Nov. 12, 2011
PROVO, Utah -
Two University of Wyoming cross country runners achieved NCAA All-Mountain Region status Saturday in Provo, Utah, at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships.
Senior Paul Burke and sophomore Garrett Zans finished 19th and 22nd, respectively, in the men's 10-kilometer race to attain All-Mountain Region honors, awarded to the top-25 finishers in each race. Zans and Burke each earned the distinction for the first time in their career. The Cowboys finished ninth out of 17 teams in the season-ending event.
Burke was the first Wyoming finisher, crossing the line with a time of 31 minutes, 7.9 seconds. Burke joined the team in the middle of the season, and was running in just his third race as a Cowboy. Wyoming coach Randy Cole said he believes Burke may have a chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA National Championships. The at-large bids are determined Sunday, when the national committee makes up the field for the championships.
Zans was next for the Cowboys, finishing with a time of 31:15.1, followed by senior Nick Ekel, who was 30th, 31:21.7. Senior Ryan Griesbach was 68th (32:37.3) and junior Michael Banks was 79th, 32:51.5, to round out the scoring for Wyoming. Junior Tyler Gifford was 93rd, 33:34.4.
"The guys did well," Cole said of his team's effort.
The women's team finished 12th out of 19 teams, paced by junior Brooke Hughes, who was 34th overall in the 6-kilometer event. She crossed the finish line with a time of 22:12.8. Hughes was the top finisher for the Cowgirls in every race this year.
Freshman Holly Page concluded a stellar rookie season, finishing 42nd with a mark of 22:26.5. Junior Abi Bever was 71st, 23:06.4; freshman Devon England was 84th, 23:25.1; and freshman Danielle Grossman was 86th with a time of 23:28.2.; Sophomore Emily Swigart was 89th, 23:33.6 and junior Felicia McAfee was 115th, 24:22.9.
"The women did a steady job," Cole said. "It was another case of our women (running) to give them more experience and training. They'll make big improvements from here."
Should Burke be chosen for the NCAA National Championships, he would run Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. Wyoming's last NCAA Championship qualifier was Mark Korir in 2008.