McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers opened the season on Saturday at the Linfield Harrier Classic. Sean Richardson and Madeline Swanberg were the top finishers in races that spanned 6K and 4K, respectively, at Joe Dancer Park on Friday.
In her first collegiate race, Swanberg was just under two seconds from a top-five finish with a time of 16:16.8. She placed sixth overall. Similarly, Samantha Bowen nearly broke the top 10 with a time of 16:46.8 to earn 12th.
Richardson and Matthew White were within 10 seconds of one another. Richardson placed 10th in 20:15.7, while White crossed in 20:24.2 for an 11th-place finish. Lewis & Clark placed second in the four-team field after winning the tiebreaker with Western Oregon, which also scored 58 points.
"The men's team executed very well and ended up in second as a team," head coach Matthew Barreau said. "I'm happy they were able to feel smooth and stronger as the race progressed; that was today's primary goal.
"The women's team showed some signs of good things to come. We have to polish our pieces, but we have a good starting point. It was great to see Madeline run confidently after only being with the team for a couple days."
The meet was the first for Barreau as Lewis & Clark head coach. Swanberg participated in a new student trip that kept her away from fall practice.
Juniors Genevieve Serna, Alexandra Coons and Etta Moen all ran under 18 minutes. Serna led the pack at 17:21.0 (18th place), followed by Coons' 17:27.9 (20th place) and Moen at 17:36.1 (22nd place). The women's team took third in the five-team field with 73 points, 11 points clear of fourth-place Western Oregon.
- Owen Deffner placed 13th in his first-ever collegiate race at 20:41.4
- Barreau on Deffner's performance: "Sean and Matt did well to help pull Owen along. Their experience will be great continuing to build Owen's confidence."
- Justin Seidel and Isabel Jamieson raced their first collegiate cross country races after joining cross country for the first time
- Both were track and field student-athletes only in 2018-19
- Like Swanberg and Deffner, Kalevi Paavola (23:36.6; 21st place - men's race) and Gillian Pifer (19:06.2; 32nd place - women's race) competed for the first time at the collegiate level
- None of the women's team members had raced a 4K for Lewis & Clark before Friday
The Pioneers will compete in back-to-back weeks to start the season with the Ash Creek Invitational on Sept. 6.