Pilots want rain on rivals race parade
- Cliff Pfenning
- Portland Tribune - Sports
The University of Portland hopes for rain and cold weather at Saturday's NCAA West Regional cross country meet at Blue Lake Park.
The top two men's teams out of 32 entries will qualify automatically for the national championships Nov. 24 at the University of Northern Iowa.
UP coach Rob Conner's Pilots will have to duel with Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo Ñas well as the clear favorite, Stanford.
'The West is a tough region, and there are six fairly even teams behind Stanford,' Conner says. 'We're hoping the weather gives us an edge over the southern schools.'
Portland is led by senior Ryan Craig, who helped the Pilots place seventh at nationals in 2001. Other top UP runners are senior Jeff Driscoll, juniors Matt Harriman and Nick Schuetze and sophomore Trevor Coolidge.
Portland's roster is so deep that the Pilots ran their B team at the West Coast Conference meet last week and finished in the top five places, winning the title for the 25th straight year.
Oregon finished second in the regional last year and returns senior Brett Holts and juniors Ryan Andrus and Eric Logsdon. Freshman Alec Wall from Grant may be included in the Ducks' lineup.
The Portland women's team, led by WCC runner-up Ashlee Vincent, hopes to finish in the top seven and perhaps squeeze into the NCAA meet as an at-large selection.