Championships for a second-straight year after a 28:01.0 finish to place 81st. Ryan Nguyen placed 102nd at 28:41.8, his best finish at the event, while Matthew White was three spots back of Nguyen at 28:56.3 in his first West Regional.

Kori Groenveld ended her Pioneers career in 69th place with a mark of 24:28.4, nearly identical to her 24:28.3 time last year when she placed 49th. Genevieve Serna, racing in the event for the first time, was the Pios' fourth finisher. She crossed in 24:41.3 to place 75th.

Keira Crabtree ran the race in 26:05.7 for a 115th-place finish, Etta Moen was 120th in 26:26.2 and Morgan Taylor placed 133rd with a time of 27:56.9. Taylor's mark was over two minutes better than her freshman time.

"It's a really young team, so the people who are coming back next year will have great experience," said Woodard. "The seniors did a good job of setting a tone this year. We competed really well and capped off our best season in a number of years. Three guys all-conference and all-region is fantastic."

The Pioneers' men's team trailed Pacific Lutheran by 15 points and Willamette by nine as the NWC teams placed fifth, sixth and seventh. The women's team finished ahead of conference mates Pacific and Pacific Lutheran.