KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – After a record setting 2017 season, eighth year Head Coach Jack Kegg is looking for his Cross Country Teams to continue in the upward trend in 2018, and after a vote of the Cascade Conference head coaches, it looks like they agree. The Oregon Tech women have been voted to finish in first place and the men fourth in arguably the strongest conference in the NAIA.
On the women’s side, Oregon Tech received six first-place votes to lead the poll with 77 points. “The Lady Owls are returning great talent and with a very strong recruiting class we will try to improve on our 10th place finish from last year at the national meet,” said Kegg. The Lady Owls soared to a Conference title in 2017 after three consecutive third place finishes and have made national appearances the last four years.
The women’s team returns six on the top 25 list and three of those are the fastest in school history, All-American Cindy Reed (17:39.0), Danielle De Castro an All-American from 2016 (17:39.4). along with two-time All-American Susie Garza (17:45.0).
Other returners Jordan Monroe (18:07), Annika Andersen (18:29), and Mallory Ward(18:56), will look to improve and tighten the back end of the scoring for the Owls.
The freshman class of Faith Widman (18:33), Delani Dietrich (18:51), Hannah Mason (18:51), Andie Kolasinski (18:55) are eager to prove they are up to the challenge, and can contribute to Tech’s national aspirations.
“The Oregon Tech men are hungry to prove last year’s 10th place national finish was not a fluke,” said Kegg. “I feel they can compete with anyone in the country on any given day.”
Although the Owls graduated three from last year’s team, Coach Kegg is confident they have the talent to compete at the national level. Two-time all-American Mark French(24:48) will lead a group of returners with great national experience, Tim McPherson(25:20), Ricky Garcia (25:42), Paul Wyatt (26:01), Caleb Kauffman (26:42), and Chris Ramirez (27:15) all have national experience.
Freshman Nick McMillen will be asked to hit the ground running and complete a team with national expectations. The Owls will red shirt 2 freshmen with limited cross country experience for future success in the ever challenging Cascade Colligate Conference, Tyler Lawson, and Bradley Johnston.
Kegg and his Cross Country squads open up the 2018 season at Linfield College on August 31st in McMinnville, Oregon. The CCC championships will be held in Issaquah, Washington on November 3, hosted by Northwest University. The Owls will have high expectations to duplicate their 2017 success at the NAIA Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on November 16.
2018 CCC Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Polls
|1.||Oregon Tech (6)||77|
|2.||College of Idaho (3)||75|
|1.||Southern Oregon (7)||77|
|T2||College of Idaho (2)||69|
The NAIA men’s and women’s cross-country preseason polls will be released August 22nd.