Nov. 13, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -
The University of Wyoming men's cross country team wanted a chance to prove it belonged with some of region's top programs.
This weekend's event served as a proving ground and the 'Pokes took full advantage.
The Cowboys ran to a sixth-place finish in the team standings in the NCAA Mountain Region cross country championships on Saturday in Salt Lake City. The 'Pokes finished with 205 team points and were one of four Mountain West Conference teams to place in the top six. New Mexico won the men's race with 45 points.
"The guys ran really well. That's a credit to what they've done all year," Wyoming coach Randy Cole said. "It was a good team effort and we competed well. Last year we had a down year, but we bounced back this year. They ran really tough and it bodes well for our future."
Junior Greg Miller led the way for Wyoming, finishing 26th, just one spot out of contention for All-Mountain Region honors. Miller ran the 10K event in 30 minutes, 31.4 seconds. Junior Nick Ekel finished 28th with a time of 30:32.9.
The women's team managed to finish 16th with 358 points, but left Salt Lake City wondering what might have been.
"The women are disappointed in their overall performance," Cole said. "To get 16th ... We've got to get in the upper half of the region. We had hoped to place higher."
The New Mexico women won the event with 53 points.
There was a bright spot for the Wyoming women's team as freshman Christine Nelson capped off a stellar inaugural season, and took home All-Mountain Region honors for her 24th-place finish. She set a personal record in the 6K with her time of 21:18.7.
"That was a nice way to cap off her season," Cole said. "It's a pretty good honor."
Seniors Alysha Davis and Francis Gipson finished up their cross country career by finishing 51st and 71st, respectively. Cole said Davis had one of her best races of the season, finishing in 22:02.4, while Gipson crossed the finish line with a time of 22:23.4. Sophomore Brooke Hughes was 108th, 23:11.6; sophomore Maya Martinez was 109th, 23:13.7; and sophomore Felicia McAfee was 111th, finishing with a mark of 23:17.4.
The cross country season is over for the Cowboys and Cowgirls, but Cole's optimism for next season is evident.
"We made some really good group improvements on both sides," he said. "We're looking forward to the future of both teams."