WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Winning for the third time in its last four meets, the Whitman College women's cross country team parlayed its talented depth into victory Saturday morning in a 5,000-meter race at the Big Foot Open in Spokane, Wash.
With six runners finishing in the top 20, the Missionary women took first in the eight-team field with 49 points, scoring clear-cut victories over its nearest competitors, NCAA Div. II Lewis-Clark State (65 points) and Northwest Conference rival Whitworth (72 points).
"Lewis-Clark State runners finished first and second, but our depth as a team is much stronger," Whitman coach Malcolm Dunn said. "Our depth is what gave us the team victory, and it's always good to get another trophy for the office."
Meanwhile in the men's 8,000 meters, Whitman finished fourth in a seven-team field. The Community Colleges of Spokane dominated the men's race with 21 points, beating second-place Lewis-Clark State (48) and third-place Whitworth (68). With 126 points, the Missionary men beat Carroll College (156), Big Foot (168) and the University of Great Falls (195). Big Foot is a non-college club team.
Sophomores Yasmeen Colis and Sara McCune paced the Whitman women's squad, placing third and fourth overall. Both runners were timed in 18:33, although Colis edged McCune by a fraction of a second at the finish. They finished just three seconds out of the runner-up spot and just five seconds behind the winner, Lewis-Clark State's Jenny Jensen.
Sophomores Michela Corcorran and Amy Chapman finished 11th and 13th, respectively, for the Missionaries with times of 19:03 and 19:06. Chelsea Momany, a first-year runner from the Spokane area, rounded out Whitman's team scoring, placing 18th in 19:17.
"Yasmeen and Sara had good races and ran stride for stride the whole way," Whitman coach Malcolm Dunn said. "Michela, who was tired from training this past week, didn't have her best race, but she's a strong runner and we're not the least bit worried about her. She'll bounce back for the conference championships in two weeks."
"Amy Chapman probably had our best race of the day," Dunn added. "She ran well last week, and she showed again today that she's continuing to get stronger. Chelsea also had her best team finish of the season."
The next four Missionary finishers underscored Whitman's team strength. Senior Lisa Taylor, who was 20th in 19:19, was followed by sophomores Heather O'Moore (25th, 19:26) and Emily Rodriguez (31st, 19:42), and first-year runner Janna Rozar (35th, 19:55). "That was a good race for Janna, who is closing the gap with our second group of runners," Dunn said.
Rodriguez, normally one of Whitman's top five, wasn't feeling well prior to the race, Dunn said. "That just shows the importance of having a deep squad. If anyone falters or has a bad race, you have others who can step up and contribute to the team score."
Others competing for the Whitman women were first-year runners Lydia Ngai (48th, 20:43), Kayla Chory (54th, 21:02) and Natalie Fowler (63rd, 22:27), and first-year senior Rachel Carroll (68th, 23:59).
In the men's race, senior Brian Woods paced the Missionaries, placing 14th overall in 26:42. Tim Marrinan, also a senior, was next for Whitman, finishing 25th in 27:17. "Brian had a good race," Dunn said. "He went out a little more aggressively than he has in the past, but he had enough left for a strong finish. Tim also started more aggressively and it paid off for him."
Ian Bell, a junior, was next in line for the Missionaries, placing 33rd in 27:37. "Ian had a pretty good race, but he got caught in no-man's land a couple of times," Dunn said. "It's always harder to run a challenging course like this one when you're running by yourself."
Freshman Daniel Luecke, Whitman's fifth and final contributor to the team score, placed 40th in 28:01. He finished at the front of a Missionary pack that also included freshman Sam Hennessey (42nd, 28:05), junior Nick Littman (43rd, 28:07) and sophomore Curtis Reid (47th, 28:11). "That group ran really well together, and it's encouraging to see Curtis continue to get stronger," Dunn said.
Also running for Whitman were freshman Colin Livingston (50th, 28:28), senior Eli Asch (51sth, 28:51), sophomore Terrence Reid (58th, 29:11), freshman John Callow (61st, 29:13), senior Robert Marcotte (69th, 30:19) and freshman Sam Nortz (81st, 37:44). "It was good to see Eli have a better race," Dunn said. "He's been working through some knee issues, but his training went well this past week."