Men’s Cross Country
In November, two Lewis & Clark Pioneers competed in the NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Championships. Junior Blake Slattengren and first-year Liam Monheim finished in the top 150 out of a field of nearly 300 runners. Monheim, who earned the Northwest Conference’s Freshman of the Year award, placed 113th with a mark of 25:28.2, and Slattengren finished 143rd with a time of 25:41.3. The duo were the first Lewis & Clark entrants at nationals since Karl Dickman BA ’10 finished 185th in 2009.
In addition to competing at nationals, Monheim and Slattengren were also selected All-West Region the prior week at the NCAA West Regional. The Pioneers finished the season 10th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s West Region rankings.
Women’s Cross Country
Senior Frances Swanson, a team captain, placed 24th at the NCAA West Regional last November. She was followed by first-year Samantha Bowen and junior Kori Groenveld in 43rd and 48th place, respectively.
For the second straight year, the Lewis & Clark women’s tennis team produced the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Championship singles champion. Senior Wiktoria Plawska defeated the top seed, Linfield’s Ella Riddle, in the tournament final, 6-2, 6-0, to earn ITA All-American status and advance to the National Small College Championships, where she was ousted in the regional play-in round.
The Lewis & Clark men’s team had another best-ever showing at the ITA Regionals, placing eight of their 10 singles entries and four of their five doubles teams into the second round. Senior Michael Brewer made the singles semifinal and juniors Brenden Barrows and Gordon Barrows were in the doubles semifinals.
Lewis & Clark had one of the Northwest Conference’s smallest senior classes this season, with just two student-athletes departing after the Pios’ Senior Day game against Whitworth on November 12. Tight end C.J. Appleton and quarterback Niko Fortino did not disappoint in their finale, as both posted career-best numbers. Appleton caught two touchdowns in the 53-20 defeat, racking up career highs of nine receptions and 130 yards. In his two seasons as a Pioneer, he finished with 72 catches, 895 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. Fortino matched his high-water marks with 33 completions and 351 yards passing. He ended the year with 10 touchdown passes, a top-10 performance in school history over a single season.
The Pioneers closed out the season with a 1-0 home win over Puget Sound, the first time that Lewis & Clark has beaten the Loggers since reviving the women’s soccer program in 2004. Senior co-captain Isobel Fikso scored the game-winning goal, her first of the year, in the 43rd minute. Following the season’s conclusion, Fikso earned her fourth consecutive All-Northwest Conference selection after being named to the second team. First-year Caroline Hennes, who led the Pios in goals scored and was second overall in the NWC, was picked All-NWC Honorable Mention.
Lewis & Clark tested itself early with a tough nonconference schedule. The Pios faced five opponents, including one ranked in the national top 25, with an eventual combined record of 101-60. Despite failing to match their 10-win season from the prior year, the Pioneers saw senior Alexe Navarro extend her all-time Lewis & Clark career digs record to 1,795. The 2015 Northwest Conference Libero of the Year was slowed by an injury during the season, playing a career-low 16 matches. Still, she ranked in the NWC’s top five in digs per set. Sophomore Julia Somers earned her second straight All-NWC selection, making the Honorable Mention team.
The 25th-ranked Pioneers women’s team earned two top-two finishes in their five fall tournaments. Sophomore Annie McCutchan won the individual medalist honor at two tournaments. Her back-to-back 77s won the Pacific Invitational in September after winning the Pacific Lutheran Invitational two weeks earlier. Senior Claire Burke finished in the top 20 of the Dan Quayle Collegiate Classic, a tournament that featured four other top-25 teams. McCutchan and Burke each won the NWC Student-Athlete of the Week honor last fall.
First-year Michael Bove and senior Drew Groshong led the way for the Pios men’s team. Both had three top-10 finishes in the team’s four fall tournaments. Bove ended the Lute Invitational tied for second with a 149, while Groshong was the runner-up at the Pacific Invitational with a 140.