Cowboy and Cowgirl Harriers Ready for Test at National Meet

Sept. 24, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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After two weekends off, the University of Wyoming men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis. The Cowboys race an 8-kilometer course at 11:20 a.m. MT, while the Cowgirls run 6 kilometers at 12:20 p.m.

The Wyoming harriers face their first big challenge of the 2015 season at the Griak. The men’s field includes four teams ranked in the nation’s top 30, while the women’s field features five teams in the top 30 and two in the top six. The Cowboys and Cowgirls should be ready for the challenge after a solid opener at the Colorado State Invite on Sept. 4 and three weeks of training since.

“This is the first meet that we are really tapering our training for,” UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. “It is really going to let us know where we are at as a program right now. It’s the first real test of the year. The goal is to beat a ranked opponent. You go to these big invitationals to try and beat teams that are ranked and to try to earn some points for the national championships. Our team is in a position that if we go out there and execute the race properly, we have an opportunity to beat a ranked team or two.”

Last Time Out: Bowen and DeStefano Pace UW Harriers in Season Opener
Senior Audra DeStefano finished runner-up in the women’s race and fellow senior Amos Bowen was fourth on the men’s side to pace the University of Wyoming cross country teams at the Colorado State Invite on Sept. 4 at Hughes Stadium.

“I thought it was a solid start,” UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. “We’ve had two really hard weeks of training behind us. We wanted to get off to a good start and I felt like both teams had a solid effort today considering what we have been doing in training.”

DeStefano’s 17:37 placed her just five seconds behind the winner and was the fourth-fastest 5 kilometers by a Cowgirl since 1990. Junior Megan Brunette followed in 12th place in 18:04, while junior Ali Walker was 18th in 18:16. Sophomore Quinn DeStefano finished in 18:45 for 36th and freshman Regan VanDePol rounded out UW’s scorers in 18:51 for 39th.

Bowen ran 15:00 for the men’s 5 kilometers, while senior Aaron Derner was 10th in 15:06. Sophomore Jonah Henry placed 22nd in 15:23 to outpace senior Dylan Morin by one place and one second. Redshirt freshman Ricky Faure was 28th in 15:31 for the Cowboys’ top five.

Wyoming Men Individual Results
4. Amos Bowen -- 15:00
10. Aaron Derner -- 15:06
22. Jonah Henry -- 15:23
23. Dylan Morin -- 15:24
28. Ricky Faure -- 15:31
41. Alex Pawlak -- 15:49
42. Michael Downey -- 15:50
49. Mike Seas -- 15:53
81. Garrett Westlake -- 16:28
86. Jesse Gray -- 16:34
89. Michael Rotellini -- 16:36

Wyoming Women Individual Results
2. Audra DeStefano -- 17:37
12. Megan Brunette -- 18:04
18. Ali Walker -- 18:16
36. Quinn DeStefano -- 18:45
39. Regan VanDePol -- 18:51
40. Lauren Hamilton -- 18:56
42. Catherine Cloetta -- 18:59
47. Isabella Pape -- 19:04
53. Solana Quistorff -- 19:11
58. Cassidy Meade -- 19:21
59. Mary Kozlowski -- 19:21
76. Emily Person -- 20:00
90. Taylor Engbrocks -- 21:04

Wyoming in the USTFCCCA Regional Polls
The Cowgirls moved up to eighth in the latest USTFCCCA regional polls, while the Cowboys are No. 10. The Wyoming women finished last season fifth (second Mountain West team) in the Mountain Region, after climbing as high as fourth. The Cowboys were 10th (fifth MW team). Both teams started this season ranked 10th. The polls are on page three of the notes.

Cowgirls Third, Cowboys Fifth in Preseason Cross Country Poll
The University of Wyoming cross country programs were picked to finish in the top five of their respective fields in the Mountain West Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released Aug. 19 by the league office.

In a vote of the MW’s head coaches, the Cowgirls collected 79 points to tie for third with Colorado State in the 11-team field, while the Cowboys were slated fifth with 25 points among the eight men’s squads.

The Wyoming women will look to build on a third-place finish at last year’s conference meet, the best in program history, but without the services of graduated senior Holly Page. The Cowgirls return five of their top seven from last year, though, including eight letterwinners. Sophomore Kerry White looks to be the heir apparent to Page after she earned All-MW Second Team and All-Region accolades in her first season with the program. Senior Audra DeStefano, junior Megan Brunette and junior Ali Walker will combine with White to form a paltry top four for the UW women. All four have run all-time marks in Wyoming cross country history.

As for the Cowboys, fans will see many familiar faces this fall. All seven UW men that ran at last year’s conference and regional meets are back. Amos Bowen is likely to lead the Cowboys again after qualifying for the national meet last season as an individual, while Dylan Morin and Aaron Derner could form a potent top three for Wyoming. All three are seniors and all three have run top-15 times in Cowboy cross country history. Sophomore Jonah Henry looks to build on a solid freshman campaign that saw him run in UW’s top five, while Ricky Faure should round out the scorers. Faure redshirted last cross country season, but excelled during track last spring in his first year with the Pokes.

The New Mexico men’s and women’s teams were selected to win the 2015 MW titles, respectively. The Lobo women have won seven consecutive conference meets, while the Lobo men have won six straight. The 2015 Mountain West Championships will be hosted by Nevada at Montreux Golf Course in Reno, Nev., on Oct. 30.

Returning NCAA Qualifier
The Cowboys return all seven of their top runners from a season ago, but more importantly they welcome back someone with experience at the national meet. Senior Amos Bowen will look to qualify for the national meet for a second-straight season. He is the first Cowboy to return after competing at the NCAA Championships since Mark Korir went three-straight seasons from 2006-08. Bowen will also be looking to take down Korir’s school record in the 8,000 meters of 23:41. Bowen was two seconds shy at last season’s Washington Invite.

Local Flavor
Wyoming’s cross country squads have a distinct local feel this season. A total of 11 of the 20 Cowboys hail from the Equality State, including Jonah Henry of Laramie, while nine of the 22 Cowgirls are natives of the state.

Next Up
Wyoming faces another tough meet at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Shootout on Oct. 3 in Boulder, Colo.