The #8 ranked Portland Pilots captured the 2014 WCC Men’s Cross Country Championship at the WCC Championships in Sunnyvale, California today. The Pilots just beat out #19 BYU by three points to capture their 33rd WCC Championship.
The Pilots and Cougars dominated the race taking nine of the top ten spots. The Pilots had the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 8th place runners while the Cougars had the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th place runners. San Francisco had the only other finisher in the top ten with the 9th place runner. Adding to the drama was a furious finish among the top runners. David Perry of Portland took overall honors finishing first with a time 23:26, just one second ahead of teammate Scott Fauble.
All of the top ten runners finished just 11 seconds apart with each finishing about one second ahead of the runner behind them. Considering the Pilots won the title by just three points and multiple Cougars finished alongside the Pilots in the top ten, it was a photo finish that could have gone very differently with just a few changes in the finishing order. The key moment might have been Danny Martinez of Portland overtaking Jose Madera of San Francisco and Connor McMillan of BYU to jump from 10th to 8th at the finish.
The Pilots also dominated the postseason honors. David Perry was named WCC Runner of the Year, and Rob Conner was named WCC Coach of the Year. Perry, Fauble, Reid Buchanon, and Danny Martinez were named First Team All-WCC while Timo Goehler was named Second Team All-WCC. The five All-WCC selections for Portland was second-best behind the seven from BYU. Conner McMillan of BYU was named the WCC Freshman of the Year.
The Pilots will now head to the NCAA West Regional on November 14th to race for a chance to appear in the NCAA National Champioships. They finished third in the West Regional last year earning a trip to the NCAA Championships where they finished seventh. Scott Fauble led the Pilots finishing 13th overall and earning his third All-American honor of his career.
BYU should also be heading to NCAA Regionals on the strength of their finish at the WCC Championships and national ranking. Last year after winning the WCC Championship, the Cougars reached the NCAA Championships and finished fourth. Jonathan Nelson is their top returning runner from that team. He finished 68th.