LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams have come out of the chute strong and dominated their first two meets of the season, but the Cowboys and Cowgirls face some stiff competition at Friday's Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, Ind. The women's 5-kilometer race commences at 2:15 p.m. MT on Notre Dame Golf Course, while the men's 5-mile race starts at 3 p.m.
In its last meet, Wyoming won the women's and men's team titles at the Montana State Invite on Sept. 20, after accomplishing the same feat at the season-opening Aggie Invite on Aug. 30. Junior Amos Bowen won the men's race in Bozeman, while senior Holly Page was second overall. The duo was named Mountain West Cross Country Athletes of the Week for their efforts, as Wyoming swept the award for just the second time in program history. The Cowboys and Cowgirls now face a multitude of ranked teams at Notre Dame, including nine teams receiving votes in the women's national poll and nine teams in the men's top 25.
"As a program we are getting to a point where our student-athletes understand the importance of these next two meets in terms of qualifying for the NCAA Championships," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "We've talked all year about mentally preparing for this meet and making sure we can go into this environment with all these ranked teams and be successful. This meet is about taking advantage of an opportunity to beat nationally ranked teams. I think that would prove to our athletes that we are moving in the right direction and getting to a level that we compete on the national stage."
Last Time Out: Bowen and Page Help Wyoming Take Team Titles at MSU
Make that two for two. The University of Wyoming cross country teams swept both team titles at the Montana State Invite on Sept. 20, as UW accomplished the feat for the second-straight meet this season.
Senior Holly Page finished the women's 3-mile race in 17:08 to place second, as the Cowgirls won the team title with 31 points to best second-place Utah. The Utes entered the meet ranked third in the mountain region and 37th in the nation in the latest USTFCCCA polls. Junior Amos Bowen won the 5-mile men's race in 25:01 to pace the Cowboys to a team title at 32 points.
"For the women to go into a meet like this and mentally believe they can beat a team like Utah is a huge step forward," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "That is what it takes to get to the NCAA Championships and, whether they're there or not, we went out today and believed that. They really controlled the race from the beginning. On the men's side, we thought this was a meet we should win, but with that said, I liked the guys' effort. We have to get our split from first to fifth down, but nonetheless the men gave another great effort."
Page was quickly followed by three other Cowgirls. Freshman Kerry White had her best race in Brown and Gold to date, as she finished third in 17:19. Junior Audra DeStefano crossed the line four seconds after her in fourth and sophomore Ali Walker put four Wyoming women in the top 10 with a 10th-place finish in 17:36. Fellow sophomore Megan Brunette placed 13th at 17:40, while freshmen Lauren Hamilton and Quinn DeStefano rounded out UW's top seven in 17:49 and 18:12, respectively.
Bowen topped the 91-man field for his first collegiate victory in cross country by five seconds. Senior Aaron Derner followed him in sixth place at 25:13 and junior Dylan Morin was UW's third runner in the top 10 at ninth in 25:29. Freshman Jonah Henry continued to impress with a 12th-place showing at 25:50. Junior Mike Seas ran 26:08 for 16th, sophomore Michael Kesy was 20th at 26:24 and redshirt freshman Garrett Westlake rounded out UW's top seven in 24th at 26:39.
2014 Montana State Invite
Men's Team Results
1. Wyoming - 32
2. Montana State - 47
3. Utah State - 50
4. Montana - 99
Wyoming Men Individual Results
1. Amos Bowen - 25:01
6. Aaron Derner - 25:13
9. Dylan Morin - 25:29
12. Jonah Henry - 25:50
16. Mike Seas - 26:08
20. Michael Kesy - 26:24
24. Garrett Westlake - 26:39
30. Alex Pawlak - 26:56
44. Michael Rotellini - 27:32
Women's Team Results
1. Wyoming - 31
2. Utah - 33
3. Montana State - 87
4. Montana - 101
5. Utah State - 105
Wyoming Women Individual Results
2. Holly Page - 17:08
3. Kerry White - 17:19
4. Audra DeStefano - 17:23
10. Ali Walker - 17:36
13. Megan Brunette - 17:40
18. Lauren Hamilton - 17:49
28. Quinn DeStefano - 18:12
37. Devon England - 18:26
47. Cassidy Meade - 18:40
62. Ashley Sondag - 19:12
Page and Bowen Collect Mountain West Honors
For just the second time in program history, Wyoming swept the Mountain West Cross Country Athletes of the Week. Cowboy junior Amos Bowen and Cowgirl senior Holly Page were named male and female recipients of the award, announced by the conference on Sept. 23.
Page claimed the honor for the second time in her career with another solid performance in the Montana State Invite at Bozeman, Mont. She traversed the 3-mile course in 17:08 to place second individually and led the Cowgirls to their second-straight team title with 31 points. Page helped UW best second-place Utah by two points, after the Utes entered the meet ranked third in the mountain region and 37th in the nation in the USTFCCCA polls. The victory helped the Cowgirls move up three places to sixth in the USTFCCCA region rankings. Page has been UW's top finisher in 14-consecutive races, dating back to 2012.
Bowen was equally as impressive in the men's 5-mile race. He crossed the line in 25:01 to collect his first collegiate cross country victory by five seconds. His efforts helped the Cowboys win the team title with 32 points, their second straight as well. Bowen has been UW's top finisher twice in his career. Wyoming last swept the MW weekly cross country awards in 2013 when Page and Garrett Zans accomplished the feat on Sept. 17.
Success Under Berryhill
The Cowboys and Cowgirls took home both team titles at the Montana State Invite on Sept. 20, in what is becoming a trend. The two squads have combined for nine team titles in three seasons under head coach Bryan Berryhill and also earned four individual victories.
The Cowgirls returned six of their top seven runners from last season, but a youth movement may still be in store for this season. Five of UW's top seven runners at the MSU Invite were freshmen or sophomores, including freshman Kerry White as UW's second Cowgirl and sophomore Ali Walker as UW's fifth. Holly Page has been Wyoming's only senior in its top six.
Wyoming in the USTFCCCA Regional Polls
The Cowgirls continued to climb in the latest USTFCCCA regional polls. The Wyoming women are up to fifth (second Mountain West team) in the Mountain Region, after ranking sixth last week and ninth the week before. The Cowboys are eighth (fourth MW team) after starting the season ninth. Both polls are on page three of the notes.
Holly Out Front
Senior Holly Page has picked up right where she left off last season. The senior placed second overall at the MSU Invite to finish as Wyoming's top runner for the 14th-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 seven 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.
Wyoming races at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 18 in Terre Haute, Ind.