West Coast Conference Championships
Tune in on Saturday, October 29 for an exciting cross country conference championship. The West Coast Conference (WCC) Championships are taking place at Crystal Springs in Belmont, CA. If you can’t make it to Crystal, the meet is to be streamed live at wccsports.com.
The highlighted showdown will take place in the men’s race, which starts at 9:00 A.M. The University of Portland has won the WCC men’s team championship an amazing thirty-two straight years. That’s every conference championship since 1979. Their streak is in jeopardy due to Brigham Young University (BYU) joining the WCC this year.
BYU arrives to run at Crystal Springs and in a WCC Championship for the first time as the third ranked team in the nation. Miles Batty has led BYU to a win at the Notre Dame Invitational and to a second place at the Wisconsin Invitational.
Portland, however, is no slouch. Led by Trevor Dunbar, Portland took second at the Pre-Nationals Meet and is ranked number eight in nation. Portland also has the advantage of experience and knowledge on the challenging Crystal Springs course.
Portland’s streak is one of the longest in NCAA history in all sports. Arkansas won thirty-four consecutive conference championships between 1974 and 2007, the first seventeen while members of the now defunct Southwest Conference (SWC) and the last seventeen as members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Over the thirty-two years of the streak, Portland has also had the individual champion every year except 2007, when University of San Francisco’s (USF) Cheyne Inman edged out Portland’s top runner by five seconds. Current Portland coach, Rob Connor, was the 1984 WCC Champion, which was also the last year the WCC Championships were not held at Crystal Springs. The last team other than Portland to win the conference championship was the University of Nevada Reno, which won four straight titles from 1975-1978.
Some years Portland has been particularly dominant, scoring a perfect fifteen points (sweeping first through fifth place). They have done this nine times, including five years in a row between 1995 and 1999. Of late, however, the rest of the conference has been closing the gap on Portland. In 2010 Portland’s margin of victory was just seven points over USF and in 2008 the margin of victory over Loyola Marymount was just ten points.
Will Portland continue their conference winning streak or will BYU crash the party and win the WCC on their first try?