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Warriors Run Well at Nationals

Submitted by: Kaci Mexico - November 21st, 2015
Jessica Meyers

By Kaci Mexico
November 21 2015

In the NAIA Cross Country National Championship Race held in Charlotte, North Carolina, out of 36 men’s and women’s teams, the Westmont Women’s and Men’s Cross Country Teams placed tenth and eighteenth respectively. Each team placed higher than the final Top 25 Coaches Poll ranking they held prior to the race – the men jumped from 26 to 18 and the women from 13 to 10.

“We wanted to run as well at nationals as we did at conference and today they actually ran better than they did at conference,” explained head coach Russel Smelley. “We had our best team spreads of the year – under one minute for both teams – and that gave them a good spread towards finishing well. This season has been a process of getting better and working towards running up to their potential and I think today they ran up to their potential which feels really good.”

A team spread is the time difference between the first and fifth runners on a single team. The score of each of the top five runners, out of the seven women and men that run for each team, is combined to create the team total. Thus, a great team spread (a low time) is crucial for overall team success.

In the men’s 8k race, Westmont had a spread of 51 seconds with senior Evan Kramer finishing first for the Warriors at 25 minutes and 52 seconds and sophomore Jacob Grant finishing fifth at 26 minutes and 43 seconds. Finishing second, third, and fourth respectively were sophomore Thomas Hamlin (26:08), freshman Blake Fonda (26:36), and senior Nate Evans (26:36).

In the women’s 5k race, Westmont had a spread of 54 seconds with senior Jessica Meyers finishing first for the Warriors at 18 minutes and 27 seconds and senior Sierra Wallen finishing fifth at 19 minutes and 21 seconds. Finishing second, third, and fourth respectively were junior Kelly Collins (18:38), senior Alexandria Adams (19: 01), and junior Olivia Wood (19:03).

[men’s team results] [men’s individual results] [women’s team results] [women’s individual results]

Warriors Headed to Charlotte for Nationals

Submitted by: Ron Smith - November 9th, 2015

Both Westmont Cross Country teams have received at-large invitations to the NAIA National Championships, which will be held at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, November 21. The men’s 8,000 meter race will begin at 10:30 a.m. EDT (7:30 a.m. PDT) with the women’s 5,000 meter race starting one hour later.

The 13th ranked women’s team was awarded the fourth of 12 at-large berths in a field that consists of 36 teams. Twenty-four teams earned a berth through automatic qualification through their respective conferences. 82 individuals from teams that did not qualify also earned a spot in the championship event.

Westmont Women’s Cross Country will be making its 22nd trip as a team to the National Championship, all under head coach Russell Smelley. The Warriors have qualified as a team each of the last four years. In the 2014 championship, which was held in Lawrence, Kansas, the Warriors finished in eighth place.

Cross Country Teams Both Third at GSAC

Submitted by: Ron Smith - November 9th, 2015
Jessica Meyers and Evan Kramer.

Westmont Men’s and Women’s Cross Country competed at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday at Irvine Park in the City of Orange. Both teams finished third in their respective races.

“The third paces finishes were disappointing,” acknowledged Westmont head coach Russell Smelley. “They were solid races, but not outstanding races like we had hoped we would have. My hopes were for a chance to win both events. We are looking to be better when we get to nationals.”

In the women’s 5,000 meter race, #2 Biola finished first with a team score of 26 (low score wins) to claim the conference’s automatic qualification into the NAIA National Championship. The Master’s, ranked 11th, placed second with 49 points. The eighth-ranked Warriors finished with 62 points.

Westmont’s Jessica Meyers and Kelly Collins claimed All-GSAC honors. Meyers finished fourth in a time of 18:33 while Collins came in 11th in a time of 19:03.

[men’s results] [women’s results]

Warriors Sweep WJU Invitational

Submitted by: Ron Smith - October 24th, 2015
Nathan Evans (left) and Evan Kramer (right). (Photo courtesy William Jessup Sports Information)

Westmont Cross Country swept the William Jessup Invitational on Saturday, winning both the men’s and women’s races. Westmont’s 25th-ranked men outpaced #17 The Master’s by a score of 28-31 (low score wins) and #22 Oregon Tech, which tallied 75 points. The 14th-ranked Westmont women’s team edged out #7 The Master’s 36-38 with #21 Oregon Tech taking third with 52 points.

“I was elated to see our men’s team have a very strong race,” said Smelley. “They produced a team spread of 40 seconds and didn’t give in to the packed dirt course on undulating hills. The men kept their spread together until the very end when Evan Kramer had a good finish to take second place.”

Kramer posted a time of 25:30 over the 8,000 meter course, edging out two runners from The Master’s – Richard Beckelew (third place, 25:40) and Kyler Mikesell (fourth place, 25:48). The race was won by Joshua Sherfey of The Master’s who completed the course in a time of 24:40.

With three runners in from the Master’s and only one for Westmont, the next few runners would be critical. As it turned out, the next four were wearing Maroon.

Westmont’s Thomas Hamlin claimed fifth place with a time of 26:06 and Blake Fonda captured sixth with a time of 26:13. Right behind Fonda were Nathan Evans in seventh and John Nealon in eighth, both with times of 26:15.

[men’s results] [women’s results]

Kramer Honored as Runner of the Month

Submitted by: Ron Smith - September 30th, 2015
Evan Kramer

Westmont’s Evan Kramer has been named the Golden State Athletic Conference Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Month for September.

The senior captain from Fresno earned the distinction after finishing first among all NAIA runners (15th overall) at the Mustang Challenge on September 19. Kramer completed the 8,000 meter course in a time of 25:50, which was 16 seconds ahead of his nearest GSAC competitor, Andrew Orona from The Master’s.

“Evan is getting the fruit of three years of labor of learning how to run well and how to put his best effort forward without trying more,” said Westmont head coach Russell Smelley. “He has learned his lessons well and has put them into good practice. So, he is succeeding.”

Smelley Honored as Coach of Character

Submitted by: Ron Smith - April 12th, 2015
Track & Field and Cross Country Head Coach Russell Smelley received the 2014 NAIA Coach of Character Award.

Westmont’s Russell Smelley was honored today as the 2015 NAIA Coach of Character award winner at the NAIA National Convention.

The NAIA Coach of Character award is given annually to an NAIA head coach who has embraced the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, demonstrated through sport and instilled a culture of community leadership through volunteering or service.

Since 1979, Smelley has served as the head coach of Westmont’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams.

As the Coach of Character recipient, Smelley was honored as “the epitome of the Coach of Character award; he believes that coaches have the unique opportunity to help develop the character and resilience of their athletes.”

Women’s Cross Country Wins GSAC Championships

Submitted by: Ron Smith - November 8th, 2014
GSAC Cross Country Champions

For the first time since 1999, #9 Westmont Women’s Cross Country has claimed the Golden State Athletic Conference championships. The Warriors tallied 41 points at the 5,000 meter race; beating #16 The Master’s who claimed second place with 54 points. Biola, ranked #13, notched third place with 78 points.

“They were never really in danger of falling behind,” said Westmont head coach Russell Smelley who was named the GSAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. “They were in good position the whole way and improved their position over the last mile. They were challenged, but they did what they needed to do.”

Four Warriors were named to the All-GSAC team as a result of finishing in the top 14. Kelly Collins placed second in a time of 18:12 while Jessica Meyers was fourth in a time of 18:22. Corrine Cherne claimed seventh place with an 18:36 finish while Heidi Nichols was 12th crossing the finish line in a time of 19:02. It is the first time since 1998 that four Warriors have earned all-conference honors.

“Heidi and Corrine, as senior leads, really were the spark plugs of this success,” credited Smelley. “For the first three years, they had good days and mediocre days and average days. This whole season they have had good races because they focused in, decided they could do it and decided that they wanted to do it. They made it happen and the team followed their leadership.”

[men’s results] [women’s results] [photos]

Cross Country Shines at Biola Jamboree

Submitted by: Ron Smith - October 26th, 2014
Biola NAIA Far West Jamboree

Westmont Men’s and Women’s Cross Country performed well at the Biola NAIA West Coach Jamboree held at Irvine Park on Saturday. The seventh ranked women’s team took third place out of 14 teams despite the absence of top runner Kelly Collins who was held out due to a sore hamstring.

“The women did not blink at the challenge,” said Smelley. “Corinne Cherne, Jessica Meyers, Emily Williams and Heidi Nicholls came in 35 seconds apart to hold off their conference rivals Biola and The Master’s.”

Biola is ranked nationally at #13 while The Master’s is ranked at #10. The women’s team finished behind #5 Cal State San Marcos that finished first and #9 Carroll (Mont.) that took second.

“The Warriors will have to wait for NAIA Nationals to have their next opportunity to face off with Carroll at full strength,” said Smelley.


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