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Special cross country season in offing with experienced team
Written by Blake Timm    Friday, 31 August 2012 16:09   

Cross Country - 2012 Season Preview:

FOREST GROVE – There are plenty of reasons for the 2012 Pacific cross country team to think that this season will be special.

For starters, the Boxers return a lot of experienced runners in head coach Tim Boyce’s sixth season with the program.  Four seniors top off the men’s team, led by a pair of all-conference and all-region performers in Dan Flora (Sr., North Bend, Ore.) and Joe Deardorff (Sr., Independence, Ore.).  The women’s team also returns five experience upperclassmen, led by Jilinda Franklin (Sr., Fort Jones, Calif.) along with a talented sophomore in Rachel Schreiber (So., Longmont, Colo.).

“We have never had the luxury of having more than a couple of seniors on either of our squads,” Boyce said.  “So to have four seniors for the guys and five upperclassmen for the women is great.”

The experience should the Boxers with the high expectations in a season where Pacific will host the Northwest Conference championships.  The men opened the season ranked No. 7 in the West Region by the U.S. Track & Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) after making a jump to a fifth placeconference finish.  The women are poised to make a leap of their own after an eighth place finish at the NWC Championships.

Team chemistry could help make more leaps happen.  “Consistency over time is hugely important,” Boyce said.  “So to have a group of folks that have been in the program and doing things the way you would like them to be done over two or three years should certainly be an advantage.  We’re excited.  We think it has the potential to be a great fall.”

In addition, the team will enjoy the chance to take part is some high powered meets.  The Boxers will compete in the Division III Pre-Nationals meet in early October on the iconic Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind.  The Boxers will then host their first NWC Championships since 2003 on Oct. 27 at the Sunset Grove Golf Course near Forest Grove.

 

Boyce said that the Boxers have earned the trip to Indiana thanks in part to their hard work over the last two years.  He hopes that it will be another step to making both teams among the high echelon programs in the NWC.  “We feel like we are to a point as a program where if we are going to be competitive at the end of the year, we need to take part in high caliber meets earlier on in our training cycle,” Boyce said.  “I am hoping that this meet will be a preview for more than a couple of Boxers to preview the nationals course for November.”

 

MEN

Pacific’s men’s squad will be anchored by not only a pair of all-conference and all-region performers, but also a couple of runners who want to experience more success.  Flora had Pacific’s highest NWC Championships placing in five years when he finished 10th with a personal best time of 25:51.59.  He followed that performance up with a 22nd place finish at the NCAA West Region Championships.

 

Deardorff was not far behind, also running a lifetime best of 25:58.78 to finish 12th at the conference meet.  He also completed his first All-West Region laurels thanks to his 30th place finish at the regional meet.

 

“They give us believe that we have the potential to have excellent leadership up front for the men,” Boyce said.  “Both of them had healthy summers and in the week or so of preseason training, they seem to have picked up where they left off last fall.

 

Jerry Sanchez (Sr., Mecca, Calif.) had the potential to run right along with Flora and Deardorff.  The transfer ran as the Boxers’ No. 1 runner in two meets and ran a season best 26:29.66 to finish 24th at the NWC Championships.

 

 

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Special Cross Country Season In Offing With Experienced Team

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Wes Porter (Sr., Elk Grove, Calif.) and Rudy Sanchez (Jr., Albany, Ore.) will also play key roles after seeing their 2011 seasons abbreviated by injuries.  Porter ran in four meets and was the team’s No. 5 runner at the West Region Championships.  

Sanchez competed in three meets as a sophomore.  Ryan Baxter (So., Craig, Alaska) returns with the potential to be a key mid-pack runner after running his season best 28:07.97 at the NWC Championships.

 

The team’s two newcomers bring with them good experience.  Tyler Shipley (Fr., Forest Grove, Ore.) was the 2011 Pacific Conference champion and a two-time Oregonstate meet participant.  He comes to Pacific with a 15:58 personal best for 5,000 meters.  Devon Christian (Fr., Hillsboro, Ore.) was a four-year varsity runner with a personal best of 17:11 for 5,000 meters.

 

WOMEN

Franklin stands at the precipice of an extraordinary season after a breakout year as a junior.  Franklin saved her best for last, running a lifetime best 23:59 over 6,000 meters at the West Region Championships.  She was one of just two Pacific athletes, male or female, to run a season best at the regional meet.

 

“Jilinda has made so much consistent improvement year after year,” Boyce said, “and I would like nothing more than to have her run her best season of cross country yet.”

 

Schreiber also lived up to the expectations of becoming an impact runner as a freshman.  The Boxers’ leading runner at the NWC Championships, Schreiber clocked a season best of 23:23.77 to finish in 26th place at the NWC Championships.  The time ranks as the No. 5 time in school history at the 6,000-meter distance.

 

“Rachel had one of the best freshman years of recent history at Pacific,” Boyce said.  “I think she has the chance to leave here as a very accomplished student-athlete.”

 

Ally Shackelford (Jr., Portland, Ore.) and Kiersten Iwai (Jr., San Diego, Calif.) are set to continue to anchor the middle spots of the Pacific order as well as provide additional experience and leadership.  Shackelford started the year as the team’s No. 3 runner and was the No. 4 finisher at the NWC Championships with a personal best time of 24:16.59.   Iwai saved her best for the West Region meet, clocking 24:31.6 to finish at the Boxers’ No. 2 runner.

 

Punneh Abdolhosseini (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) returns for her third season after having closed a best of 25:48.81 at lastyear’s NWC Championships.  Hayley Brusewitz (Jr., Longview, Wash.) returns to the team after a season away in 2011.  Brusewitz is looking to build on a 2009 season where she ran a best of 25:08.09 over 6,000 meters, the 20th best time in school history.

 

Cyan Agena (So., Kapolei, Hawaii), Lorena LaBarbera (So., Bonners Ferry, Idaho) and Hayley Palmer (So., Sisters, Ore.) also return for their second seasons with the Boxers.  Chloe Hallyburton (Jr., Dayton, Ore.) also joins the squad after three seasons on the track team as a hurdles and multi-event specialist.

 

Three newcomers round out the women’s roster.  Alexis Damo (Fr., Honolulu, Hawaii) finished 36th at the 2011 Hawaii state cross country championships.  She also qualified for the Hawaii state track and field championships all four years in high school and placed in last year’s meet in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters.

 

Sidney Davis (Fr., Redmond, Ore.) is a first time cross country athlete, but raced in her prep career on the track at 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters.  Sarah Tomscha (Jr., Salem, Ore.) is also in her first season after having swam for the Boxers as a freshman.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blake Timm '98
| Sports Information Director | Athletics
Pacific University | 2043 College Way | Forest Grove, OR 97116
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