UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – With junior Lauren Hamilton leading the way once again, the University of Wyoming Cowgirl cross country team placed seventh overall in a very talented field of 19 teams in the women’s 6-kilometer race at Friday’s Penn State Open. Hamilton placed 19th overall in the 224-athlete field with a time of 20 minutes, 49 seconds, tying the third-best 6K time in program history. The Cowgirls triumphed over William & Mary, who received votes in the latest edition of the USTFCCCA Cross Country Coaches’ Poll, while Texas was the only team without a vote in the poll to finish ahead of the Brown and Gold.
“I thought the girls ran really tough today. We went out aggressive and stayed tough in the middle,” head coach Bryan Berryhill said following the race. “It was a big, big improvement over our last race and a step in the right direction leading into conference.”
Berryhill also praised Hamilton’s effort. “Lauren has been really consistent all year,” he said. “She had a little bit of a cold today, so how she ran with a little adversity shows the jump she’s made in her confidence this past year.”
Redshirt senior Audra DeStefano crossed the finish line in 21:01 to finish second on the squad and 32nd overall, tying the eighth-best 6K time in program history. Junior Kerry White took 44th overall, clocking in at 21:17, while senior Megan Brunette was close behind in 49th at 21:20. Freshman star Kacey Doner rounded out Wyoming’s top five, taking 68th place overall with a time of 21:38. The Cowgirls posted yet another impressive pack split as just 49 seconds elapsed between Hamilton and Doner crossing the finish line.
Isabella Pape placed 89th, recording a time of 21:50, while Quinn DeStefano took 96th at 21:55. Kiah Leonard placed 117th, clocking in at 22:08. Host and No. 8 Penn State took home the team win, while No. 25 Ole Miss, No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 30 West Virginia, Texas and Cornell (receiving votes) rounded out the top squads. Penn State sophomore Tessa Barrett was the individual winner at 20:11.
The 2016 Mountain West Cross Country Championships are next up for the Cowgirls on Oct. 28 in Kuna, Idaho. Meanwhile, the Cowboy cross country squad will compete at Indiana State University’s adidas Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday at 9:35 a.m. MT. Live streaming of Pre-Nationals is available via a paid subscription to FloTrack.