KUNA, Idaho – University of Wyoming junior Lauren Hamilton finished 13th place overall en route to second team All-Mountain West honors at the 2016 Mountain West Cross Country Championships on Friday, leading the Cowgirls to a fifth-place team finish at the Falcon Crest Golf Club in Kuna, Idaho. Fellow junior Jonah Henry led the Cowboys to a sixth-place team finish, taking 20th place in the men’s field of 66 runners.
“On both the men’s and women’s sides, I felt like we didn’t get out as well as we wanted to in the first third of the race,” said head coach Bryan Berryhill on Friday. “We competed really hard in the middle and the end, but we need to condition ourselves better in the beginning.”
Hamilton led the Cowgirls throughout the 6-kilometer race, clocking in at 20 minutes, 59.9 seconds, the eighth-best 6K time in Wyoming history. The All-Mountain West award was the first of her career and first for the Cowgirls since Holly Page and Kerry White earned all-conference honors in 2014. White placed 19th in the field of 88 runners on Friday with a time of 21:16.7, marking her third top-20 conference finish in her three seasons as a Cowgirl.
Audra DeStefano finished 23rd in her final cross country conference championship meet, clocking 21:21.4 to finish as Wyoming’s third runner. Fellow senior Megan Brunette continued her consistent 2016 campaign in Idaho, finishing 31st with a time of 21:37.1.
Freshman Kacey Doner completed her fifth straight race in Wyoming’s top five, clocking 21:44.7 to earn 37th place in her conference championship debut. Quinn DeStefano was next, taking 40th at 21:45.5, while Isabella Pape placed 60th with a time of 22:19.3. Cassidy Meade finished 67th with a time of 22:48.5, while Kiah Leonard rounded out the Wyoming roster with a time of 22:59 for 71st place.
Henry finished with a time of 24:40.5 in the men’s 8-kilometer race to finish as the top Cowboy runner for the fourth time in the 2016 season. Ricky Faure contributed arguably his best performance of the season, taking 30th with a time of 25:06.3. Mike Seas was close behind Faure, taking 34th in the final conference championship meet of his career with a time of 25:09.6.
Freshmen Christopher Henry and Harry Ewing cracked Wyoming’s top five in their conference championship debuts, with Henry taking 41st and Ewing placing 46th. Henry clocked a time of 25:22.2, while Ewing crossed the finish line with a time of 25:26.6. Fellow freshman Daniel Hintz was next, taking 52nd at 25:55.3. Jesse Gray, Calum Kepler and Michael Downey went 56-59-61 to round out the Cowboy squad.
“I felt like we fought really hard in the middle and at the end, but we positioned ourselves too far back early on. It’s tough to make up those points,” Berryhill said.
Host Boise State earned the men’s team title, powered to victory by individual champion Yusuke Uchikoshi, while Colorado State, Air Force, Utah State and New Mexico rounded out the top five men’s teams. New Mexico won its ninth straight conference title on the women’s side as Alice Wright and Calli Thackery went 1-2 for the Lobos. Air Force, Boise State and Colorado State were the remaining teams to finish ahead of the Cowgirls.
Wyoming will next compete at the NCAA Mountain Regional in Logan, Utah on Nov. 11.