Cowgirl Cross Country Captures First Place, Cowboys Fourth at Wyoming Invitational

Sept. 3, 2004


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The University of Wyoming women's cross country team began its 2004 season with a big home win on Friday. Wyoming captured the team title in the five-team field finishing with 38 points. UW easily outscored second-place Colorado State (57 points) and third-place Air Force (61 points). The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs placed fourth (102 points), and Northern Colorado finished fifth (104 points).

The Cowgirls were led by senior Jennifer Thompson of Cheyenne, Wyo., and freshman Gretchen Fagley of Sheridan, Wyo. Thompson placed second in the two and one-half mile race, running a time of 15 minutes and six seconds, while Fagley finished right with her in third with an identical time of 15:06. Wyoming had a third individual finish in the Top 10 -- junior Michelle Kvernmo of Hookstown, Pa., placed seventh, with a time of 15:24.

"Overall it was a good all-around team race for our ladies," said UW head cross country coach Randy Cole. "I was really pleased with the way everyone on our team battled, particularly over the last half mile or so. We picked up quite a few points with our four, five and six runners. And our top women held on in the lead group to finish second and third.

"I tried to emphasize to both our men and women that no matter where you are in the race, whether you are going to place high individually or not, you have to keep battling because you may beat someone on another team that could effect the final team standings.

"Jennifer (Thompson) and Gretchen (Fagley) both got out really solid and aggressive. You like to see that. It was a great battle with Danielle Korb of Colorado State, who finished first. I think each of those three ladies led the race at one point or another.

"We know we have a long ways to go as a team, but it is nice to come out with a victory on your home course to start the season."

In the men's competition, Wyoming's top finisher was sophomore Brian Knight of Boise, Idaho, who finished 15th in the field of 60 runners. Knight posted a time of 22 minutes and 54 seconds over the 4.1 mile men's race.

The Cowboys finished fourth in the four-team field with 96 points. Colorado State won the men's team competition, scoring 27 points. Colorado at Colorado Springs (43 points) placed second, and Air Force (64 points finished third.

"The guys have been working hard, and have really had a great attitude in training," added Cole. "I think the key for our men is to get used to the higher volume of training, and let their body adjust and translate that into good racing. It has been an adjustment for them both mentally and physically.

"The main thing for both our men and women is to ask themselves, `did I really challenge myself over the second half of the race, and at the end of the race was I digging down or was I backing off.' Each individual has to answer that for themselves. But if they felt like they were still pushing themselves down the stretch of the race, that is a good beginning.

"Brian (Knight), I believe will be even better than he showed today. He is still recovering from a car accident he had toward the end of the summer. Jeremy Thompson, Brian Harnisch and Matt Hudson are good middle-distance guys. Once their bodies adjust to the training, I think all three of them will show much improved results also."

The next competition for both the men's and women's teams will be Saturday, Sept. 11 in Fort Collins, Colo., for the Colorado State Invitational.