Wyoming Cross Country Starts Off Fast In Season Opener

Sept. 3, 2010

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The University of Wyoming Cross Country teams made their mark early on, and even rewrote the record book in the first event of the season Friday, the Wyoming Invitational.

Under sunny, calm conditions at Jacoby Golf Course, the Cowboys finished second with 51 points, trailing only Colorado State, which scored 28 to take the men's title. Utah Valley scored 53 and Northern Colorado scored 111 for fourth place.

The Cowgirls took third with 76 points, trailing Utah Valley (47) and Colorado State, which scored 20 points for the win. Utah Valley was second with 47 points, and Northern Colorado scored 105 for fourth.

Junior Greg Miller set the pace for the Cowboys, finishing third overall in 22 minutes, 3.2 seconds. Miller's time tied for third in the Wyoming Invitational top 25 all-time list. Miller struggled with injuries last season, missing two meets.

It looks like he's back in top form, Wyoming head coach Randy Cole said.

" We've seen bits and pieces ... If we can keep the (injury) bugaboo off him, he's going to do some really good things," Cole said.

Utah Valley's Josh McCabe was the winner of the men's race with a time of 21:44.

Wyoming freshman Garrett Zans showed his immense potential in his very first collegiate meet, finishing sixth with a time of 22:13, a mark which puts him 12th on the Wyoming Invitational top 25 all-time list.

Cowgirl freshman Christine Nelson finished in third place with a time of 14:51.2.

"What a great debut by a freshman," Cole said. "He's running really smart and having fun out there."

Other finishes for the Wyoming men included: Taylor Kelting in 14th, 22:45; Sean Wilde in 21st, 23:25; Ryan Griesbach in 22nd, 23:28.6; Mitch Brauneis in 25th, 23:53; Tyler Gifford in 28th, 24:12.5 and Nik Deininger in 31st, 24:28.9.

Freshman Christine Nelson sped to a third-place finish for the Cowgirls in her first meet wearing the brown and gold. She blazed to a time of 14:51.2, which puts her eighth on the Invitational top-25 list.

"(It was a) very good debut," Cole said. "She got right up in there with some All-American-level gals. She hung tough."

Senior Alysha Davis was the next finisher for the Cowgirls, grabbing 18th place with a time of 15:48.8, and sophomore Brooke Hughes was 23rd with a mark of 16:05.8.

"I was pleased with Brooke Hughes," Cole said. "It may not seem overwhelming, but the way she finished the second half was a good sign. The other girls were real steady. We just need to keep moving that whole group up."

Other Cowgirl finishes included: Francis Gipson in 24th, 16:07.7; Maya Martinez in 25th, 16:09.7; Felicia McAfee in 32nd, 16:41.6; Andrea Klimowski in 33rd, 16:45.2 and Emily Swigart in 36th with a time of 17:08.1.

Ellie Keyser of Colorado State broke her own Wyoming Invitational record time, finishing first with a mark of 14:16. That was 14 seconds faster than her previous mark, set in 2009.

"We got some pretty hot times, by our kids and others," Cole said. "There were really some good runners in the field, including some Wyoming kids. I was really pleased. You could see our lead kids running with those other types of athletes, and that's a good indicator right there."

Cole said he was impressed with the way his student-athletes focused on each of the three parts of the race: the beginning, the middle and the end.

"That's going to be the key, each kid putting those three parts together and as a team, coming together," he said. "I thought overall it was pretty good.

"It was great weather, really neat course, great atmosphere with the crowd. Not a bad opener at all. Now we keep our heads up and assess where we're at and keep training."

There were two high school races to start the day, as well. Laramie High School won both the girls and boys race.

Wyoming's next cross country meet will be Sept. 18 in Lincoln, Neb., at the Woody Greeno Invitational.