CMS Ready for Saturday's NCAA West Regional

CMS Ready for Saturday's NCAA West Regional

CLAREMONT, Calif - On Saturday morning, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps cross country teams will make the short walk across the street to Pomona-Pitzer to race in the NCAA West Regional. The Athenas enter the race ranked as the top team in the region and sixth team in the country while the Stags stand third in the region and 27th nationally.

The women's race will begin at 9:00 a.m. while the men will start at 10:00 a.m.

Saturday's race will also serve as a qualifier for the 2017 National Championship in St. Louis, Mo. next weekend. The top two teams from both the men's and women's races will automatically qualify for the National Championship. Additionally, 16 at-large teams will be selected from around the country and the top seven individuals from each regional site (not already heading to the National Championship with a team) will be invited to round out the field in St. Louis on Nov. 18.

See below for a quick snapshot of the field and some runners to keep an eye on this weekend:

In the Women's Race
The Athenas are the favorites to claim their first Regional title since the 2013 season. CMS is the top ranked team in the region and is also the number six team in the country. Two weeks removed from claiming their eighth-straight SCIAC title, the Athenas will face some stiffer competition at the 6K West Regional.

The Whitworth Pirates won their first-ever Northwest Conference (NWC) this season and head into the weekend ranked second in the region and 19th in the nation. Fellow NWC team, Linfield joins the Pirates in the top-three of the regional rankings. The Wildcats are ranked 32nd nationally and had three First Team All-NWC runners at the conference meet.

Colorado College, winners of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship this year, and SCIAC runner-up Occidental round out the top five ranked teams in the region heading into the meet.

Top 10 Regional Rankings
1 - Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6th Nationally) - SCIAC
2 - Whitworth (19th) - NWC
3 - Linfield (32nd) - NWC
4 - Colorado College (34th) - SCAC
5 - Occidental - SCIAC
6 - Puget Sound - NWC
7 - Redlands - SCIAC
8 - Pomona-Pitzer - SCIAC
9 - Whitman - NWC
10 - Willamette - NWC

Runners to keep an eye on:
Bryn McKillop - CMS - SCIAC Champion - 22:36.55 (SCIAC Championship time)
Julissa Tobias - Whittier - SCIAC Runner-up - 22:40.32 (SCIAC Championship time)
Lauren Hamilton - Pomona-Pitzer - SCIAC 3rd Place - 22:43.81 (SCIAC Championship time)
Kayla Leland - Whitworth - NWC Champion - 21:56.0 (NWC Championship time)
Kaelia Neal - Linfield - NWC Runner-up - 22:23.4 (NWC Championship time)
Hannah Swanson - Williamette - NWC 3rd Place - 22:29.6 (NWC Championship time)
Allysa Warling -  Colorado College - SCAC 3rd Place - 21:37.48 (SCAC Championship time)

In the Men's Race
The men's 8K looks like it will shape up very similarly to the SCIAC Championships from a few weeks ago. The Stags finished third in that Championship behind Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental. The Sagehens are enter the race as the top team in the region and 5th in the nation after comfortably winning the SCIAC Championship.

Occidental, who finished as the SCIAC runner-up, slots in as the second team in the west region while the Stags are ranked third in the region and 27th in the nation.

Behind the trio of Southern California team are the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs from a little further up the coast. Following the Banana Slugs in the regional standings, are three NWC teams in Willamette, Pacific Lutheran, and Lewis & Clark.

The Stags have claimed the last three West Regional titles, but it will be a tough battle to take out a strong Pomona-Pitzer squad. Occidental could be within reach of the Stags, after CMS finished just nine team points behind the Tigers at the SCIAC Championship.

Top 10 Regional Rankings
1 - Pomona-Pitzer (5th Nationally) - SCIAC
2 - Occidental (19th) - SCIAC
3 - Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (27th) - SCIAC
4 - UC Santa Cruz - DIII Independent
5 - Willamette - NWC
6 - Pacific Lutheran - NWC
7 - Lewis & Clark - NWC
8 - Whittier - SCIAC
9 - Redlands - SCIAC
10 - Whitworth - NWC

Runners to keep an eye on:
Andy Reischling - Pomona-Pitzer - SCIAC Champion - 25:33.71 (SCIAC Championship time)
Julian Sandoval - Whittier - SCIAC Runner-Up - 25:44.85 (SCIAC Championship time)
Thomas D'Anieri - CMS - SCIAC 3rd Place - 25:49.59 (SCIAC Championship time)
Brad Hodkinson - Pacific Lutheran - NWC Champion - 25:13.4 (NWC Championship time)
Keith Carlson - Willamette - NWC Runner-Up - 25:27.1 (NWC Championship time)
Jeffery Mullin - Lewis & Clark - NWC 3rd Place - 25:33.2 (NWC Championship time)
Solomon Reimann - UC Santa Cruz - 26:43.8 (last meet at UC Davis Doc Adams Open)