Cowboys Achieve Top-16 Finish In Pre-National Invitational

Oct. 16, 2011

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - In the largest field the team has run against this season, the Wyoming Cowboy cross country team finished 16th in the team standings at the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational on Sunday.

The Pokes finished in the top half of the 35-team field with a limited contingent of runners.

"We were steady," Wyoming coach Randy Cole said. "I wouldn't say anything spectacular, but to be in the middle of the pack in a big invite, it was a great experience for our team and our kids. We had some people do some solid things."

Sophomore Garrett Zans led the way for UW, finishing 39th out of 296 runners. He ran the 8-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 3 seconds. Senior Paul Burke, running in his first event for the Cowboys, was 54th with a time of 25:12. The Cowboys were without their top runner, senior Greg Miller, who sat out due to injuries.

"Garrett did a really nice job, placing in the top 40. Paul Burke ran extremely well. He was real patient at the beginning, and did a real nice job for us in his first race," Cole said.

Other Cowboy runners included Nick Ekel (25:27, 76th), Michael Banks (25:48, 112th), Ryan Griesbach (26:48, 204th), Nik Deininger (26:50, 211th) and Tyler Gifford (26:59, 224th).

In the women's race, the Cowgirls finished 23rd out of 37 teams, and junior Brooke Hughes was the top finisher for the UW women. Hughes was 68th out of 303 runners with a time of 22:09 in the 6-kilometer race. Freshman Holly Page made her collegiate debut and was the next finisher for the Cowgirls, crossing the line with a time of 22:10, good for 69th.

"Brooke Hughes went out very strong and was in the top 70, and Holly had a really good opener," Cole said. "The rest of our women were pretty steady."

Other Cowgirl finishers included Abi Bever (22:54, 122nd), Emily Swigart (23:25, 165th), Devon England (24:02, 224th), Danielle Grossman (24:06, 226th) and Andrea Klimowski (24:45, 267th).

With the conference championships two weeks away, Cole hopes his team can overcome their injuries and he's counting on some newcomers to step up.

"I was pleased with the openers for Paul and Holly," Cole said. "It was a good experience for everyone, getting in that big field of runners. It's wide open come conference time."

The UW cross country teams will compete at the Mountain West Championships on Oct. 29 in Fort Collins, Colo.