Cowgirls Take Home Fifth-Place Finish In MW Cross Country Championships

Oct. 29, 2011


Men's Race Results Get Acrobat Reader | Women's Race Results Get Acrobat Reader

The Wyoming cross country program had an up-and-down day at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Cowgirls finished fifth out of eight teams, while the Cowboys were fifth out of six teams.

Wyoming's newcomers stepped up, as three of the five scoring runners on the women's side are in their first year of collegiate competition.

Junior Brooke Hughes was the top finisher for the Cowgirls, finishing 17th in the 6-kilometer race with a time of 22:04.6. Freshman Holly Page was 20th in her first conference championship race, crossing the line with a time of 22:13.7. Page was the first true freshman across the line, and she earned Freshman of the Year honors. Wyoming now has earned FOY accolades two straight seasons.

"Holly Page ran very well for us. That was probably one of the best races of her career so far," Wyoming coach Randy Cole said.

Junior Abi Bever was 26th, 22:32.2; freshman Devon England was 36th, 23:02.4 and freshman Danielle Grossman was 39th, 23:10.3, to finish the scoring for the Cowgirls. Junior Felicia McAfee was 44th, 23:31.3; sophomore Emily Swigart was 45th, 23:33.1; freshman Jessica Lemaster was 48th, 23:41.4; and senior McKynzie Maher was 50th, 23:47.7.

New Mexico won the women's team title with 30 points, Colorado State was second with 53 points and Boise State was third with 88 points. Air Force was fourth (122), Wyoming was fifth (133), TCU was sixth (149), UNLV was seventh (179) and San Diego State was eighth with 218 points.

As a team, the Cowboys had a disappointing day after coming into the event with hopes of a conference title. The Wyoming men were fifth out of six teams in the men's team standings with 85 points.

Senior Nick Ekel led the way for the Wyoming men, finishing seventh overall with a time of 25:27.9 in the 8-kilometer event. He earned First Team All-Conference for the first time in his career, after finishing with Second Team All-Conference honors last season.

Ekel was followed by senior Paul Burke, running in just his second event of the year. Burke was eighth overall with a time of 25:34.5 and earned Second Team All-Conference, his first career MW honor.

Senior Greg Miller finished 17th, crossing the line with a time of 25:51.9, and junior Mike Banks was 24th, 26:14.6. Senior Ryan Griesbach rounded out the scoring for the Pokes, finishing 29th with a time of 26:26.5. Sophomore Garrett Zans was 31st, 26:32.4; junior Tyler Gifford was 39th, 27:01.2; junior Ken Lane was 40th, 27:06; and junior Nik Deininger was 45th, 27:27.4.

"We had the opportunity going into the meet to place very well," Cole said. "We ended up having a disappointing fifth-place finish. It was a case of clicking and getting everyone healthy on the same day; that didn't happen.

"We had some guys that ran really smart and competed great. I was really proud of Nick Ekel, he competed very well, and Paul Burke had a tremendous race."

New Mexico won the men's team title with 51 points, followed by Air Force with 54points. Colorado State was third with 68 points and Boise State was fourth with 75 points. TCU was sixth with 190 points.

Wyoming will have a week off from competition and will focus on training for the NCAA Mountain Region Championships, which will be Nov. 12 in Provo, Utah.