Linfield cross country hosts NWC championships

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Maddie Loverich

Sophomore Jennifer Torres-Bermudez during the women’s heat

Maddie Loverich, Editor-in-Chief

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Linfield University cross country hosted the Northwest Conference men’s and women’s cross country championships at Michelbook Country Club on Saturday morning. The Wildcat women placed seventh and the men finished in ninth, while George Fox University swept both races to win. 

Men’s and women’s teams from all nine Northwest Conference schools were present at the meet. The women began at 10 a.m., with the men closely following at 11 a.m. 

Pacific University’s Kara Putnam placed first in the women’s six-kilometer race with a time of 23:08.1, followed 15 seconds later by Whitworth University’s Madelyn Buckley at 23:23.5. George Fox University took first place overall, averaging 23:53 for the six-kilometer race. Four Bruins placed in the top ten. 

Linfield’s Jennifer Torres-Bermudez led the way for the Wildcats, placing 18th with a time of 24:35.2. The sophomore from Canby, Ore. has been named the NWC Student-Athlete of the Week twice during the 2021 season. In the Wildcat’s last race—a 5K against Willamette University—Torres-Bermudez placed first, clocking a time of 19:28, to lead the Wildcats to a victory over the Bearcats. 

“I know that all of us gave it our best effort out there,” Torres-Bermudez said. “It was a rough race for many of us. It was chilly that morning and the grass was unstable at times. I was happy that I got a PR, although I know I still have more to give.” 

Junior Makayla Erickson followed close behind, finishing 20th and crossing the finish line in 24:53.8. Wildcat trio Abby Grebisz, Kaylee Delzotti and Ashley Ambrose were the next Linfield runners to cross the line, placing 51st, 52nd and 53rd. 

“I think for most people on the team it was a tough race,” said Ambrose, a graduating senior. “Many of us were struggling to run strong through the mud and wind, while also facing some mental battles with racing. Despite not having the results I believe we all wanted to finish off with, I was proud to be on a team that I know did their best.”

Ambrose also noted that she was grateful she finished her final cross country competition running alongside her best friend and fellow senior, Kim Summerton. Summerton finished in 55th, closely behind Ambrose. 

“Even though I did not finish with the time I wanted, I was happy to have finished my last race surrounded by my favorite people,” Ambrose said. 

Junior Anna Frazier followed to place 57th and junior Samantha Kasitz finished in 59th. 

Reigning champions George Fox took first place overall for the men. The Bruins, who were picked to win in the coaches’ preseason poll, also won in 2019 for the first time in program history. The team scored 53 points overall, narrowly beating Pacific Lutheran University with a total score of 54. 

PLU sophomore Ryan Stracke led the men’s heat with a time of 25:40.9 for the eight-kilometer race. In a close finish, GFU junior Peter Weiss trailed by less than three seconds to place second. 

Freshman standout Alex Oathout was the first Wildcat to cross the line, placing 34th with a time of 27:46.2. Freshman Bradley Kiltow and senior Calvin Ong followed to place 46th and 48th, respectively. 

Juniors Calvin Cahill and Evan Kern were the next Wildcats to cross the finish line, placing 55th and 68th, respectively.  

Oathout led the Wildcats all season, mostly recently finishing second in The Repeat Mile Run. The freshman from Silverdale, Wash. finished fourth in his first collegiate race in early September and continued to place well throughout the fall.

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