LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After historic success last time out, the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams face another key meet in their hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Championships at this weekend's Indiana State Pre-National Invite. The Cowgirls will compete in the women's 6-kilometer race at 9 a.m. MT on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., while the Cowboys run the 8-kilometer race at 9:35 a.m.
In its last competition, Wyoming made waves with a strong run at the Washington Invite on Oct. 4 in Seattle. The UW women placed sixth in the field to defeat a ranked opponent for the first time since the current inception of the coaches poll began in 1995, as senior Holly Page ran the fastest 6 kilometers by a Cowgirl since 1990 to place fifth individually. Junior Amos Bowen was 13th in the men's race for Wyoming, as the Cowboys placed 10th as a team in a field that included nine ranked opponents. Saturday's competition in Indiana will be just as tough. The men's race features nine teams receiving votes in the most recent national poll, including the top two teams in the nation, while the women's race has nine ranked squads as well, including three of the top four teams in the poll.
"Our last meet helped us a lot, because there were just as many nationally ranked teams in that race," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "The confidence the teams gained from running against those teams is going to carry over to this meet. We have to do like we did before and go out there and race aggressively from the start. We want to beat a couple ranked teams and build our resume moving toward the conference meet."
Last Time Out: Page and Cowgirls Down Ranked Squads in Seattle
Senior Holly Page placed fifth individually to lead the University of Wyoming women's cross country team to a solid sixth-place finish at the Washington Invite on Oct. 4 at Jefferson Park Golf Course, while the Cowboys placed 10th in a field that included nine ranked foes. The Cowgirls were able to best No. 13 Villanova and Northern Arizona, who was receiving votes in the previous national poll.
"Beating a ranked team for the first time in a long time is a big step forward for the ladies," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Something we've talked about all year is being a top-30 team ourselves and we took another step toward that. This is the biggest race environment the women have been in and they were aggressive. It shows their confidence."
Page paced Wyoming through the 6-kilometer race in 20:31, as she ran the fastest time over that distance by a Cowgirl since 1990. Freshman Kerry White crossed the line in 20:59 and was followed by sophomore Ali Walker in 21:14. Junior Audra DeStefano was one second and one place behind Walker, while sophomore Megan Brunette was 64th at 21:36. Freshman Lauren Hamilton ran 22:02 for 88th and senior Devon England ran 22:12 for 93rd.
Junior Amos Bowen led the charge for the Cowboys at 13th in 23:43, the fastest 8 kilometers by a Cowboy since Mark Korir ran 23:41 in 2007. Bowen ran with a lead pack that featured several All-Americans the majority of the race before fading. Junior Dylan Morin placed 61st at 24:57, while junior Aaron Derner was one second and one place behind him. Freshman Jonah Henry ran 25:02 for 68th, while junior Mike Seas was 71st in 25:09. Sophomore Michael Kesy was 78th in 25:23 and redshirt sophomore Alex Pawlak was 83rd in 25:34.
"Amos went out there and ran for 7 kilometers with some of the best guys in the nation and a lot of All-Americans," Berryhill said. "That is only going to make him that much better moving forward because now he believes he belongs with that level of competitor."
2014 Washington Invite
Men's Team Results
1. No. 2 Northern Arizona - 62
2. No. 20 UCLA - 72
3. No. 6 Stanford - 92
4. No. 13 Virginia - 112
5. No. 26 Oklahoma - 129
10. Wyoming - 258
Women's Team Results
1. No. 3 Oregon - 48
2. No. 4 Stanford - 55
3. No. 15 Washington - 119
4. UCLA - 134
5. Portland - 144
6. Wyoming - 160
Wyoming Women Individual Results
5. Holly Page - 20:31
23. Kerry White - 20:59
38. Ali Walker - 21:14
39. Audra DeStefano - 21:15
64. Megan Brunette - 21:36
88. Lauren Hamilton - 22:02
93. Devon England - 22:12
108. Quinn DeStefano - 22:49
110. Cassidy Meade - 22:56
Success Under Berryhill
The Wyoming cross country teams continued to build on their success under head coach Bryan Berryhill in their last meet. At Oct. 4'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.
Holly Out Front
Senior Holly Page has picked up right where she left off last season. The senior placed fifth overall at the Washington Invite to finish as Wyoming's top runner for the 15th-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 eight 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 competes at the Mountain West Championships on Oct. 31 in Fresno, Calif.