Oct. 14, 2006
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -
The University of Wyoming Cross Country teams posted solid times today at the University of Arkansas' Chile Pepper Invitational. The Cowgirls finished 16th of 42 teams with 495 points, while the men finished 15th out of the 33 teams competing with 446 points. Both teams competed in one of the strongest field of runners assembled during the regular season.
"I thought they put on a very competitive meet," said Wyoming Head Cross Country Coach, Randy Cole. "It was a great atmosphere and I thought that it was a worthwhile experience for our runners."
On the women's side, there were five teams ranked in the top 30 nationally with a total of 347 runners. Arkansas (#4) won the women's competition with 41 points. They were followed by (#20) Duke, who finished second with 132 points; (#28) Texas Tech with 134 points; (#30) Virginia Tech with 168 points and (#19) Baylor rounded out the top five team scores with 179 points.
For Wyoming, junior Gretchen Johnson was the leading scorer for the second year in a row with her 49th place time of 21:48. Freshman Emily Higgins continues to be a strong contributor for the Cowgirls this season as she finished 58th with a time of 22:00 to be the women's second point scorer. Rounding out the women's finishes were freshman Brenna Dooley, who finished 82nd with a time of 22:23; sophomore Lauren Furtney; who finished 120th with a time of 22:54; junior Nikki Peterson, who made her first appearance for the Cowgirls this season, finished 186th with a time of 23:48 and senior Tanya Kienlen, who finished 230th with a time of 23:59.
"I thought the women did a solid job. We didn't get out well, but we definitely fought well and were able to pass some people by the end of the race," said Cole. "We were able to edge out conference foe Utah, so I think that going into the Mountain West Conference Championships, it's pretty much wide open."
On the men's side, the competition proved just as strong with teams such as Alabama, UTEP, California and Virginia Tech. UTEP took home the meet title with 64 points. They were followed by Arkansas (77); Abilene Christian (101); Alabama (104) and rounding out the top five team finishes was Lamar with 169 points.
The Cowboys were led by sophomore Mark Korir, who finished fifth out of 288 runners with a time of 28:40 on the 10,000-meter course. This was Korir's second competition of the season with his first meet being at the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder, Colo. on September 30. Korir won that race with a time of 24:51.
"Mark ran really well," said Cole. "This was his first 10,000-meter race in cross country, so for him to come out and place fifth, really speaks well for his ability. His finish was one of the best in-season finishes in cross country for Wyoming and the conference."
Korir was followed by sophomore Shadrack Too, who finished 76th with a time of 31:14; senior Chris Schabron (31:59) finished 125th and sophomores Brett Schuler (32:12) and Eric Love (32:55) finished in 141st place and 179th place respectively. Senior Philemon Tanui and junior Michael Huntington did not compete for the Cowboys due to minor injuries.
"We were short handed again this week not having Philemon (Tanui) and Michael (Huntington). Overall, I was very pleased with their performance," said Cole. "All of our guys set personal records today in the 10k, so I think they finished solid."
Up next the UW cross country teams will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the Mountain West Conference Championships two weeks from today.