Cowboy and Cowgirl cross country teams each selected fifth in MW preseason poll

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Wyoming’s men’s and women’s cross country teams have each been selected fifth in the 2016 Mountain West Cross Country Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the conference announced Thursday. The league’s coaches selected the Colorado State men and New Mexico women to win team titles in the talent-packed conference. 

The Cowboys, who took fourth at the 2015 Mountain West Cross Country Championships, collected 23 points in the poll to finish above Utah State (sixth) San José State (seventh) and Fresno State (eighth). New Mexico was selected to finish just above the Cowboys in fourth, while defending champion Air Force was chosen to finish third in the conference. Boise State collected one first-place vote to come in second, while Colorado State’s five first-place votes translated to 46 points and a first-place selection.

The fifth-place prediction for the Cowgirls matches their finish from the 2015 MW cross country championships. The Cowgirls totaled 63 points in the poll, finishing just four points behind fourth-place selection Air Force. Colorado State was chosen to finish third, while Boise State was picked second. Mountain West coaches predicted that defending NCAA cross country champions New Mexico would finish first of the league’s 11 teams to win their ninth straight conference title. 

The young Cowboy roster will feature a bevy of newcomers, but Jonah Henry and Ricky Faure return after finishing in Wyoming’s top five at the 2015 conference championships. The Cowgirls return all five of their top finishers from the 2015 conference meet, while redshirt senior star Audra DeStefano also returns after missing most of the 2015 season due to illness.

The Cowboy and Cowgirl harriers will begin their season at the Colorado State Invite in Fort Collins, Colo., on Sept. 2. Mountain West teams will gather at the Falcon Crest Golf Club in Kuna, Idaho on Oct. 28 to battle for men’s and women’s league crowns.