Cross Country Women Dent DIII Rankings

News Release Date:
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Last week's second-place showing in a 17-school field at the Sundodger Invitational has vaulted the Whitman College women's cross country team up the regional and national rankings.

Whitman jumped from No. 9 to No. 5 in the West Region rankings and cracked the the Top 35 national poll for the first time this fall. The rankings are generated by the U.S. Track & Cross Country Coaches Association.

Scott Shields

The Whitman women, who placed fifth at the West Region Championships last November, started this fall with a No. 10 preseason ranking. They moved to No. 9 in the Week 1 regional poll and then rose to No. 4 in this week's poll.

"Making such a big jump in one week really shows the potential of our women's team, but we are not going to hang our hats on this one week," Whitman coach Scott Shields says. 

"As a team we are focused on running our best at the end of the season and seeing where that lands us against one of the strongest conferences and regions in the country. There is a long way to go and we plan to have things fall into place for us in November. 

"This goes for our men's team as well. Even though they are not ranked right now, we are seeing some very good progress by our runners and they are focused and totally committed to a great season."

Whitman is one of only two Northwest Conference schools ranked nationally. Lewis & Clark is No. 18 in the latest national poll

In this week's regional poll, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is No. 1, Lewis & Clark No. 2, and Whittier No. 3. After Whitman at No. 4, other NWC schools in the top 10 are Linfield at No. 5, Willamette at No. 7, and Whitworth at No. 8.

Given entry limitations, several Whitman runners were unable to compete at last week's Sundodger Invitational. Most of those runners will compete this Saturday at the Erik Anderson Memorial Invitational at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane.

In two weeks, Whitman sends its top runners to the Charles Bowles Invitational in Salem, Ore.

"Our program overall is about being a very tight team that likes to be around each other, push each other and have a great time running," Shields says.

"We know that if each of us continue doing the right thing day by day, and week by week, we will be successful as as individuals and peak at the right time."

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu

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