Lewis & Clark hosts its home cross-country invitational
By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor
After a series of strong showings at several invitationals, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams have returned from fall break to host the Lewis & Clark Invitational at Milo McIver State Park on Oct. 18. This is the last meet of the regular season, and thus it is the Pioneers’ last chance to scout out the opposition before the conference championship race on Nov. 1. What are the Pios about to face at their invitational?
The course at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, about 40 minutes from campus, presents several challenges. Like the Stanford Invitational, a golf course serves as the base for the raceway. The surface is a mix of grass and wood-chip surfaces, with mild hills throughout the path. As is standard for Northwest Conference races, the event follows the men’s eight kilometer women’s six kilometer course template. In order to accommodate these distances, the track follows two three-kilometer loops around the golf course, with an additional two-kilometer loop for the men. Despite the loop system, the event closely resembles Stanford’s Invitational, with the grassy surface and hills. When taking into account the strong showing that both squads presented at that event, the terrain should not be considerably tough. While it is not necessarily relevant to the race, parts of the route run alongside the bank of the Clackamas River, a unique feature among NWC invitationals.
The competition will also be strong at the event. Unlike the Stanford Invitational, there are no Division I participants and the rest of the Northwest Conference will partake in the race. Teams that are especially strong in this lineup include University of Puget Sound, Linfield College and defending conference champion Willamette University. This is the men’s and women’s cross-country teams’ final opportunity to size up the competition in preparation for the championship, and they hope to put the skills they have acquired over the past few meets to good use on their home turf.