Oct. 16, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -
The University of Wyoming cross country teams aced their biggest test to date Saturday in the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, hosted by the University of Arkansas.
The men took sixth in the 50-team field with 292 points, trailing perennial powerhouse programs like Oklahoma State, Indiana and Arkansas. The women were 11th out of 56 teams with 397 points, trailing Auburn by just 11 points for 10th place.
Wyoming's runners accomplished all that despite battling a myriad of illnesses all week. Junior Nick Ekel had to run through an ear infection, which developed just days ago.
"Everybody deals with that stuff," Wyoming coach Randy Cole said. "We can still be a little better, but overall, we did pretty darn well. In this kind of field, it's pretty good to be up there."
Junior Greg Miller led the way for the Pokes in the 10,000-meter race, placing 33rd overall with a time of 30 minutes, 28.21 seconds. He was followed by freshman Garrett Zans in 45th, 30:45.61; senior Taylor Kelting in 58th, 31:02.92; and sophomore Michael Banks in 107th, 31:50.98. Junior Ryan Griesbach rounded out the scoring for Wyoming, placing 130th with a time of 32:06.08.
The women's 5,000-meter race featured a bit of drama early on, as some runners got tangled up shortly after the start. Wyoming freshman Christine Nelson was involved in the fracas and fell, but recovered down the stretch to finish 15th with a time of 17:23.59.
"Getting out was very challenging, but after that, she really rocked and rolled," Cole said of Nelson's performance.
Senior Alysha Davis was steady for the fourth straight event, running to a time of 17:55.60, which put her in 54th place. Senior Francis Gipson was next, nabbing 83rd with a time of 18:12.16. Sophomore Maya Martinez was 133rd, 18:39.43; sophomore Brooke Hughes was 159th, 18:52.84 and sophomore Felicia McAfee finished with a time of 19:07.01, good for 192nd.
"I thought they all ran very solid," Cole said.
Oklahoma State swept the titles, as the men's team won with 22 points, and the women's team scored 72 points for the crown.
The Chile Pepper Festival was the last regular-season meet for the two teams, and Cole said it was a good way to get ready for the Mountain West Championships, which are Oct. 29 in Laramie, Wyo.
"We've had a real steady season so far," Cole said. "It was a very good atmosphere, a good experience, and we're now looking forward to having a good one in a few weeks."