LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After nearly a month since their season-opening meet, the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams return to action this weekend at the Montana State Invite on Saturday in Bozeman, Mont. The men's 5-mile race starts at 9 a.m. MT, followed by the women's 3-mile race at 9:45 a.m.
The Cowboys and Cowgirls have been training since opening their 2014 season at the Aggie Invite on Aug. 30. Both squads had promising showings at the meet and have been building from there. Senior Holly Page won the women's race to pace UW to the team title with a near-perfect 16 points, as she paced the Cowgirls for the 13th-consecutive meet. Page also won the individual title at the MSU Invite two seasons ago as a sophomore. Junior Aaron Derner placed second on the men's side to help UW win the men's team title as well. He earned Mountain West Athlete of the Week for his efforts.
"When we diagrammed out this year's training plan, this is the only time of the season that we get three weeks of uninterrupted training, so without a doubt this has been the hardest three weeks of our season in terms of training," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Even though we ran very well at the Aggie Invite and we've been training hard, we still expect to go into this meet and be a better team than we were three weeks ago. This meet should provide a good test for us with a solid field, including a Utah women's team receiving votes in the national poll."
Last Time Out: Page and Derner Help Wyoming Harriers Dominate Aggie Invite
Strong performances from senior Holly Page and junior Aaron Derner guided the University of Wyoming cross country teams to a dominant showing on Aug. 30 at the Aggie Invite. Page won the 5-kilometer race in 19:10 to help the Cowgirls take the team title with a nearly perfect 16 points, while Derner placed second over 4 miles as the Cowboys won with 23 points.
"I thought both of our teams had a lot of focus and performed well," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "We said that this was a meet we should win, but both teams went out and dominated. That was exciting to see."
Page captured the third individual title of her career to pace Wyoming to its third team crown in the last two seasons. She was followed by a strong group of Cowgirls in second through sixth. Sophomore Ali Walker placed second in 19:29, while junior Audra DeStefano was two seconds back in third and freshman Kerry White took fourth, one second behind DeStefano. Sophomore Megan Brunette rounded out UW's scorers in sixth at 19:35. Freshman Lauren Hamilton had a solid performance in her first collegiate race to place 13th in 20:09 and senior Devon England was 21st in 20:31.
"This was one of the best efforts I've seen out of the girls in the three years I've been here," Berryhill said. "We ran pretty controlled the first 2 miles and then got after the last mile. The girls ran with a lot of confidence and that will go a long ways when we get into the championship portion of our season."
Derner paced the Cowboys, followed by junior Amos Bowen in fourth at 21:09, while fellow junior Dylan Morin was sixth in 21:15. Junior Mike Seas was one place behind him at 21:16 and freshman Jonah Henry was ninth in 21:26. Sophomore Michael Rotellini placed 19th in 22:18 and redshirt sophomore Alex Pawlak rounded out UW's top seven in 22:22 for 20th.
"Kind of like on the women's side, the men's overall team effort was phenomenal," Berryhill said. "Our 4-5 runners competed well and we know that will be a difference for us this year. Mike Seas and Jonah Henry really stepped up well."
2014 Aggie Invite
Men's Team Results
1. Wyoming - 23
2. Utah State - 44
3. Utah Valley - 53
4. Utah State (Unattached) - 119
5. Westminster College - 141
Wyoming Men Individual Results
2. Aaron Derner - 20:45
4. Amos Bowen - 21:09
6. Dylan Morin - 21:15
7. Mike Seas - 21:16
9. Jonah Henry - 21:26
19. Michael Rotellini - 22:18
20. Alex Pawlak - 22:22
26. Michael Kesy - 22:55
30. Garrett Westlake - 23:22
Women's Team Results
1. Wyoming - 16
2. Utah Valley - 45
3. Utah State - 64
4. Westminster College - 120
Wyoming Women Individual Results
1. Holly Page - 19:10
2. Ali Walker - 19:29
3. Audra DeStefano - 19:31
4. Kerry White - 19:32
6. Megan Brunette - 19:35
13. Lauren Hamilton - 20:09
21. Devon England - 20:31
24. Quinn DeStefano - 20:44
28. Cassidy Meade - 21:06
34. Catherine Cloetta - 21:31
37. Ashley Sondag - 21:45
41. Jessica Lemaster - 22:15
42. Mary Kozlowski - 22:19
Derner Collects Mountain West Weekly Honor
The University of Wyoming's Aaron Derner was named the Mountain West Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week, the conference office announced Sept. 2. The weekly accolade was the first of Derner's career.
A native of Waterford, Wis., Derner had a strong start to the 2014 season at the Aggie Invite in Logan, Utah, on Aug. 30. The junior traversed the 4-mile course in 20:45 to place second overall in the 46-man field and cross the line as the first Cowboy. It was the first time since 2012 he had paced the Pokes and fourth overall. Derner also helped Wyoming win the team title at the event with 23 points, its third team victory over the past two seasons.
Success Under Berryhill
The Cowboys and Cowgirls took home both team titles at the Aggie Invite on Aug. 30, in what is becoming a trend. The two squads have combined for seven team titles in three seasons under head coach Bryan Berryhill and also earned three individual victories.
A perfect team score in a cross country meet is 15 points. How close were the Cowgirls to perfection at the Aggie Invite? Just two-tenths of a second. Sophomore Megan Brunette was Wyoming's fifth runner and was edged for sixth place in the race by just two-tenths of a second to put the Cowgirls at 16 team points.
The Cowgirls returned six of their top seven runners from last season, but a youth movement may still be in store for this season. Four of UW's top seven runners at the Aggie Invite were freshmen or sophomores, including sophomore Ali Walker as UW's second Cowgirl and freshman Kerry White as UW's fifth. Holly Page was Wyoming's only senior in its top six.
Head coach Bryan Berryhill has said several times that Wyoming's success this season on both sides will depend on the fourth and fifth runners and how close they can finish to UW's top runner. Both the Cowgirls and Cowboys did a good job running in a pack in UW's first meet of the season on Aug. 30. At the Aggie Invite, the Cowgirls had a six-second split from their second to fifth runner, while the Cowboys had a 17-second split from second to fifth.
Holly Out Front
Senior Holly Page picked up right where she left off on Aug. 30. The senior won the Aggie Invite to finish as Wyoming's to runner for the 13th-consecutive race. She has paced the Cowgirls all of the 2012 and 2013 seasons and has won three meets along the way. UW's second finisher has come within 30 seconds of Page just six times, including the closest of 10 seconds by Megan Brunette at the Roy Griak Invite on Sept. 28. Page finished as UW's second runner in her first three career races as a freshman in 2011.
The DeStefano Duo
The 2014 Cowgirl roster features the DeStefano sisters, junior Audra and freshman Quinn. If Quinn develops into the runner Audra has become, the two may be quite a formidable duo. Audra finished in UW's top four in all six meets last season and was the third Cowgirl in the first meet this season. Quinn crossed the line as UW's eighth runner in her first career race. Audra was 1:15 ahead of her younger sister.
Wyoming continues its season at the Notre Dame Invite on Oct. 3 in South Bend, Ind.