Spotted from the crow's nest: Elisabeth Spencer, women’s cross country

The Whitworth women’s cross country team, led by one of its top performers, junior Elisabeth Spencer, are poised for a run at the Northwest Conference championship. Although projected to finish fourth, Spencer, with her uncanny positivity and loving attitude, may have something to say about the projected finish. “She is extremely positive,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “She brings that along with her competitiveness to her teammates.”

Spencer attended high school in Tacoma, Wash., starting cross country her sophomore year. She knew she wanted a small and friendly community for college, which is why she loved Whitworth.

Elisabeth Spencer 10-11 022-2
Elisabeth Spencer 10-11 022-2

“You’re going to see a lot of your friends everyday,” Spencer said. “I love being able to see people I know all the time.”

As for cross country, Spencer has a passion for running. Not only does she enjoy running in races, but also running outside of the sport. It’s the best way to experience new places, she said. Add a little bit of competition into the mix, and the result: cross country.

The competitive aspect, however, came later for Spencer. Schwarz said she did not have the same aggressive attitude that she has this year during her freshman year. She still brought her loving attitude and excitement to practice and races, but did not own the same drive to win that she has today.

“The one thing I notice the most is her excitement and positivity, no matter the circumstances,” sophomore and teammate Christina Anderson said. “She is also growing into a great competitor.”

According to Anderson, Spencer is important to the team not only because of points, but also because of her attitude. She is constantly bringing other people up and showing the enthusiasm that many of her teammates may lack at times. And now, complementing her positive attitude is a new sense of competitiveness.

“This year she has been competitive at practice, she has been competitive at meets, attitude wise, and because of that she has been running up to her ability,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz and Anderson both had many positive things to say about Spencer. They mostly revolved around her compassion and caring mentality, but also her new sense of competitiveness.

“I came into this year with a lot more confidence,” Spencer said. “And that allowed me to do better, which allowed competing to be more fun.”

What will Spencer get out of her experience at Whitworth? Not only does Schwarz help the team with running, but also in becoming more well-rounded people. The topic could be anything from spiritual to academic, and Spencer still finds Schwarz a helpful mentor, allowing her to not only take away a great running experience from collegiate cross country, but also many lessons in different aspects of life.

Korey HopeStaff Writer

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Women race to 10th place at regionals

The Whitworth women’s cross country team finished in 10th place out of 18 teams at the NCAA Division III West Region Championships hosted by Willamette last Saturday. The team needed a second place finish overall to get a national bid, and therefore saw their season come to an end. The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps of California took first in the event, followed by the Lewis & Clark. Host Willamette finished in third, just over 30 points away from winning a berth at Nationals.

Sophomore Christina Anderson led the Pirates with a 27th place finish overall and a 6k time of 22:25.71. The top seven individual runners not already on one of the two teams advancing, had the opportunity to compete at Nationals individually, leaving Anderson and her 27th place finish a mere eight runners from a national bid. Anderson has run strong all year for the Bucs, always finishing among the top four Pirate finishers.

Freshman Kellyn Roiko finished second for the Pirates, coming in at 22:43.29 and 41st overall, followed by senior Celeste Northcott and junior Elisabeth Spencer at 49th and 56th overall, respectively.  Although there was a lot on the line, Anderson said the only difference in the Regionals race as opposed to regular season race were the opportunities to advance to the national meet.

“It was different in the sense that we went in knowing we had a chance to make it nationals,” Anderson said.

Rounding out the top five Pirates at Regionals was freshman Katie McKay, who was an alternate at the beginning of the week. Sophomore Jaclyn Geyer was originally Whitworth’s fifth runner, however she could not compete at regionals due to a lower leg injury.

“She has been running through a foot problem all year,” McKay said. “She has been a trooper, but knew she wouldn’t be able to race at Regionals.”

McKay, who ran in just one race in this year’s regular season, was called upon to race at the NWC Championships as well as Regionals last Saturday, where she finished with a personal best time by over a minute and a half.

“I felt like I was running for Jaclyn, so I ran the race with that on my shoulders,” McKay said. “You have a choice on how you want to perform every race, as long as you keep picking people off.”

With two freshman finishing in the top five for the Pirates at such a big race, and four of their top five finishers returning next year, the team recognizes the promise with their squad.

“We are a really young team, and we all put in a lot of hard work and effort,” Anderson said. “There is a lot potential with this team.”

Roiko, who was the top-performing freshman for the Pirates this year, had nothing but positive things to say about the team’s future she said the valuable experience gained at a race such as Regionals will benefit the squad in the future.

“Now we know the atmosphere of Regionals,” Roiko said. “So we know what it will take to make it to Nationals next year.”

Korey Hope Staff Writer

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Cross country men conclude season in Oregon

MacMurray leads Whitworth to ninth-place finish at NCAA West Regionals

The men’s cross country team finished their season at the Northwest Conference Regionals Nov. 10 in ninth place out of the 17 qualifying teams.

Freshman Chris MacMurray finished in first place for the Pirates  and 35th overall with a time of 25:43.

“I don’t think I could’ve ended the season on a higher note,” MacMurray said.

MacMurray qualified for the NWC all-region team based on his race finish. Sophomore Taylor Steele finished with a time of 25:50, sophomore Matt Edwards with a time of 26:03 and junior Andrew Ryder with a time of 26:12. All three finished in the top 50 of the meet.

MacMurray said that after the race head coach Toby Schwarz told the team that they should count it as a win.

The Pirates will lose senior team captain Tim Hill, who finished with a time of 28:26. Hill was battling an ankle injury during Saturday’s race. The team is losing a leader and a great example in Hill, MacMurray said.

“Tim was my first captain and he was a great captain,” MacMurray said. “To love running you have to have a great love for the sport.”

MacMurray said that Hill’s passion for running was an inspiration to the team.

Hill thought the team did well at last Saturday’s race.

“I think overall the team did really well. We didn’t make nationals like we were hoping to but we had a lot of personal records for a lot of guys on the team,” Hill said. “It was just a tough field and we competed really well.”

Sophomore Colton Berry was happy with the team’s performance. He finished with a time of 27:02 .

“As a team, most of us got personal records,” Berry said. “We really wanted to go to Nationals, but it was a really tough race.”

The Bucs faced teams they ran against throughout the season, including Willamette University, Lewis & Clark College and Pacific University, as well as teams they hadn’t faced such as Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pomona-Pitzer and La Verne. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was the overall winner of the meet.

The Bucs worked on their race plan and got better as a team throughout the season. Their strategy was generally to run as a pack and the Bucs were able to improve in general this season, Hill said.

“I think we did well — not as well as we would have liked — because it was kind of a growing year for the team,” Hill said.

Hill was team captain this season and he mentioned the commitment of the team members to both the program and the team.

“[My favorite part was] getting a chance to work with all these guys,” Hill said.

Hill also has high hopes for the Pirate’s chances next year.

“I think we have a lot of hope for next year there’s a lot of talent on the team and we’re just going keep getting better,” Hill said.

Berry said the Bucs should have a solid team next year. He  plans to run track in the spring and come back for next season.  The Pirates are losing a  handful of seniors, but hope to come back next year and compete.

“We’re a really young team. I think we can be successful; we just have to put in the work,” Berry said.

Whitney Carter Staff Writer

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Women’s cross country takes third at conference race

The Whitworth women’s cross country team took home third place at the Northwest Conference Championships last weekend in Forest Grove, Ore. The finish was good enough to send them to the 2012 NCAA Division III West Regionals this coming Saturday, Nov. 10, hosted by Willamette. Junior Elisabeth Spencer set the tone for the Pirates, finishing 5th overall with a time of 23:13 in the 6k race. Spencer was followed by freshman Kellyn Roiko and sophomore Christina Anderson, who finished 16th and 17th, respectively.

Spencer said she spoke with freshman runner Katie McKay before the race, and gathered enough of a pep talk McKay gave her to perform well.

“She races hard so she is collapsing after she crosses the finish line,” Spencer said when asked about McKay. “Because why wouldn't you give it every bit of power you have?”

referred to last year’s team, saying she thinks they have a good chance to outperform their previous postseason runs.

“I knew we were in a better place than last year going in, too,” Spencer said. “The girls were ready to work really hard and had a lot of confidence.”

Senior Celeste Northcott and sophomore Jaclyn Geyer rounded out the top five Pirates, contributing to the Bucs’ regional bid. Lewis & Clark placed first on the women’s side.

Although Whitworth has been dealing with injury woes the majority of the season, nearly all of the team’s top eight runners are healthy, giving the Pirates one of their strongest lineups of the season. The top three team performances at the west regional race are good enough for a national race bid, and the Bucs head into the event ranked 4th in the region.

The race will take place in Salem, Ore. at Willamette University this Saturday, Nov. 10.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

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Men's cross country struggles at NWC championships

The men’s cross country team had a challenging race at the NWC championships last Saturday, hosted by Pacific University, and hopes to be more successful at the upcoming regional meet.

“It was pretty bad to be honest. As a team we didn’t really race that well. And I probably had the worst race of my life individually,” freshman Colton Berry said.

Berry usually finishes near the top for the Whitworth team, but he finished 7th for the team and 42nd overall. The Bucs finished in 4th place behind Willamette, Lewis & Clark and the University of Puget Sound.

The Bucs are ranked 8th going into the regionals race but have had high finishes all season.

“I definitely would say that [this race] wasn’t  a very good indication of what we’re capable of or how we’ve been racing all season,” Berry said.

Team captain, senior Tim Hill, blames the unsuccessful race on the team not sticking to the race strategy.

“We did really poorly this last weekend. We normally have a race strategy,” Hill said.”The race strategy that we normally have is running together as a pack and we didn’t do that at all so it kind of ended up hurting us a lot.”

He still has hope for the regionals race as the Pirates train to head to the NCAA Division III West Regionals, hosted by Willamette on Nov. 10.

“Hopefully we can figure out what we did wrong and improve on that and show the rest of the conference and region that conference was a fluke and we’re going to be a team contending for a top spot,” Hill said.

 According to head coach Toby Schwarz, the Pirates didn’t run to the  highest level of their capability.

“We didn’t get out very fast and that kind of hurt us because we spent the rest of the race trying to get back into the race and that made it tough,” Schwarz said. “One of the strengths of our team this year has been running as a group and we didn’t run as a group, we pretty much ran as a bunch of individuals out there, so that kind of hurt us.”

The Pirates have a little down time before the  next race. Currently ranked 8th, the goal is a top five finish.

“My hope is that it’s going to be a lot better. Hopefully we can show how good of a team we actually are,” Schwarz said. “As long as they stay healthy and train hard in the next couple of weeks and then execute on that day we should be able to do that.”

Korey Hope Staff Writer

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Whitworth women run to seventh place at Inland Empire Championships

The Whitworth women’s cross country team took seventh place out of ten teams at the Inland Empire Championships last Saturday. The event was hosted by Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho at the Orchards cross country course and featured teams from near and far. Sophomore Christina Anderson finished first for the Pirates in the women’s 5k race that had 107 runners. Anderson came in 40th overall with a time of 19:34, followed closely by junior Elisabeth Spencer who had a time of 19:35 at 41st overall.

Finishing up front is nothing new for these two runners. Last Saturday’s race marked the third time this year, out of four races in which they have both competed, that Anderson and Spencer have finished first and second for Whitworth.

“They have been working hard and leading practices all year,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “And they are starting to learn to push each other as well.”

Freshman Kellyn Roiko also came in under the 20-minute mark for the Bucs,  finishing with a time of 19:43. Finishing inside the top five Pirates is not out of the ordinary for Roiko, either. Discounting the Runner’s Soul Invitational earlier this year that Schwarz used as a tune-up meet, Roiko has finished fourth or better for Whitworth runners in every race this year.

“We knew she would come in and be a top runner,” Schwarz said. “And as time goes on she will just get better and better.”

The Bucs’ next race will be the Northwest Conference Championships hosted by Pacific University on Oct. 27. Schwarz thinks his team has made improvements since last year, and is expecting to finish higher in the NWC standings than in the previous season.

“It’s the biggest meet of the season,” Schwarz said. “It’s what we train for. We just need to get healthy and be competitive.” The Championships begin at 10 a.m. at the Sunset Grove Golf Course in Forest Grove, Ore.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

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Men’s cross country competes for third consecutive weekend

The men’s cross country team competed at the Charles Bowles Invitational at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., last weekend. The invitational was the Pirates’ third consecutive meet in three weekends. After competing at the Sundodger Invitational hosted by the University of Washington and the Runner’s Soul last week in Spokane, the Pirates finished their consecutive weekend streak in Salem, Ore. The Pirates finished third at the Runner’s Soul.

“Last week was more of a practice race; last week definitely helped us prepare for this week,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “Yesterday was very similar to the meet two weeks ago. It’s just guys had a little bit more experience and a little bit more fitness under them so they ran better.”

This week the team finished in eighth place out of   19 teams with a score of 221 in the 8k race.

“I would say it was a success,” senior team captain Tim Hill said. “We didn’t necessarily run the times we wanted, but everyone raced really well, so that was successful.”

Out of the Northwest Conference teams competing, the Bucs finished third, behind host Willamette University and the University of Puget Sound. The University of Portland won overall with a score of 16. Coming in first for the Pirates was freshman Colton Berry with a time of 26:07.28. Hill finished next for the Bucs with a time of 26:17.79 and junior Matt Edwards came in with a time of 26:19.41.   The average time for the Pirates was 26:19.95.

“It gives the guys confidence they can win,” Schwarz said. “It’s not going to be easy; UPS, Willamette and ourselves basically tied in all intents and purposes,” Schwarz said. “So, between those three teams, anyone has a chance of winning and that’s a good thing to be a part of that.”

Hill said he felt this was a good race for the team over all.

“As a team I think we finished well, but I don’t think we finished quite as high up as we would have liked,” Hill said. “Individually kind of the same thing - I feel like I ran a good race, but didn’t finish with the time I was looking for.”

The Bucs have one more race before conference and the team is not taking it lightly.

“Coaches will be taking into consideration who will be top 10, and as runners we’ll be taking it very seriously because we’re competing to see who will be running at conference,” freshman Chris MacMurray said.

The Pirates get some time off before the next meet, which is the Inland Northwest Challenge on Oct. 13.

“All these races that are for conference are kind of a good indicator of where we’re at and where the teams in our conference are at, but it doesn’t really mean a whole lot because it comes down to that conference race, the regionals race, the nationals race,” Hill said. “So it’s really just kind of practice of getting ready for conferences that championship race where how you score and how you place against your competitors really matters.”

Whitney Carter Staff Writer

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Sports Recap October 3

Pirates pass first conference road test The Whitworth football team extended its still-perfect season for yet another week in a win against the Boxers of Pacific University on Saturday, 28-25. The Pirates advance to 5-0, already exceeding the total victories from last season. Sophomore quarterback Bryan Peterson had a standout performance, passing for a career-high 354 yards, including three touchdown passes. Senior wide receiver Jake DeGooyer led the Bucs with eight receptions and a touchdown on the day. Senior running back Ronnie Thomas was again an integral force for Whitworth, rushing for 134 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Nic Brockhoff had eight tackles and sophomore defensive back Paul Miller had seven tackles to lead the Pirate defense. The Bucs are back at the Pine Bowl this Saturday for homecoming, taking on the 4-0 Willamette Bearcats.

Women’s cross country places ninth in Oregon

The women’s cross country squad came home with a ninth-place finish at the 38th Annual Charles Bowles Invitational hosted by Willamette University on Saturday. This finish also gave the Bucs a third place finish out of six NWC teams in the event. Sophomore Christina Anderson (18:49.10) and junior Elisabeth Spencer (18:50.54) were the first Pirates to cross the line in the 5k race, coming in at 20th and 21st out of a field of more than 200 runners. Although the Bucs finished behind NWC rivals Willamette (6th) and Linfield (7th), they managed to come in ahead of Whitman (14th), George Fox (19th) and University of Puget Sound (20th). The Pirates have a weekend off, but will return to competition Oct. 13 at the Inland Northwest Challenge in Lewiston, Idaho.

Volleyball falters in NWC road matches

Whitworth traveled to Oregon to play the Lewis & Clark Pioneers and George Fox Bruins last Friday, falling to both teams in three sets. The Pirates kept the first set close against Lewis & Clark until midway through the game when the Pioneers took control and pulled away from a 10-10 tie, going on to win 25-16. Lewis & Clark kept the momentum during the second and third sets with  25-21 and 25-18 victories to earn the win. The Bucs faced George Fox on Saturday. GFU won the first set 25-18, but Whitworth came out strong in the second set and took an early lead. The Bruins came back from behind quickly and went on to win the second game 25-17. After five ties and one lead change in the third set the Bruins ended the match with a 25-20 set victory. Whitworth was led in the two games by junior outside hitter Jalana White with 18 digs and 23 kills, freshman outside hitter Nicole Leonard with 14 kills and 22 digs. Whitworth will take on Linfield and Pacific Oct. 4 and 5 at 7 pm in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

Whitworthian Sports Staff

Women’s cross country runs at local meet

The women’s cross country team took a more conservative approach than usual during the Runner’s Soul/Erik Anderson Invitational last Saturday at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane Valley. Beginning with their most recent race, the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 15 in Seattle, head coach Toby Schwarz’s squad has races for three consecutive weekends. With conference competition yet to begin, the women’s cross country team used a more conservative approach for last Saturday’s race, giving some runners a chance to rest and others a chance to get into better form.

“We had a great meet last weekend, and next weekend will be very competitive with a lot of teams from our conference,” Schwarz said. “We used this meet as more of a practice.”

Freshman Olivia Newman (20:12.05) came across the line first for the Pirates, followed closely by junior Elisabeth Spencer (20:12.63). Newman had arguably her best race of the year so far, thanks in part to the running style coach Schwarz implemented for this tune-up race. The plan was to only run 14 out of the 18 runners on the roster, and pair one girl from the top seven on the team with one girl from the next seven, which explains why Newman and Spencer finished so closely.

“It gave some of our runners with a little bit less experience to run at more of a varsity level,” Schwarz said. And without a doubt, the runner that benefited the most was Newman, who ended up with a personal record for the race.

“She ran a great race with a more experienced runner,” Schwarz said.

As for the more experienced runners themselves, this race was much less intense than the Willamette Invitational will prove to be be next weekend. In fact, four runners did not even participate Saturday, one of whom was Joy Shufeldt. Shufeldt injured her groin at the beginning of last week, and was unable to participate in either of the team’s previous two events. The senior captain of the squad did, however, get to see some positive elements about her young teammates.

“I’m really excited to see how we do, we have such a young team,” Shufeldt said. “There is so much potential.”

Shufeldt hopes to compete with her team this Saturday, when the Pirates travel to Salem for the Willamette Invitational.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

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Men’s cross country competes as a unit

The men’s cross country team finished in third place at this week’s Runner’s Soul/Erik Anderson Invite in Spokane. “It was more of a workout than a race,” senior captain Tim Hill said.

This was the Bucs’ second of three consecutive weekends of races, on one of the Pirates more difficult courses of the season.

“We didn’t run this as a race,” coach Toby Schwarz said.

Schwarz said that Pirates viewed this race as more of a practice and a chance to recover.

“It is not a PR course at all and so what [Schwarz] had us do is run in a pack all together and just work on running as a team,” freshman Chris MacMurray said. “I’d find it very unlikely if that were to happen again this year, I could see us doing a lot of practices like that, but not any more meets.”

Running the race as a team meant there was less variance between the fastest and slowest times from Pirate runners.

First to cross the finish line was freshman Connor Soudani, but all 10 Pirate men finished within 3 seconds of each other with times from 28:30.78 to 28:32.75.

In a sport where personal times hold merit apart from team scores, the strategy gave the Bucs a chance to work together.

“I liked helping my teammates out, because for a few of them, it was a struggle to stay at that pace and it was just cool to actually help them meet their mark and not drop out.” MacMurray said. “It was just cool to be able to encourage my teammates during an actual race.”

With the event taking place in Spokane Valley, Whitworth students were able to come out to support their peers at the event.

“That was actually kind of fun, there were a lot of people there supporting and cheering us on,” MacMurray said.  “It was like happy cheering. It was really encouraging to have all of them supporting us.”

This was the team’s only meet in Spokane.

Next week the Bucs will compete at the Willamette Invite at Busch Pasture Park in Salem, Ore.

“I’ve been told that’s a really fast course,” Macmurray said. “It’s also the Willamette invite and Willamette is our rival for cross-country so that’s the first time we’re going to see them all season. So we’re going to go into it pretty amped and wanting to beat them and show them what’s up so it’s definitely going to be a good showdown.”

The Pirates have two more races before conference championships.

Whitney Carter Staff Writer

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Sports recaps

Women’s cross country ninth at Sundodger The Whitworth Women’s Cross Country squad competed in the Sundodger Invitational hosted by the University of Washington last Saturday. It was the 20th annual event, and the Pirates managed a ninth-place finish overall out of 19. Whitworth was led by sophomore Christina Anderson, who finished 20th out of 213 runners, with a time of 22:58.06 in the 6k race. She was followed by junior Elisabeth Spencer (23:21.02) and senior Celeste Northcott (23:54.48) rounding out the Pirates’ top three runners. Next weekend the women will race in the Runner’s Soul Erik Anderson Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22 in Spokane Valley.

Salzwedel leads men’s golf to second place

The Lewiston Triangular turned out to be a spectacular outing for the men’s golf team this weekend.  The men finished in a close second to Lewis-Clark State with a score of 290.  Lewis-Clark finished with a 284 while conference rival Whitman college finished in third with a 314. Whitworth junior Jesse Salzwedel led the Pirates with an invidual round of 68. On Sept. 23-24, the Whitworth men will compete in the North Idaho Invitational in Hayden, Idaho.

Cross country men sixth at Sundodger

The men’s cross country team competed in the Sundodger Invitational, a meet which was hosted at the University of Washington last Saturday morning. They competed against 21 community colleges and universities. As a team, the Pirates finished sixth overall with an average time of 26:15.9. They earned 212 points in the 8k open race. Sophomore Taylor Steele led the Bucs and finished 43rd overall with a time of 26:06.61. Closely following Steele was junior Matthew Edwards with a time of 26:06.31, finishing 43rd overall. The next race for Whitworth is the Runner’s Soul Erik Anderson Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22 in Spokane Valley.

Women’s golf tunes up with intersquad match

The  women’s  golf   team capped off a preliminary season set last weekend with their performance at the Whitworth Intersquad exhibition at The Idaho Club.  Despite the difficulty of the course, the team was able to power through a solid perfomance. Emily Guthrie shot a 77 and Ashley Danforth came in second with an 82. Yvonne LaCoursiere, Cindy Tapia and Chelsea Bayley also had commendable performances. Up next, the Pirates will play in Hayden, Idaho at the North Idaho Invitational on Sept. 23-24.

Whitworthian Sports Staff