LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams will continue to race against some stiff competition this weekend, as the Cowboys and Cowgirls compete in the Rocky Mountain Shootout. Hosted by the University of Colorado, the women's 5.8-kilometer race commences at 9 a.m. MT at the Buffalo Ranch located on CU's South Campus, while the men run over 8 kilometers at 9:45 a.m.
Wyoming fared well in a loaded field at the prestigious Roy Griak Invite last weekend in Minnesota. The Cowgirls finished eighth out of 26 teams, while the Cowboys were 10th in the 23-team field. Both races included several teams ranked in the nation's top 30. It'll be more of the same on Saturday, as Wyoming faces the CU men who are ranked first in the nation and the CU women who are second. Several of UW's top runners will be held out for training purposes.
"The goal for this weekend is to get some of our younger athletes a chance to step up and get a little more experience," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Hopefully that will help them when we go to pre-nationals in Louisville. This has historically been a very challenging meet in terms of field and course. A couple of tough hills on the course, but it isn't anything we aren't used to running around Happy Jack."
Last Time Out: DeStefano and Derner Lead Cross Country at Griak
Running against several ranked programs, the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams claimed 10th and eighth, respectively, at the prestigious Roy Griak Invite last Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course. No. 25 Michigan State won the 23-team men's field, while No. 20 Boise State finished ahead of three other ranked teams in the women's field of 26.
"I learned a lot about what both teams need to work on before we race at pre-nationals in three weeks," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Audra [DeStefano] had a great race finishing in the top 20. The women's team had a good day, especially our first-through-fourth runners. Aaron [Derner] ran well for the men's team, which had a solid effort overall."
Senior Audra DeStefano paced the Cowgirls for a second-straight race by placing 17th overall in 22:00 over the 6-kilometer course. Sophomore Kerry White has been slowed by a foot injury, but clocked 22:26 last Saturday for 28th. Junior Ali Walker finished 44th in 22:40, while fellow junior Megan Brunette was six seconds behind her in 50th place. Junior Catherine Cloetta ran 23:53 for 115th, freshman Kiah Leonard was 117th in 23:54 and junior Cassidy Meade was 124th in 24:01.
Senior Aaron Derner was the first Cowboy across the line in the men's 8-kilometer race. He placed 23rd at 25:34, while fellow senior Amos Bowen was 52nd in 26:06. Junior Alex Pawlak was 63rd in 26:17, while senior Dylan Morin was 78th in 26:34. Redshirt freshman Ricky Faure rounded out UW's scorers at 26:37 for 84th. Senior Mike Seas ran 26:50 for 96th and sophomore Jonah Henry was 126th in 27:22.
2015 Roy Griak Invite
Men's Team Results
1. No. 25 Michigan State -- 74
2. RV Southern Utah -- 88
3. No. 29 California -- 94
4. No. 22 Colorado State -- 96
5. RV Minnesota - 107
10. Wyoming - 300
Women's Team Results
1. No. 20 Boise State - 37
2. No. 6 Michigan State - 116
3. No. 26 Minnesota - 141
4. Weber State - 147
5. No. 30 California - 169
8. Wyoming -- 254
Wyoming Women Individual Results
17. Audra DeStefano -- 22:00
28. Kerry White -- 22:26
44. Ali Walker -- 22:40
50. Megan Brunette -- 22:46
115. Catherine Cloetta -- 23:53
117. Kiah Leonard -- 23:54
124. Cassidy Meade -- 24:01
Wyoming in the USTFCCCA Regional Polls
The Cowgirls stayed eighth in the latest USTFCCCA regional polls, while the Cowboys moved up to ninth. Both teams started this season ranked 10th. 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). The polls are on page three of the notes.
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.
Success Under Berryhill
The Wyoming cross country teams have continued to build on their success under head coach Bryan Berryhill this season. At last season's Washington Invite, the Cowgirls beat a ranked opponent for the first time since the current version of the coaches poll began in 1995, as UW took down No. 13 Villanova. Individually, Holly Page ran the fastest 6 kilometers by a Cowgirl since 1990, while Amos Bowen ran the fastest 8 kilometers by a Cowboy since 2007.
Previously, 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 Berryhill and also earned four individual victories.
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 21 Cowgirls are natives of the state.
Wyoming races at Louisville's Pre-Nationals on Oct. 17 in Louisville, Ken.