WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With sophomore Sara McCune and senior Brian Woods leading the way, the Whitman College cross country teams turned in a pair of strong performances at Saturday's Lewis & Clark Invitational, placing first in the women's team scoring and third on the men's side.

Despite losing one of its top two runners part way through the women's 6,000 meters, Whitman took first in convincing fashion with 57 place points for its top five finishers. Corban College was second with 78 points, followed by Pacific Lutheran 85, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) 87, Lewis & Clark 88, UC-Santa Cruz 119, Concordia-Portland 184, Oregon Tech 216, and Linfield 265.

"According to the meet director, this is the first time the Whitman women have won this event since it was started in 1990," Whitman coach Malcolm Dunn said. "Our women's team also eased its way into the NCAA Div. III national rankings this past week, and I think it's safe to say our performance today will keep us there."

Running at McIver State Park near Estacada, Ore., McCune finished in the fifth spot individually with a time of 23:20. Sophomore Michela Corcorran was close behind with a seventh-place time of 23:33. Filling out the Missionary team score were sophomore Emily Rodriguez (14th, 24:06), first-year runner Chelsea Momany (16th, 24:11) and senior Lisa Taylor (17th, 24:14).

Whitman sophomore Yasmeen Colis was running with McCune when she dropped from the race at the two-mile mark with a sore foot. "Had Yasmeen run her normal race, that probably would have opened another 14 or 15 points between us and the runner-up in the team scoring," Dunn said.

In the men's 8,000 meters, Whitman took third in the team scoring with 75 points, just four points behind second-place Linfield. The CMS placed seven runners in the top 15 and dominated the team scoring with 29 points. Other team scores were Corban 89, Lewis & Clark 123, Pacific Lutheran 140, Warner Pacific 175, and Cascade 226.

Woods paced the Missionary men with a 10th-place time of 26:47. Freshman Sam Hennessey was next in line, placing 14th in 27:00. Contributing to the team score were sophomore Matthew Kelly (20th, 27:19), junior Ian Bell (25th, 27:30) and freshman Daniel Luecke (31st, 27:39).

"I'm very pleased with our men's team scoring," Dunn said. "It shows how much stronger we are in terms of depth. It was great to see Brian show some improvement from last week, and to see Sam hold his own in his first college race at 8,000 meters. Having two freshmen, Sam and Daniel, in our top five has given us a definite boost."

Rounding out the top 10 for the Whitman men were senior Tim Marrinan (35th, 27:48), junior Nick Littman (48th, 28:34), freshman Colin Livingston (52nd, 28:43), sophomore Curtis Reid (56th, 28:59) and senior Eli Asch (57th, 29:12).

Also running for Whitman were freshman John Callow 60th, sophomore Terrence Reid 65th, senior Robert Marcotte 74th, Arnaud Sillis 84th, and Sam Nortz 90th.

"We have several runners on our men's team who are going to get stronger over the next few weeks," Dunn said. "Our workouts weren't easy this past week, so we had a lot of guys who were running on tired legs today. It was encouraging to see them run this well early in the season."

Sophomore Heather O'Moore paced Whitman's second five in the women's race, placing 21st in 24:33. First-year runners Lydia Ngai and Janna Rozar were 31st and 34th, respectively, with times of 24:59 and 25:08. Sophomore Amy Chapman was 35th in 25:14 while first-year runner Kayla Chory was 40th in 25:24. Also running for the Missionaries were Natalie Fowler (81st), another first-year competitor, and first-year senior Rachel Carroll (90th).

"Having our top 10 runners finish in the top 40 was an excellent show of depth," Dunn said. "It's good to have most of your runners in the mix, running toward the front of the field."

Whitman takes next weekend off before returning to action at the Wes Cook Bear Fete Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Willamette Mission State Park near Brooks, Ore.