BILLINGS, Mont. – The Western Washington men’s cross country team placed 7th and the women’s team finished 8th at the NCAA Division II West Region Championships, hosted by Montana State Billings on Saturday morning at Amend Park.
Junior Isaac Derline (Kent, WA/Kentridge) was 5th to lead the Viking men and junior Andrew Wise (Denver, CO/East) placed 20th as both netted all-region honors with top 25 finishes in the men’s 10,000-meter race. Wise was named all-region for a second straight year after placing 14th last season. Junior Lillianna Stelling (Langley, WA/South Whidbey) led the Western Washington women by earning all-region accolades after finishing 21st in the women’s 6,000-meter race.
The top 5 men’s teams and top 6 women’s teams, along with the top 3 individuals from each race not associated with a qualifying team, advance to the national championships. By finishing outside of qualifying positions, both Western Washington teams will miss the national meet for just the 2nd time over the past nine seasons.
Although neither Western Washington team advanced, Derline will likely advance as the top-placing individual from a non-advancing team and compete at the NCAA Division II Championships in Florida on Nov. 19. The official announcement of individual qualifiers for the Division II meet will be made on Monday afternoon.
The Western Washington men totaled 168 points in 7th place, finishing just behind UC San Diego (163 points) and 12 points back of 5th-place Cal Baptist with 156 points. On the women’s side, the Vikings totaled 286 points in 8th place, just shy of Humboldt State in 7th (283 points). Cal Baptist grabbed the final team qualifying spot in 6th place with 185 points.
“For both the men and women, this was the toughest competition in the West Region that I’ve seen,” 30th-year head coach Pee Wee Halsell said. “A lot of good racing went on today, unfortunately, it just was not meant to be. This is hard to get used to, but we’ll be back and train hard to return next year.”
Derline was 5th in a time of 30:08.04, finishing less than a second behind the 2016 GNAC Championships individual champion Edwin Kangogo of Alaska Anchorage in 4th (30:07.58). His finish was the highest Western Washington men’s finish at a regional meet since Chip Jackson placed 4th in 2013.
Wise crossed the finish line in 20th place with a time of 30:46.91. The Vikings placed four runners among the top 50 as senior Matthew Lutz (Bremerton, WA) was 30th in a time of 31:03.95 and freshman Peter Butler (Port Angeles, WA) finished 49th in a time of 31:40.37.
Sophomore Dylan Hayes (Seattle, WA/Garfield) rounded out the scoring for Western Washington with a time of 32:03.28 in 64th place.
“It was a tough day all around but the men ran a really strong race,” Halsell said, “Especially Isaac Derline, and Andrew Wise had a nice bounce-back performance…Isaac just ran a phenomenal race and really came on strong at the end. He’ll represent us at the national meet as an individual.”
William Reyes of Chico State distanced himself from the lead pack and took the individual title in 29:45.16. He was followed by teammates Kyle Medina (30:04.96) and Falco Digiallonardo (30:05.35) in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Stelling crossed the line with a time of 22:00.54 in 21st place. Freshman Peyton Shinnick (Maple Valley, WA/Mount Si) was 51st (22:42.22) as the 2nd Western Washington finisher in the women’s race.
“Lilly had a great race as an all-region pick,” Halsell said. “We had some good races, just fell short and that is tough.”
Junior Sara Taferre (Vancouver, WA/Skyview) placed 58th in a time of 22:51.08. Senior Brittany Grant (Port Townsend, WA) finished in 76th place with a time of 23:05.99 and junior Maddy Hutchison (Snoqualmie, WA/Mount Si) completed the scoring for the Vikings in 80th place with at time of 23:09.32.
Laura Aceves of Cal State San Bernardino won the women’s individual title with a time of 20:55.95. She held off 2016 GNAC Championships individual champion Caroline Kurgat of Alaska Anchorage, who placed 2nd in 20:59.01.
Chico State swept the regional meet, taking home both team titles.
The NCAA Division II Championships will be held in Saint Leo, Fla., on Nov. 19.
Full Western Washington women's results from the NCAA West Region Championships (8th of 30):
**Denotes top 5 scoring racer
- Lillianna Stelling (Jr., Langley, WA/South Whidbey) - 21st place (22:00.54)**
- Peyton Shinnick (Fr., Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma) - 51st place (22:42.22)**
- Sara Taferre (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Skyview) - 58th place (22:51.08)**
- Brittany Grant (Sr., Port Townsend, WA) - 76th place (23:05.99)**
- Maddy Hutchison (Jr., Snoqualmie, WA/Mount Si) - 80th place (23:09.32)**
- Sophia Galvez (Fr., Los Alamos, NM) - 84th place (23:12.66)
- Shawna Troupe (Jr., Kelso, WA) - 175th place (25:18.08)
Full Western Washington men's results from the NCAA West Region Championships (7th of 25):
**Denotes top 5 scoring racer
- Isaac Derline (Jr., Kent, WA/Kentridge) - 5th place (30:08.04)**
- Andrew Wise (Jr., Denver, CO/East) - 20th place (30:46.91)**
- Matthew Lutz (Jr., Bremerton, WA) - 30th place (31:03.95)**
- Peter Butler (Fr., Port Angeles, WA) - 49th place (31:40.37)**
- Dylan Hayes (So., Seattle, WA/Garfield) - 64th place (32:03.28)**
- Justin Irvine (Jr., Yakima, WA/East Valley) - 85th place (32:40.08)
- Cody McCranie (Sr., Auburn, WA) - 151st place (34:48.99)
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